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Three Emerging Aspects From the Brand Relevance Index 2018

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Think about the brands that make a difference in your everyday life. The ones that make your life easier, better. Offering you exactly what you need, at the exact moment that you need it.

These brands have the power to influence your decisions, inspiring you day by day. These are the companies that Prophet calls “relentlessly relevant”.

In this article we give an overview about U.S. market, with the purpose to find some relevant aspects that can help marketers understand what people value the most. This perspective gives brands a different approach in order to unlock growth.

THE BRAND RELEVANCE INDEX

The Brand Relevance Index was launched four years ago and is performed country by country, with the aim to distinguish the differences that exist within people and markets from various part of the world.  

The crucial point of this ranking is that it is made by surveying more than 40.000 people to list hundreds of brands on many aspects and attributes. According to Scott Davis, “customers are the real only experts” and the choice to start from their perspective to investigate the brand relevance is determinant.

The BRI is based on 4 principles:

  • The inclination to think, make investments and create with a customer-oriented vision;

  • The capacity to meet customers needs, offering products where and when they require them;

  • The ability to provide emotional experiences and ideas that inspire customers day by day;

  • The inclination to continuously reinventing themselves, finding new and creative ways to anticipate unexpressed needs and desires.

The results are mostly congruent to the expectations: tech giants are still dominating the top of the list and, besides few big movers and some surprising entrances, the most famous brands are meeting the expectations.

While a third of the top 21 brands is owned by three companies - Google, Disney, and Sony - none of them stands in the top 5. Instead, Apple is still the most relevant brand, for the fourth year in a row, while KitchenAid and Nike moved into the top 10, replacing Disney and Pixar.

Prophet presents four key findings, common to all top brands: all the companies on the top of the list are constantly reinventing themselves, in order to build a specific, strong community around them. Furthermore, they still are focused on customers and their needs and desires, while trying to inspire them and chasing a higher purpose.

GIANTS AND NEWCOMERS

Tech giants are on the top of the list: 8 of the top 10 are inherently digital and experiential, most born in the last 20 years. How can traditional, brick and mortar companies keep up with the wave of newcomers?

Looking at KitchenAid, a company started in 1919 that has just moved into the top ten, it shows the way to winning customers’ mind and heart: reinventing and renewing is the key to stick out of the ordinary and to emerge from the obsolescence.

Top brands have the commitment to stand ahead customers’ needs and to surprise them, continually reshaping experiences and expectations, in order to offer ever-greater involvement. It’s not just a prerogative of the newcomers.

Older brands, such as Dyson, Chevrolet or Ford, have recently broken into the top 50, confirming that there still is a room for historical brands, if they can keep the pace, transforming themselves while remaining true to their roots and consistent with the brand heritage.

Furthermore, the youngest customer base has a preference for these companies too. While these customers have always been known for being social media obsessed, this stereotype is no longer true - it has never been, probably. In fact, besides all the posting, tweeting and snapping, social media brands aren’t the most relevant to their lives.

On the top of their list there is Netflix, confirmed as the best entertaining media. Due to its ability to offer suggestions tailored to individual preferences, and to increase the content base with new, peculiar projects, it keeps reaching the highest “make me happy” score. Definitely one of the best recently born brands. 

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

It’s evident that among millennials, all the social media platforms are losing ground; especially Facebook, the biggest mover of the year (-102 positions). However, this drop is seen in every age and gender demographic as well, confirming that this decline is not ascribed to the youngest base.

The decreased usage of Facebook is imputable to the lack of trust and interest. The “fake news” attribution, and the numerous big data breaches have brought down the brand reputation, making people doubt about its value.

Partly, this drop may represent a natural shifting to other parts of the social ecosystem, as people are always looking for the best place to express themselves. Instagram is still running the photo-framed social interactions, WhatsApp is the most used messaging system, and YouTube is the natural place for video sharing.

Nevertheless, all these social media platforms don’t seem to be considered as “relevant” to people: no one of them is ranking on the top 50, except for Pinterest.

INSPIRATIONAL BRANDS

Among social media, only Pinterest is winning customers attention, ranking third in the overall list, and first among “makes me feel inspired”.

