Companies have a wealth of information on customer purchasing behaviour, income and other features used to categorise them. However, what they don’t have is information on their thoughts, the emotional and psychological status that bring them to interact with products, services and brands.
In random discussions, I have come across misunderstandings regarding a series of concepts on brands and consumer relations with it. For this reason, I would like to share some thoughts on the topic.
It is widely recognised that consumers have more opportunities for interaction with companies and more alternatives in choosing their products. Today, a brand is the holistic whole of the consumer experiences and is composed of visual elements, message tone, brand behaviour, and above all product reputation, which creates certain consumer expectations towards it.
However, more than a sign of identification, the brand is a unique communication language between company and customer. Once brands were a message directed at the receiver, without any opportunity for dialog or compromise. However, the communication flow has now changed. The brand is not only composed of visuals and words, or just a logo or slogan. These elements are used to communicate the brand, because ultimately it is made up of a group of experiences. From a message, the brand transforms and is conceptualised into one or more experiences through its visuals-tone-behavior elements.
More than ever, the brand and advertising creator task is to create these experiences and to enable interaction between brand and customer. This interaction is not merely a transaction between the client and the company; it is a relation in which the customer knows what he/she needs and what to expect from the brand, for this relation to become unforgettable.
This relation evolved when brands adapted and followed the consumer online in the digital age, thus enabling engagement in this mutual dialog. Videos, graphical motion, and courageous posts have showcased brands elegantly transforming them into trends. The brand is not merely a sign that is only used just to be present. It reaches the audience well, as if it were calling on it. Its presence is now part of their goals and wants, as if they were old friends that understand each other well.
Experience at the interaction level is not present only in digital channels, but also real life ones, reaching each point of contact between a customer and the brand. This is a process that starts when the consumer hears about the brand for the first time, then decides to explore further, and encompasses the establishment of the personal experience with the brand.
However, the majority of experiences are made up of a series of connected interactions that aim at achieving a single goal. This presents challenges throughout the creative process, which require more focus in integrating and coordinating elements to develop the interaction level. This link is paramount to drive customers to further their relations with us, and to attract their attention away from our competitors.
When speaking of stimulating interaction with customers, an important element is to know the targeted customers of our brand. Nowadays, we consider a broader customer profile that is stronger in the market and who do not only assess the service or product quality as they obviously expect it to be perfect, and we also consider customers that have educated their purchasing behaviour prior to considering any purchase. Today, consumers are sophisticated and brand developers have the task to stay ahead of this level of sophistication and to achieve a satisfactory relation.
Any company is unique, but so are its customers, which means the brand should be developed bearing these two elements well in mind.
For example, one brand developed by our agency, is “Sophie Caffe” where each element, from the graphical elements, the language used to communicate what the brand is, and even the slogan “Remember me”, is in interaction with the customer. In addition, “Yellow Mood” was also created by the Vatra Agency, with the brand developed in all its forms and communication channels, from the initial concept to the creation of the symbol that signifies mood.
Attaching the slogan to a chemical formula, which remains to be discovered in the communication of the brand with the customer through the visual representation of each its component elements, is achieved differently from any other brand in the market, communicating with its target customers with the funny expressions of the brand.
We create with the goal of each consumer experiencing the brand in such a way that they never lose its connection to it. Metaphorically speaking, the brand is the octopus head, while its tentacles are extended into never ending communication channels. When asked what I create, I would answer that I create communication, because my goal is for the creation to be part of the wishes of the user and to be one with the customer.
* Vatra Agency is a leading digital, design and brand communication agency passionately connecting brands to 55 million Balkan consumers.