Wunderman unveils the concept of 'Wantedness' at CES

"Wantedness" research study is unveiled by Wunderman at CES

It’s not the definition you’ll find in the dictionary, but Wunderman has developed a new meaning for the term “Wantedness” to show that brands truly do care about their customers.

A new study is being released today at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that shows that brands must prove that they will commit to earning their customers’ business. The study, commissioned by global digital agency Wunderman, in partnership with Penn Schoen Berland, surveyed 2,000 people ages 18-65 in the US and UK and the findings were consistent across all ages, regions and genders, finding that 79% of consumers surveyed said that brands must actively demonstrate “they understand and care about me” before they consider purchasing. To succeed in this environment, brands must adopt a new approach to consumer engagement, identified in the research as “Wantedness.”

The agency defines Wantedness as “the degree to which a brand proves their commitment to earning a customer’s business across every touch point and throughout the entire path to purchase.” Wunderman said that traditionally, marketers have primarily focused on developing consumer loyalty to their brands, but the data shows that brands now need to demonstrate their commitment to serving the consumer and exceeding their expectations every day. It’s something they explain in a short video on an exclusive “Wantedness” website.

While you might think that this is just another bit of marketing jargon to gummy up your day, those who commissioned the study would disagree.

“To start, ‘Wantedness’ summarizes modern marketing in one word and tells all brands what people want from them,” said Jamie Gutfreund, global chief markerting officer Wunderman. “People were really clear when we were in the field with the study: they have access to the best of everything via their phones and when you have that much choice you expect more from everyone. It’s human nature fueled by digital access, and nobody gets excited about average. To succeed as marketers, we have to unlearn how we have traditionally approached planning and targeting in order to focus on real people, who they are and how they live. We have to make them feel desired and special.”

The research also identified that the competitive landscape has changed, with 87% of US consumers now evaluating brands against leading companies like Amazon, Uber and Netflix, which have effectively set new standards of excellence that extend beyond traditional product categories.

“With expectations at an all-time high, brands are required to operate in consumer culture and not just within their own category,” said Gutfreund. “It used to be that brands had the luxury of customers conforming to their business models, which worked for many years. But the tables have turned. Today, consumers expect businesses to adapt to their needs and our findings are consistent across all generations, geographies and genders.”

Rather than being just another fluff term, Wunderman implied that Wantedness is something brands need to pay attention to, especially since, according to the research, brands today must do more than just provide a good quality product or service. 88% of American respondents said that brands must “push boundaries” in order to be considered. To garner customer loyalty, brands have to rethink how they see the customer and how customers are responding to their brands.

“For the past year, when working with clients and consumers, we kept hearing the same question: what does loyalty mean today? Our data told us that it’s not about wringing loyalty from consumers through promises or promotions. As marketers, we need to commit to being in service to consumers with everything we do – every day and at every point in the relationship. It’s very encouraging for brands as it shows that consumers want connections with brands that understand them and can deliver what they need versus tuning them out, as many have suggested. Wantedness requires brands to change how they build marketing plans such that they prove their loyalty to their consumer. We’ve moved on from building loyal consumers and into serving loyal brands,” added Gutfreund.

The concept of Wantedness therefore requires a data-driven approach to understanding what consumers expect in order to drive engagement and sales.

“Our data told us conclusively that people expect more. We believe that we need to start redefining our value proposition as agencies and start organizing around people, in context to their needs and how they live their lives,” said Seth Solomons, chief executive, North America at Wunderman. “Marketers need to make all interactions friction free and easy for their customers to buy products and services. We need to think it through from the consumer’s perspective not from the POV of a channel or brand or agency. Advocacy becomes real as consumers more aggressively recommend brands that ‘understand’ them. So success, in our view, is when we see brands truly adapting to consumer needs versus forcing them to work around the brand’s business models.”

Solomons went on to say that agencies and brands need to make orientation changes, from seeking loyal customers to behaving as loyal brands.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • 90% of American consumers believe mobile empowers them to make better purchase decisions
  • 89% of American consumers say that they are loyal to brands that share their values
  • 74% of consumers in the US say that brands can set a new standard by how they serve customers (in other words they don’t have to just offer a new product)
  • 88% of US consumers want to engage with brands that are setting new standards

If the concept of “Wantedness” catches on, this buzzword may transform into a turning point.

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