Delivering great experiences and promoting relevant ideas, is one of the most important aspects of relevance, that results in the opportunity for brands to create a deeper connection with their customers. People want brands to express a unique model of thought, that is consistent with the brand image, and which customers can relate to or get inspiration from.

Likewise, Android is perceived as “The People’s Platform”, making its openness and ease to use a major of the brand characteristics. Its usage is worldwide - actually 86% of mobile devices - and people have the perception that it is accessible and futuristic, and gives them the power to contribute to its development.

Both these aspects - letting people get inspiration from each other and from the brand, along with showing a purpose to chase - result in the opportunity to build a strong community that shares a common view and meets common values.

The few takeaways presented in this article are just a small part of the relevant aspects that can be observed looking at the report by Prophet. The starting point to study the relationship between brands and customers, that it is the most important element when shaping brand personality in order to become relevant, meaningful and essential to customers’ lives.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Download our brand new report, Digital Innovation in Retail & Fashion, and discover why you must know and understand your customers before even thinking about selling, and how you can use personalization to deliver relevant experiences that drive loyalty and increase value.

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Topics: Social Networking digital transformation Digital Customer Experience

The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2019

 

Gartner has just released its insight for the ten key trends you can’t afford to ignore in the next year. These Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology trends are expected to impact and transform industries through 2023.
The core concepts presented are all about shift and change and disruption, as technology is becoming an inextricable part of our world.

Three themes dominated the speech:

  • Intelligence. Increasingly the engine that drives future capabilities. An intelligence-ai driven future;
  • second is digital, in an increasingly blended fashion;
  • then mesh, as the importance of ecosystems.

In 2019 we will look at these three things coming together in an increasingly integrated fashion.

1: Autonomous things
Whether it’s cars, robots or agriculture, autonomous things use AI to perform tasks traditionally done by humans. By 2021 10% of new vehicles will have autonomous driving capabilities.

2: Augmented analytics
Data scientists have increasing amounts of data to prepare and analyze. Organizations can miss key insights from hypotheses the data scientists can't explore. That’s why “By 2020, more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated.”

3: AI-driven development
Developers will embed AI into applications and use AI to create AI-powered tools for the development process.

4: Digital twins
A digital twin is a digital representation that mirrors a real-life object, process, or system. The focus today is on digital twins in the IoT, which can improve enterprise decision making by providing information on maintenance and reliability, Expect this to grow in 2019.

5: Empowered edge
Expect information processing and content collection and delivery placed closer to the sources of the information, with the idea that keeping traffic local will reduce latency. “Technology and thinking will shift to a point where the experience will connect people with hundreds of edge devices.”

6: Immersive technologies
Conversational platforms, which change how users interact with the world, and technologies such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR), which change how users perceive the world, will lead to new immersive experiences.

7: Blockchain
The blockchain is a type of distributed ledger, an expanding chronologically ordered list of signed, permanent transactional records shared by all participants in a network. Expect blockchain to take off in many industries in 2019.

8: Smart Spaces
Connected to the digital twins concept, a smart space is a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact forming an open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystem.

9: Digital ethics and privacy
Customers will have a growing awareness of the value of their personal information and will be increasingly concerned with how it’s being used

10: Quantum computing
Still not ready for prime time, quantum computing will evolve, as an exponentially scalable and highly parallel computing model.

Last but not least, seven digital disruptions you might not see coming in 2019, as they are infused in your day-to-day experience, and their expected impact:

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Topics: customer loyalty Digital Customer Experience customer engagement digital transformation Innovation

Gartner Symposium - Strategic Predictions For 2019 and Beyond

 

The future is filled with disruption. But pending disruptions are taking on new forms. This is the tipping point for Gartner's keynote about top strategic predictions for 2019 and beyond, live from Barcelona.

In essence, here is a selection for you of the most relevant insights from Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. 

  • AI evolves into augmented intelligence and is affecting human lives as the presence of technical skills is slowly increasing within organizations.
  • People-oriented cultures resist the dehumanization of the individual, and as a result, culture and privacy become more and more connected.
  • Processes become products, and markets consolidate as customers continue to adopt new technologies.
  • As a result, all organizations have explore AI steadily, and both develop and supplement AI skills with AI automation technologies provided by expert vendors in the different fields (i.e. digital customer experience.
  • Acting more and more with a systemic vision, organization have to learn how to introduce products based on internal processes and data by leveraging the cloud and ecosystems of digital giants.
Topics: Innovation digital transformation Digital Customer Experience

Digital Innovation In Retail - Towards An Empathic Customer Experience

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What will the future bring for leading brands in the retail and fashion industry?

