A marketplace designed around consumers empowers them. Current technology, like social media, creates a network for information-sharing about brands. The success and failure of brands can be propelled through these empowered consumers by leaving reviews, social shares, and brand advocacy.
The People’s Power-Ups
Technology has given consumers the upper hand in promoting brands. Other consumers utilize information gathered from ratings, apps, news, and social media along with branded content when building their perception about a brand.
Customers can immediately share details (like the good, the bad, and plain ugly) about their experiences via social media.
Designed for consumers to share their experiences, these applications let consumers discuss their relationship with your brand.
From Google to Yelp, to Facebook reviews, consumers can promote your brand with five stars, or bash your products and services with the age-old “I would give zero stars if I could.”
Dealing with a bit of bad PR? Snagging headlines for making a positive impact within the community? From “Tonight at 10” headline, to a news station’s social media account, consumers are tuned in to how brands are portrayed in traditional media.
Consumer-Centric Tactics - So Good You Can Taste It!
Many companies have utilized consumer-centric tactics to empower their customers. In the case of McDonald’s, the company used social listening and customer feedback to evolve the brand. The change happened when Steve Easterbrook became CEO in 2015.
Easterbrook wanted to empower the “wants and desires” of the consumers to boost the business. Through data collection and thorough research, Easterbrook and his team discovered that customers wanted healthier options, longer night hours, and all-day breakfast.
When McDonald’s prepared to roll out their “All Day Breakfast” in select US locations, they sent personalized tweets to every person who had ever asked for all-day breakfast on Twitter. This capitalized on their collection of data about consumer desires and instilled the consumer-centric idea that “ask and you might receive.”
Tips to Empower Consumers
How does a brand positively empower consumers? The first step is to think about how consumers interact with the brand. If a brand gives customers the right tools, the positive benefits to consumer-empowerment will follow.
Here are a few tips to ensuring a consumer-centric brand is giving customers the tools to feel empowered:
User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI)
Websites that are easy to navigate help consumers in numerous ways. Things like quick load speeds, natural page flow, and mobile optimization are only the beginning of empowering consumers.
Small things like updates to account information or contact information should be easy to find, or brands take the risk of frustrating their customers. With a consistent and seamless online experience, customers will be empowered to promote the brand.
Does the content on your site provide value to consumers? Creating content for the sake of content doesn’t educate or engage the customer base. What’s worse, poor quality content can even hurt your ranking. Crafting quality content that improves the lives of consumers in a meaningful way gives them a positive association with the brand.
Brands that see the highest success in empowering consumers through content do so by providing content about the topics that relate to consumer needs, or the company mission. Putting the consumers’ needs at the forefront and brand promotion in the background of content, empowers customers to engage with the brand.
At the core of every business is customer support. Great products and quality marketing flop when paired with sub-par customer service. One vital component of customer support is availability. While 24/7 support is not always feasible, delighting customers comes down to ensuring that they can contact the brand during normal hours and seamlessly resolve issues.
Does a brand offer multiple channels for customer service? Each consumer has different needs and may require different ways to contact the company for support. Offering phone, email, online chat, and social media channels allows customers to interact with the brand.
As an added benefit, brands don’t have to wait for consumers to contact them about issues through social media. With tools available for social listening, brands can track customer issues, reach out, and resolve them before consumers contact the brand! Supporting consumers will empower them to make the shift from regular customers to brand promoters.
With the right tools, a brand can empower its customers in the consumer-centric marketplace. Additionally, listening to consumer input and feedback can help a brand create new products or services to boost the brand. Spend a little time listening to the people and use that power to amplify business.