Brands and holding companies alike are looking closely at the growth in newer tech-driven areas such as ecommerce and experiences. However, it all comes down to the best companies who put consumers and data at the heart of their strategy, according to Jeremy King, chief executive and founder of consumer growth platform, Attest.
Following their partnership with The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries, The Drum spoke to King on brand growth, the future of data-driven e-commerce, improving the e-commerce experience and brand integrity.
What is a brand growth strategy?
Put simply, a brand growth strategy is a set of decisions a company uses to grow market share, and grow its market, by actively evolving how the company and its products are perceived. This might be grounded in marketing, development of new products or services, or expanding into new territories. Brand growth activities continue to evolve and diversify, with brands launching live events, channels, apps, subscription services, and partnerships that complement their existing offering while adding new awareness and revenue.
Transferwise’s brand growth started as a series of very public anti-bank publicity stunts… now it’s grounded in pursuit of their mission: money without borders. As Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”... it’s also the manifestation of the commitments a company makes to customers, team members, company values and competitors. Brand growth is growing each and any of those assets - ultimately, it’s the sum of the decisions you make to support that.
What are the top brand growth strategies that we should be looking at?
At Attest, we believe that every great strategy starts with unique and proprietary information, and that the best companies put consumers and data at the heart of every decision. Brand growth strategies are a perfect application; everything from where to look and what to try, to how to allocate resources and measure what’s working.
We now have so much data at our fingertips and it’s where the answers to brand growth can be found - if only we take the time to look. A good example is Deliveroo (in the early days).
Deliveroo wanted to expand its offering by signing new restaurant partners to the platform, but it needed to find out which partners had the most potential for driving revenue growth. Deliveroo worked with Attest to survey consumers across the UK, testing demand for selected restaurant brands and exploring the value and motivations behind each restaurant brand’s appeal. As a result, Deliveroo was able to expand its offering with the confidence that the demand was there, minimising risk and ensuring that all the decisions fit together (and fit with their own brand). So simple, yet we believe the best growth strategies are grounded in facts.
Omnichannel is the new normal. So what is the future of data-driven e-commerce?
Understanding who your customers are, the omnichannel journeys they choose, and how to reach them is more important now than ever. We conducted research that shows only 24.5% of shoppers head directly to a brand website when they start their shopping journey, so you can no longer rely on people to come to you, or for you to necessarily own how your brand is portrayed to every prospect. More than a third of consumers (34%) start on a search engine, while 37% go directly to a marketplace like Amazon.
In an omnichannel world, your brand needs to fit into each of these unique journeys, and also maintain a consistent perception throughout. It’s a near-impossible task, with so many channels, trends and styles evolving ever-faster, and the range of devices and influences ever-expanding. The future of data-driven e-commerce is defined by those that can both (a.) gain unique visibility and information on how each brand interacts with each customer journey, and (b.) act upon insights with new products, campaigns, brands, missions better and/or faster than anyone else.
The is the omnipotent omnichannel! There are clear leaders today - Amazon, Google, Shopify, Alibaba, Rakuten, Jingdong - but vast opportunities remain to make omnichannel capabilities open to more brands, redefine who can and should use data at each stage of omnichannel journeys, and create more value for consumers through data-driven approaches (not just for ecommerce shareholders).
What are your top tips about improving the e-commerce experience in 2020 and beyond?
Our research shows that lack of trust around the security of retail sites is the number one concern that UK consumers have about shopping online. Consumers know what they’re looking for, and each have unique ideas about what good vs. suspicious looks like. You need to know what the boundaries are, and how to win the confidence of each segment, journey and consumer.
Retailers must work especially hard to instil confidence when asking shoppers to hand over payment details. After this, the two things that will best improve the e-commerce experience, according to UK consumers, is free and fast delivery. We also discovered that long or expensive delivery is the top reason people abandon their carts. Expectations are getting higher; 22% of shoppers now expect to receive their goods in just two days, and the perceived penalties for failure to deliver in-line with expectations is that a brand can be cast aside for a lifetime… even though the security or delivery failure may be nothing to do with the brand itself, it’s about the overall experience.
The product brand is ultimately responsible for that experience or very clearly delegating it to another entity (e.g. a delivery company, a payment gateway).
Also, let’s not forget about ‘brand integrity’ in this consumer-driven era. How do you boost it in this age of data and tech? Brand integrity is about staying true to your core values and maintaining a consistent brand message at every touchpoint. The bigger your brand gets, the harder this becomes. But tracking brand health metrics - across channels and designed around many different preferences and needs - is a great way to keep tabs on your reputation.
Tommee Tippee uses Attest to run regular brand tracking across nine global markets. This allows them to analyse brand health centrally, to ensure their messaging is resonating in every market and there’s every opportunity to close gaps and explore new ideas where required. The beauty of brand tracking is you can see the impact of marketing efforts, but you also get a heads up if something is going wrong. You can fix the problem before extensive damage is done.
Brand integrity, in the simplest form, is about standing for something and making that consistently evident across every segment and every journey. Integrity is something you have to demonstrate, and in this age of data and tech, you have to demonstrate integrity in more ways and more channels than ever before. Personalisation, faster-moving trends and greater risk-taking by competitors is making this more complex every day. The winners are those that can tell the same simple, integral brand message in thousands of different venues, with equal consistency. It seems a near-impossible task, but with the right data and insight, it doesn’t have to be so difficult.
Attest were a part of The DADI Awards 2019. Register here for more information.