With the rise of e-commerce giants like Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay, the retail scenario is rebuilt on a digital foundation, where competition is played on the ability to meet an entirely new set of behaviors, expectations, and priorities of today's shoppers.

On-demand services and instant gratification available at any time are giving customers an ever greater control over their purchase journey and increasing their power towards brands. Speed, ease, contextual and individual relevance have passed within a few years from being valuable nice-to-have to essential must-have.

However, few are really trying to bridge the gap between insight and action, and it's the case of leading companies that are using technology to innovate their customer experience with a human-centric approach, changing how they interact and engage with today's customers.

Timberland launched a context-aware email marketing campaign, shaping ads for different weatherproof products to match each user's position and weather conditions in real-time.

Since at least 2013, Amazon takes notice of our shopping behavior and tailors recommendations for every one of us. And as we continue browsing, the fitting personalization goes on.

Even customer support has become much smarter. On companies' websites and e-commerce, chatbots and virtual assistants use natural language processing to help customers effortlessly navigate questions, FAQs or troubleshooting.

In the offline world, we see stores and shop windows coming to life with digital signage interactive systems and 3D contents on augmented and virtual reality.  And even behind the scenes, store analytics is becoming a common practice that will soon have nothing on online analytics, helping retailers to better understand shoppers behavior and measure the impact of different areas in the store environment.

It is easy to see how all these applications have one thing in common: AI.

Artificial intelligence is disrupting the retail industry as it enables marketers to automate and bring on a large scale something that until a few years ago required effortful small-scale processes. That is tailor-made experiences, custom-designed for each individual.

But there is still something wrong with AI today. A missing piece to move from the now outdated customer-centric approach to a people-centric path, more consistent with the evolving needs and wants of today's shoppers. It is predicted to be the future of AI, that will progressively bridge the gap between the offline and the online world. That missing piece is empathy.

We have identified 10 key factors for an empathic customer experience. You can find them in the "Digital Innovation in Retail & Fashion" report, now free to download.

Schermata 2018-09-17 alle 15.40.21

 

Photo by Alejandro Alvarez on Unsplash

Topics: digital transformation Innovation Digital Customer Experience

Three (Avoidable) Steps To Create The Ultimate Bad Customer Experience

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Growing a happy customer base is the key to success, we all know it. We usually look at the bright side - how Brands could and should deliver the best possible experience. This time we want to focus on the dark side of the DCX.

In a nutshell, are you willing to delight your customers with amazing experiences? Do you work constantly to improve your strategy? If the answer is Yes, do not read this post. Or maybe you should. Warning: this is a (not so much) ironical post.

When creating a business strategy, most companies do not consider the importance of a well-rounded customer journey. They simply look at the tip of the iceberg - made of standard recommendations - not considering the uncovered area, that refers to valuables experiences.

MAKE YOURSELF HARD TO FIND

In love, the winner is the one who flees. The same way, you could be tempted to run away from your customer’s attention, hiding and making yourself hard to find. What better way to start a relationship than to be desired, right?

If you want to deliver a horrible customer experience, the tipping point is to make your customers feel upset. Forcing them to struggle, testing their will to find information about you or your products. The result? They will soon turn to your competitors.

The best view comes after the hardest climb, right? No. Not when talking about the customers and their experience. It’s essential to make sure that people can easily find what they are looking for, whether it is the localization of your store, the price of your product or the contacts of support.

Today’s people are always on the move and connected. They don’t want to waste time and request immediate answers to their questions. 75% of online customers expect help within 5 minutes. If you’re not there, you’re anywhere. Digital and mobile technologies got them used to the easiest, fastest and the more natural way to do things; they expect your brand to do the same.

In this scenario, the worst thing that you can do is to believe that you don’t need to oversee as many touchpoints of the customer journey as you can, online and offline. Do you want to be bad at DCX? Hide where none can find you!

