Branding And Marketing - Brands Need To Focus On End-To-End Customer Experience To Stay Ahead

Rohin Samtaney, Co-Founder & Director, The Souled Store Pvt. LtdAn engineer turned entrepreneur, Rohin is a curious soul who contributes to the souled store with his innovation and passion

Before the internet, majority of retailers used traditional methods to reach their customers ­ print ads, TV (if you could afford it), bill-boards. It was the spray and pray method which involved minimal targeting and analytics. The internet changed it all. Suddenly, the entire world was your playground. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Instagram dominated the internet, and, in turn, helped Direct-to-Consumer brands reinvent the the way marketing is done.

Brands adapted accordingly ­ they created highly targeted ads online, ran campaigns on their social media pages, sent out weekly mailers, and gave their customers information where they could track their order at every step of the way. That worked for a few years, as it was something new and the novelty and ease of access was what kept it going.

But with the world being so closely connected, a brand trying to market itself is competing with all sorts of information being thrown at a customer on a daily basis ­ personal updates from friends and family, news, memes, and all kinds of content to entertain and distract you. All of these rate higher on the priority list compared to most brand posts. Not a lot of things surprise people anymore, as they see so much of it all the time. Getting basics right is no longer enough-you've got to stand out to get hold of customers' fleeting attention.

So what do brands need to do to stay ahead? Give the customer something to remember you by at every touch point.
Here are some key things brands must focus on:

Having a Personality ­ Social media is a great platform to show your latest collections, new product launches, and updates about the brand are up to. But more often than not, you're going to get lost in the crowd. While it is absolutely important to promote your products/ services, that isn't enough. For your customers to connect with you, they need to like you. For them to like you, they need to know you. And for them to know you, you can-not seem like a faceless organisation selling them products. One of the top five things that customers want from brands is to get to know them better- they want to see the people behind the scenes, they want to see your brand have a personality, people they can relate to and not just entities they shop from. This is something that works for start-ups more than big, established brands and it is something that gives these start-ups the edge that they need to compete with companies with big pockets. Profile your employees, show a regular work day, show how you decide on what design works and what doesn't, show why your people love working for you, and basically show people what keeps your organisation ticking. Keep in mind the tone of voice that you use, what is the overall mood of your brand, and stick to it. Your website `About Us' page is another extremely crucial page which gives you a lot of freedom to express who you are and why you do what you do, which makes it easier for customers to connect with you.

Amazon, Google, Facebook, Instagram dominated the internet, and, in turn, helped Direct-to-Consumer brands reinvent the the way marketing is done

Delighting the Customer ­ From the moment customers land on a website, there are numerous touch points where they interact with the brand; and there is potential in each and every one of them to stand apart and take them by surprise. It's easy to assume that the customer only cares about the products they want to buy and the rest of the experience doesn't really matter. Re-member, you're always looking to establish a long-term association with the customer. That's the end goal, always. It's not just about the current transaction, it goes beyond. This is where the brand needs to make sure they go above and beyond right from the get go. There are some basics to keep in mind ­ appealing display of products, well written product descriptions of course, elaborate product details (the more you tell the customer about the quality and utility of the product, the more convinced they are), smooth and smart check-out processes.

But a tremendous amount of value can also be added.