Don't follow the crowd—lead it.
In a comprehensive Brand Love study surveying 150,000 people around the world, Oath discovered consumers are passionate about brands that set trends, constantly innovate and always keep the customer experience top-of-mind. It's not enough to make a great product—your competitors can easily copy the formula. If you want people to love your brand, you need to create what's next. Again and again.
This is especially true in our mobile era, when people crave innovation that lands in the palms of their hands.
Setting trends—which makes up 18% of the equation adding up to brand love globally by Oath's calculations—is essential for brands that want to stay relevant. Humans are easily swayed, so the more you can show your brand is constantly creating what's next and has your customers' needs in mind, the better positioned you'll be to win brand love.
Elevating experiences—which makes up 9% of the global brand love equation—is a simple concept, but can be challenging to execute. It's all about being thoughtful in every interaction with a customer. Every touch point should bring delight.
Consider Starbucks. Sure, they sell a good cup of joe, but so do a lot of other coffee shops. What makes Starbucks different? Its dedication to raising the bar for its customers. The company's renowned loyalty program contributes to mobile sales, which made up 30% of transactions in the U.S. in Q2 2017. The program creates a sense of membership (a topic we covered in our last post), while also delivering the unexpected—providing an easy way to order a cappuccino and reap rewards at the same time.
Taking it a step further, Starbucks identified a pain point—long lines—and innovated around it. Recognizing how frustrating waiting can be, the company introduced mobile ordering, allowing people to order in advance and skip the line when coming in to pick up their coffee. Now, that's an elevated experience.
Another brand that innovates for its customers? Pottery Barn. Traditionally considered a brick and mortar store, Pottery Barn is going virtual, using augmented reality to change the way people shop. Rather than walk into a store, pick up an item, and do your best to visualize how it will look at home, Pottery Barn is now using advanced technology to make that vision a little more real. The brand created an app called "Pottery Barn 3D Room View" that uses AR to let customers virtually transport products to their homes, essentially letting them try before they buy, all from their mobile device (Sidebar: Pottery Barn is partnering with Oath on its latest AR ad experience).
Focusing on mobile is something we cannot stress enough—it should be considered an essential part of your brand strategy. Oath's Brand Love study demonstrated that people who have three or more mobile interactions with a brand are almost twice as likely to feel like they have a personal relationship with that brand. And considering people spend 84% of their time on mobile in-app, according to eMarketer, having a breakthrough brand app experience really isn't a nice-to-have, it's a must-have.
Other items to keep in mind when building brand love:
1) Surprise is now an expectation, so level up on everything from your product to posts to emails. Do it in a way your customers haven't seen or heard of before—every time.
2) Tell the story of your impressive product upgrade by creating content or experiential marketing that's just as wow.
3) Ditch the 300x50 boxes. Use tech—AR, VR, 360 and live video—to bring your latest awesomeness to life.