DO NOT UNDERSTAND CUSTOMERS

Sometimes, even when you’ve been working so hard to make them run away, customers still have the guts to believe in you and your product. They want to connect with your brand at all costs. How can you escape from this heavy task? Easy: show no understanding at all of the channels.

In this era of constant data flow coming through all sorts of touchpoints, so many companies get lost in the stream, stuck with no idea of who their customers really are and where they are. All the information in this world is useless if you don’t know what to do with it.

Just think about social media, the perfect place to build useless strategies, waste your budget and not reach your audience anyway. One of the first things they teach you in a marketing course is that no brand/product is similar to another in terms of target audiences and channels.

Do you want to be irrelevant? Throw your messages and contents to a random audience using randomly chosen channels. Otherwise, find the perfect platform to interact with the right audience: think about your buyer personas and look for the right place to find them.

Most customers use multiple channels to complete a purchase; improving your omnichannel presence is a must if you want to maximize the opportunities to interact with prospective customers. The goal of a multi-channel strategy is to give your potential customers the chance to choose where and when to talk to you and buy your product.

Not only the presence on social media is important to build a good community; it is necessary to find the right way to interact with your customers, using all the channels they are connected to.
And before you say, no, posting and tweeting are not enough to make your presence relevant.

Delivering meaningful experiences means having a cohesive message across a number of channels, and a continuous evolution as the data about your customers’ behaviors and needs increase. You need to keep moving fast to be one step forward your competitors.

TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS AS NUMBERS

After everything you have done to make them run away from you, if they are brave enough to buy your product, you can always change their mind with terrible customer service. Treat them like a number, not the most valuable asset of your company. That is the ultimate recipe for disastrous customer experience.

Keep in mind that the customer journey doesn’t end when a lead converts into a customer. It just starts there. People will judge you for your ability to offer good and timely support to their requests, whether they need advice or fixes.

People consider bad service experiences like waiting too long on the phone, being rebounded from office to office, having to explain the same issue to multiple service agents, or having to mail back a product ordered online.

When your customers feel they are being ignored or underestimated, they will share their experiences with the community. You know what that means? Bad reviews. If you do not accept your customer’s feedback, remove them, or reply with rough words is the worst thing you can do to improve your brand reputation.

You might get an enormous number of mentions through social media, even launching a trending topic, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be good for you. “Any press is good press” doesn’t work for marketing in the digital era.

People want brands to take their responsibilities, to act wisely and kindly. They want you to break the rules only when it’s for a worthy cause, not to get attention. Invest in your reputation with a long-lasting relationship, or you’ll end up as a shooting star.

A very well known example of bad brand reputation is Comcast, that provides one of the worst customer service all around, with customers usually complaining about the difficulty in reaching live support and, last but not least, for the hidden fees and extra-payments.

EXTRA: CHARGE & CHARGE

Charging an extra fee to surprise customers is the ultimate step for the worst customer experience people have ever seen. There is nothing more irritating and disappointing than being charged an extra fee, unexplained and unexpected.

Customers want to be sure that all the information, prices and fees are clearly declared. Not acting in transparently forces your customers to contact you to get information or, in the end, to ask for a refund. It affects brands perception, and decrease loyalty. Is this what you want?

Ultimately, you must remember that the road to DCX hell is full of good intentions.

 

Photo by J W on Unsplash

 

Download our brand new report, Digital Innovation in Retail & Fashion, and discover why you must know and understand your customers before even thinking about selling, and how you can use personalization to deliver relevant experiences that drive loyalty and increase value.

Schermata 2018-09-17 alle 15.40.21

Topics: digital transformation Digital Customer Experience customer engagement

Nudge Marketing: 3 Psychological Strategies to Grow Your Business

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We are not always rational beings. Most of the times, we make decisions on an irrational basis, and afterward, we look for logical explanations to justify them.

The same as consumers. Our emotional states and moods play a fundamental role in determining our preferences and choices so that leveraging on these subconscious drivers becomes an excellent way for marketers to promote desired, more valuable behaviors.
In this scenario, nudging may make your marketing more powerful as it shifts the focus towards subtly creating new habits rather than explicitly asking consumers to do something with the promise of 'extrinsic' rewards - usually financial - such as discounts or prizes.

