How does branding affect customer behavior? Since the internet, how does marketing now affect a customer’s purchasing decision?
The internet has turned the tables on how consumers and brands engage with each other. The internet is transforming branding strategies as well as business models around the world. What was standard just a few years ago is practically obsolete. For today’s marketers, the old way of doing business is unsustainable.
Consumers still desire a clear brand promise, enjoying the products and services they value. What has changed is how and when the consumer is influenced by a brand as it interacts with them at various touch points.
In the past, brands concentrated most of their efforts and budget into building brand awareness, having consumers then open their wallets at the point of purchase. And it worked pretty well – until the growth of the internet.
Touch points and consumers have changed in both number and nature, requiring a major adjustment in a brand’s strategy and budgets, solely based on where consumers are actually focusing their attention.
How Does Branding Affect Customer Behavior: The Five Key Stages
Successful brands understand and nurture the “customer decision journey”, which is now composed of five distinct stages:
- Paying Attention
Because all brands are attempting to gain more Attention in a highly-competitive world, most brands are losers in succeeding to gain an abundant amount of consumer attention for their brand.
In the Evaluation stage, consumers now look to their peers and other third party information to determine which brands on their list will be purchased. It is at this stage when more brands lose out, as most do not have a strategy to ensure that their brand is properly represented with high-quality to assist the customer with their evaluation.
In the past, this stage was short and not that involved. But as the internet grew in size and influence, so did grow the consumer’s ability to visit trusted locations containing reviews, good or bad, videos from YouTube commentators, and independent bloggers. All of these factor are now shaping the brand’s identity; important factors not under the brand’s control. Better, more in-depth evaluations of brands were being conducted online by the consumer and this left most brands losing out on the consumer’s interest.
With now even fewer brands left at the Purchasing stage, many of their branding and sales strategies were weak with poorly designed packaging, awkward pricing, or sales people who could not clearly explain the brand’s features and benefits. Or the brand’s sales team simply failed to adequately close sales.
After purchase, a deeper connection begins where the customer is now Enjoying the product/service along with additional online touch points with the brand. When consumers are pleased with a purchase, they’ll advocate it with word-of-mouth, creating “consumer generated content.” In turn, Advocating invigorates a brand’s potential by now helping other consumers to pay attention and evaluate the brand. And so a new sequence of the “customer decision journey” begins with even more potential customers, As we all know too well, would-of-mouth leads to a brand’s best new customers.
Few companies have created the roles and systems needed to manage their content supply chain and create a coherent consumer experience at all 5 states of the “consumer decision journey.” And for those brands that do adapt to how the internet has changed customer behavior, they will dramatically grow market share in this new digital economy.