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Understanding the power of behavioural insights to drive brand relevance

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Smart brands understand that getting into a price war with their competitors is not really going to make them differentiate or stand out.

They also know that understanding the emotional relevance of their services and products to customers results in the highest levels of engagement and relevance.

What research from Harvard demonstrated in 2019 was that 90% of consumers decisions regarding brands is made non-consciously – that is, they are not really sure how they made them. How can a brand make itself relevant if it hasn't first revealed what these hidden influencing factors might be? If they don’t try, then surely all their work is based on assumption?

So, the next frontier for brands to understand is what are the hidden emotional needs of their target customers and how can they reveal and understand the non-conscious drivers that impact purchase decision, loyalty and churn. Investing in such will enable brands to enhance their relevance, their value and their engagement potential with an audience.

If you want to predict where your future lies you have to understand your relevancy in that future state.

By its own definition relevancy relates to the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate to something or someone. It relies on understanding your position. It requires listening, empathy and a large dose of humbleness. Arrogance, assumption and brand ego will be the death of your relevancy.

To feel connected to something largely relies on emotional experience – we engage with things that make us feel satisfied, pleased, intelligent, useful, smug, related etc –just as we disengage with things that irritate us, make us suspicious, sad, anxious, shallow and uncomfortable.

Psychology and connection

Psychologically speaking to be appropriate to someone you need to meet their underlying needs in terms of control, security, social inclusion, opportunity etc. If I have a high need for control then a bank brand that says it will be smart with my money, suddenly becomes irrelevant to me. As I do not want them to take the credit for my smart financing – I simply want them to help support me looking and feeling smart. If you cannot position your brand, products or services against human needs then you will become irrelevant.

If you do not understand how to connect with your audience beyond price points, sales and offers then you will become irrelevant. The fact is that the part of the brain that engages with numbers, facts etc is approximately 5 times smaller than the part of the brain that is engaged and convinced by emotional experience – how I feel.

If you do not show your target audience that you are actually interested in them, that you want to ask them what they need and that you want to listen to them – you will become irrelevant.

Imagine going on a first date. You have been anticipating it all week. When you do finally turn up at the restaurant you find your date talking about how great they are, how important they are, what great attributes they have. I for one wouldn’t be that interested in a second date. Though this is exactly what brands are guilty of – an assumed speech about how great they are, how important they are, how different they are – without really having done any homework about what it is ‘their date’ is actually interested in!

So we have been helping brands all over the globe, in retail, travel, technology, health, finance – to understand what are the hidden psychological needs of their audience and how to frame these in terms of having relevant marketing, sales and digital conversations with them. Knowing these non-conscious drivers of consumer choice and behaviour have helped us increase the online sales of a global fashion brand by 50%, increase the repeat purchase of a well-known travel brand by 18% and the cross sales of an international insurance company by 23%.

Behavioural insights can reveal the hidden psychology of your audiences. Add this into your existing data knowledge and you will have more relevance, engagement and more impactful marketing, sales and digital offerings.

Dr Simon Moore, chartered psychologist and chief executive officer of Innovationbubble, part of Mission Group

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