Most of you probably already know what 'nudging' is: a method that uses positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions to influence people's behavior, thus making a certain choice easier than an alternative path without the person actively being aware of it.

But, perhaps, fewer know what nudging is NOT:
- A substitute for marketing, which compliments but not replace. Simply put, marketing makes the need salient and creates the desire while nudging facilitates the follow-through.
- A way to mislead or confuse the consumer. Instead, it should be transparent to be effective.
- A trap or a manipulation, as opting out of nudging should be as simple as the tap of a button.

If McDonald’s employees are trained to offer only medium or large options to customers when taking orders for drinks and desserts and emit the small alternative unless the consumer explicitly asks for it, this is a 'bad nudge'.

We see a lot of bad nudges in advertising, sales, and human relations in general.

Good nudges, on the other hand, are those that benefit the person - whether it is the consumer or citizen - not (only) your business. And there are countless examples out there too: many schools in the USA are using nudging to move students towards healthy choices, as well as to improve learning and academic outcomes; some virtuous companies are applying similar strategies to promote a safer workplace culture; and the UK government has its dedicated Nudge Unit to encourage people to make better choices for themselves and society.

So, how can you harness the power of good nudge to grow your business too? Look at these 3 examples of easy-to-implement strategies.

COGNITIVE EASE

It is pretty intuitive. Our brains are lazy, and we are less likely to do something if we think it’s going to be hard – whether it’s losing weight, quitting to smoke, buying a product or signing up for a service.

One major reason is that perceived difficulty undermines people's self-efficacy - the belief in someone's capacity to execute behaviors necessary to achieve specific goals.

On the contrary, the perception of ease can be a powerful nudge towards engagement and purchasing, as it enhances consumers' self-efficacy and their intention to move on.

This way, Zipcar managed to go over a major barrier to car share use - the belief that shared cars are scarce and hard to find - by subtly showing to users on its website's map how easy a Zipcar is to find and use.

OPTION RESTRICTION 

It may seem counterproductive, but streamlining your offer can help you increase conversions as you nudge customers towards making a decision, rather than being paralyzed by too many options.

For example, having too many social share buttons in a webpage or too many form fields in a drop-down menu cripples users' decision making, thus decreasing conversions.

The same happens in the offline world. An experiment conducted by the New York Times in a grocery store on two different Saturdays found that, after exposing 24 different flavors of jam on the first day and only 6 on the second day, purchases increased from 3% to 30%, meaning that the store sold 600% more jam by just reducing the set of options.

INTERNAL CONSISTENCY 

Once we make a choice or take a position, we feel the need to behave consistently with that commitment.

That is notoriously what door-to-door salespeople rely on: they ask a series of 'easy-to-answer-yes' questions (such as ‘Do you think that a more comfortable bed could improve the quality of your sleep?’) and, once you’ve said yes to one, it becomes harder to say no to the next. They managed to get in; that's why this technique is called 'foot-in-the-door'.

Petitions rely on the same principle because agreeing to take part sets people up to make a more significant commitment further down the line, from a simple signature to event participation and financial support.

Nudging works most effectively when it is used for good, creating a “win-win” situation for both companies and individuals.

We've seen examples here that make one thing clear: nudging holds the potential to move the marketing paradigm towards a proper understanding of the subconscious drivers of consumer behavior. But it is equally clear that it works most effectively when used to create a win-win situation for both companies and individuals.

If this belief becomes a premise, the current distinction between good and bad nudging will turn into a separation of what is nudging from what is not. And naturally, this is our hope.

Photo by Caleb Frith on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: Nudging customer loyalty Digital Customer Experience customer engagement

Neosperience at Think 2018 - Strengthening Customer Engagement With Artificial Intelligence

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What is the key to building a successful organization in the digital age? It will be discussed at Think 2018, the week-long event organized in Milano by IBM, a real journey through the world of cloud and artificial intelligence.

Dario Melpignano, CEO of Neosperience, illustrates how companies need to use technological innovations to build personal and useful relationships with their customers. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6 at 15:30 with the panel "Strengthening Customer Engagement with Artificial Intelligence".

The disruptive power of the digital transformation has involved - sometimes with overwhelming effects - every industry and internal function of the organizations. The smartphone, at the forefront of this innovative process, has stopped being a simple channel, to become a real proxy of the customer.

