How about simply focusing on what consumers want?
In this guest post, Peter Mountford argues that brands should think more about what is really going on for consumers
Who here is hoping their favourite brand of toilet paper is going to be organizing a flash mob on their way home from work today?
The othernight I was watching an episode of the UK version of Undercover Boss with my wife. The episode followed Nikki King, the Managing Director of Isuzu trucks UK as she spent time working ‘undercover’ in various parts of her business.
The most interesting part of the show occurred when Ms King realised that one of the employees from their emergency service team was not handing over an apology letter she had written to truck drivers after their trucks had been fixed. The gist of the apology letter was that Isuzu was sorry for any inconvenience caused by their breakdown.
Now, I am not a truck driver but I can imagine the last thing on earth I would be interested in while I am broken down in the middle of a four lane motorway is getting a pre-printed letter from a woman I have never met. I would like to think that the bloke from Isuzu service would instead be concentrating on getting me going again as soon as possible.
For me this was a good example of how easy it is to overlook what consumers actually want and instead come to the conclusion that giving them another form of communication is the answer. The Qantas Twitter debacle is a great example of this. Consumers were in no way interested in engaging in a conversation with Qantas about their business class experience instead they just wanted them to get their bloody planes in the air and flying again.
Surely as marketers our focus should be engaging our customers when they are researching, purchasing and using our products or services before we look at engaging them with social media stunts.
Worse than this is when brands spend too much time telling us what they stand for and very little time actually demonstrating it. For some reason I don’t believe ANZ when they tell me they ‘live in my world’. Not only because they made $5.36 billion last year (I made slightly less) but mainly because they don’t demonstrate it. Right on the heels of this campaign ANZ were the first bank to start announcing their own interest rate verdict separate of the RBA.
Don’t get me wrong – I agree that announcing their own rates is probably more relevant for them these days than following the RBA’s official rate but the problem is as consumers it is hard to feel too sorry for the banks when they tell us how much margin pressure they are under only to roll out another record profit.
All of this is obvious but the question is what do we do about it?
I think to be truly seen as partners with our clients we need to discuss all areas of their brand with them. This may mean some challenging discussions but it should lead to what I believe are truly integrated campaigns. Not just integrated in the types of media chosen to convey a message but integrated into our clients business and way they operate.
On this front I like Dominos commitment to improving the quality of ingredients used in their pizzas. The great thing about this campaign is not necessarily the execution but the fact they are actually following through on their promise and are making changes to their pizzas. To me this is a true integrated campaign that shows that they are listening to their customers.
- Peter Mountford is client services director at em communications and fuse digital