The path of change towards digital and emerging technologies has forced Brands to move towards an increasingly customer-centered model. Working on customer engagement means precisely this: delivering personalized customer experiences, overcoming the problems that derive from the fragmentation of tools and channels.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” With this famous phrase, Theodore Roosevelt had already exemplified the value of the customer experience well before the actual start of the digital revolution. You will never be able to engage and retain your customers if you do not know them in the first place.

As a matter of facts, accelerating digital transformation means adopting a mobile-first approach, identifying insight in real time and using this information to build and strengthen the empathic relationship with the customer. This translates into the development of personalized experiences that retain and increase the value of the Brand.

The future of customer engagement, with a focus on the crucial role of Artificial Intelligence, will be the heart of Dario Melpignano's intervention at Think Milano, in a panel moderated by Dicran Babayantz, IBM Watson Customer Engagement Business Unit Leader Italy.

Here is the complete agenda of the round table:
Wednesday, June 6 from 3.30 PM to 5 PM - Hall III

Campus:
Cloud & Data / Artificial Intelligence for Business

Speakers:
- Dario Melpignano, CEO at Neosperience, "visionary" and Mobile Digital Business pioneer for USA-Europe
- Laura Iacovone, Mktg Professor in Competitive Analysis Consumer & Shopping Behavior and Advertising
- Alessandro De Biasio, Partner and Board Member, Head of Strategy and Innovation Practice The European House Ambrosetti
- Alessia Scarpocchi, Mktg Director Apoteca Natura Strategies & Web Aboca Group

For further information about the agenda and to register, please head to Think 2018 official page.

Topics: digital transformation Neosperience customer engagement Digital Customer Experience

Psychographics in Marketing: Build a Culture That Drives Their Power

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In advertising, brands constantly use communication appeals to influence the behavior of their target audience. As the science moves forward, marketing professionals improve their knowledge of the more profound pathways of human mind, and how to hit the right buttons in consumers' brain to increase the persuasive power of messages.

In the last years, this approach has also been extended to one-to-one marketing, giving Brands the opportunity to hyper-personalize interactions with every single user based on their distinctive traits: values, attitudes, motives, interests, lifestyles and personality traits. In a word, Psychographics.

This methodology has been employed in many sectors, with very different purposes. In the B2C world, to increase customer purchases and conversion rates, in health education, to encourage and support patient behavior change, up to politics, to influence citizens choices.

And it's just from politics that a question has recently arisen around the methods used by some parties to help elect a U.S. President, finding out through data-science and machine learning techniques what makes each specific citizen tick.

Our purpose is not to dig into the merits of a story that has already been over-discussed, but to think about the consequences of two big issues that it has brought out. On the one hand, the enormous power of psychographic models in predicting the behavior of individuals; on the other, how much these tools can be abused without shared deontological principles and rules.

Supporting and providing an ethical use of psychographic profiling, enabled by AI, becomes even more crucial from now on.

In the B2C world, building a culture that directs and controls the application of these methods is now more important than ever, given the essential need of brands to gain a deep understanding of who their customers are, as people as well as consumers, and so be able to deliver more personalized experiences.

From the suggestion of products and services to the creation of offers, messages, and content, psychographics are perfectly suited to win-win strategies, which open up new opportunities for higher-value, human-centered customer experiences, tailored to the needs, tastes, desires and interests of every single user.

Let’s Make an Example

Think of an online fashion retailer selling branded and own-brand products through its website and app. And think of Maria, a new customer.

In a typical situation, the retailer would know that Maria is a Millennial, lives in New York and in the last months has bought an evening gown and a pair of dress shoes of the spring collection, spending $ 215. She made her purchases on the website, but yesterday she downloaded the app too, following the invitation of a friend.

Now, the retailer will have to ask: What is the next step to keep Maria involved? With that information the retailer can offer to Maria, on her first access to the app, a special discount on the purchase of a garment easily matchable to those she has already bought (adopting a "content-based" approach). Or, the retailer can suggest to Maria a specific garment that is highly appreciated and frequently chosen by customers who share many similarities with her (using a "collaborative filtering" technique).

Now, imagine that the retailer can have access to different types of additional information about Maria. The marketer understands that she is very creative, likes to mix different styles into a single outfit, and prefers variety over routine when she goes shopping. She is always looking for original and uncommon clothes, with which she can stand out and show her unique personality.

With that new information available, the retailer would know that the best way to keep Maria engaged is to offer her, at a special price, a garment from the brand new collection that she would be one of the first people to buy. It will not recommend the most popular clothing matches but propose multiple styles that she can mix creatively. Moreover, it will not suggest the most chosen clothes by users "like her" but will offer something always new and different, to meet her need to feel unique.

So What?

Back to the ethical question: All that is new and different can be used for the good and the bad.

Changing the way Brands connect with customers remains a great challenge. They still lack a profound understanding of "Who" their customers are and, therefore, the ability to think like a customer, as Paul Gillin would say.

This barrier prevents them from creating remarkable personalized experiences, consistent with the distinctive traits of every customer and able to meet inner needs and emotional preferences.

If you keep thinking the old way, you will fail to overcome the challenge, building innovative user models capable of aggregating heterogeneous and anonymized data, and turning them into meaningful insights appears to be the right way forward.

Transparency and value to the customer are fundamental principles that must precede and guide the use of a powerful tool such as psychographics, allowing them to humanize the way brands interact with customers, giving unprecedented relevance to the digital experiences they deliver.

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

Discover MyPsychographics, based on techniques that have been developed and refined over 100 years of cognitive, behavioral and social psychology.

MyPsychographics

Topics: psychographics customer engagement Digital Customer Experience

Must-Know SEO Tricks To Improve Your Digital Presence [INFOGRAPHIC]

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SEO is dead, long live the SEO. Every now and then, the critics of search engine optimization scream their apocalyptic manifesto for a SEO-less world. You don't need optimization anymore, they say, because the engines evolve so quickly that everything you do is immediately obsolete. 

Yes, the evolution of technology every year brings developments to the industry, but does this mean that you don't need to optimize anymore? The answer is clearly 'No'. You still need SEO; it's just not the SEO you were used to, as shown in the following infographic. 

To quote the words of Neil Patel, New York Times best selling author and co-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics:

"The Internet has gone through several iterations over the past 30 years, and while SEO tactics have certainly changed, as long as search engines exist, ranking in them will be important.

New technology may change the way we interact and explore the Internet, but search engines will always be a factor, and optimizing your information for these constantly evolving algorithms will never go out of style.

You probably know where I’m going with this article.

SEO is not dead."

New times require new means, and the new digital and mobile ecosystem requires a whole new approach to SEO. You always have to appeal two different targets - the user and the engine - but both have been deeply disrupted by that tiny (so to say) device called smartphone.

You face a new generation of customers - always connected and willing to receive information in real-time, whenever they are - and a new generation of AI-driven algorithms - they learn from their interactions with the user, and can also process real speech patterns. 

Google gets over 100 billion searches a month and handles at least 2 trillion searches per year. 89 percent of customers start the buying process using a search engine. Customer experience management can not do without SEO, and if you think that being there at the right time is not relevant for your Brand, well, think again. 

The metrics don't lie: The digital presence is more crucial than ever. And that means that you need to employ all those SEO tricks that will help you improve your strategy in the online and offline worlds.

If you need further proof, check the recent research from Milkwhale, first published on Entrepreneur, in the form of an enlightening, long-sighted infographic (click on the picture to enlarge).

55-seo-tricks-small-business-websites-infographic

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Topics: Google digital transformation Digital Customer Experience

What Customer Personality Can Teach You About Your Marketing Strategy

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Conversion optimization is a matter of persuasion. And persuasion is, first of all, a matter of psychology. As you may know, nobody is better than Robert Cialdini in teaching us about persuasion and psychology as a way to understand how customer's mind works.

Not surprisingly, marketers regularly base promotional techniques on Cialdini's principles of social influence to increase the desirability of their products among customers. The choice of what tactics to use, however, is primarily determined by their business goals, while ‘who’ their customers are - from a psychological point of view - is often pushed into the background.

Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity. These six principles rely on different psychological motives:

  • The desire to give something back when we've received something (Reciprocity).
  • The need to behave consistently with our previous choices (Commitment and Consistency).
  • The tendency to perform actions that reflect other people's actions (Social Proof).
  • The tendency to like someone or something that seems similar to us (Liking).
  • The tendency to follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable figures (Authority).
  • The desire to have more of those things we can have less of (Scarcity).

Each of these principles is related to our inner needs, which make us different one another. As a result, their effectiveness can be stronger or weaker depending on who is the target audience - always from a psychological perspective.

Here are three good examples.

SOCIAL PROOF

People look at what others do to determine their own behavior, especially when they are uncertain or doubtful. Conforming to others, in fact, helps us to feel part of a social group and avoid social faux pas. This kind of "peer power", however, works only with certain types of people.

The ideal customer personality

Social proof is typically more persuasive to people who have a high need for approval and a desire to conform, but it can't work with those who seek uniqueness. Having a high need for uniqueness, in fact, undermines the influence of majority (Imhoff & Erb, 2009). As a result, recommendation techniques such as "people like you bought this" may bother uniqueness-seeking customers while attracting conformity-seekers at the same time.

SCARCITY

People perceive products as more attractive and valuable when their availability is rather limited. So, when they believe that something is in short supply, they want it more. Because valuable things are often scarce, people tend to conclude that scarce things are valuable and more desirable. That is why customers are so attracted by products promoted as being "scarce" (versus abundant), in time or quantity (Cialdini, 1993).

Promotions such as the 'limit one per customer' sales and the 'limited editions' are designed to harness the persuasive power of the scarcity effect. However, as they rely on specific psychological mechanisms, the effectiveness of scarcity changes according to "whom" they are addressed.

The ideal customer personality

Scarcity effect by its nature conveys a feeling of urgency and the belief that you will be missing out on something if you fail to act quickly. A personality trait called "need for closure" refers to one's desire for gaining a definitive answer to a question, thus avoiding uncertainty.

People who are high on this trait feel the urge to come to a quick decision, and scientific research demonstrates that scarcity affects them more compared to people who tend to avoid closure and are more comfortable with ambiguity (Jung & Kellaris 2004). As a result, customers  with higher need for closure would be more prone to buy something if they know that it is the very last one or that a special deal will soon expire.

RECIPROCITY

People feel the need to give back to others the form of behaviors, favors or gifts that they have received in the first place. In other words, they want to treat others the same way they have treated them before and, more importantly, be the last to give.

Running a blog that offers highly actionable and useful insights for free; a waiter or waitress that gives you a gift - such as a fortune cookie, or a mint - when bringing your bill; offering a gift incentive upfront rather than at the end of a sale.

All these common-used tactics apply the principle of reciprocity to make your readers more willing to buy something from you or provide you with a conversion and to be more generous tippers. As we all know, however, the feeling of being indebted to others, the sense of gratitude and the desire to repay a kindness, are not equally present in each of us.  

The ideal customer personality

Studies have found that such "prosocial" tendencies are strongly rooted in personality and, especially, in individual differences in agreeableness.

Agreeable people are typically more grateful, thankful, and trustful. They are also more likely to attribute their positive outcomes to the intentional behavior of others, while distrustful people tend to be suspicious, skeptical, and address others' kindness to personal or selfish gain. So, agreeable customers are perfect for reciprocity-based engagement techniques.

If you think that customers decisions are just based on past behaviors, you are wrong. They mainly depend on who they are. That is why it is imperative to put effort into knowing the human side of your customers and choose how to communicate with them on a personal level.

In a world where hyper-personalization is an essential factor for success in every business, blending empathy in your marketing strategy becomes the key to meet the challenge. Add technology to the equation, and that is the key to make it scalable.

References:

Cialdini, R. (1993). The psychology of influence. New York: William Morrow & Co.

Imhoff, Roland, Hans-Peter Erb. 2009. What motivates nonconformity? Uniqueness seeking blocks majority influence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 35(3) 309–320.

Jung, J. M., & Kellaris, J. J. (2004). Cross‐national differences in proneness to scarcity effects: The moderating roles of familiarity, uncertainty avoidance, and need for cognitive closure. Psychology & Marketing, 21(9), 739-753.

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Topics: psychographics Employee Engagement customer engagement Digital Customer Experience