Brand identity and efficiency
In the past, a company could succeed in differentiating itself from its competitors through its products or services offered to customers. Quality and/or quantity was the only viable argument a company could put forward to try to gain additional market share. Obviously, only the offer could make the difference at a time when marketing was still in its infancy. But those days are over and companies now have many opportunities to increase their economic and financial performance through marketing and communication.
Nowadays, it is no longer rare to find companies that market products that are far from being unanimously accepted because of their quality. However, these are companies that still have a good image with their current and potential customers. Among all these new opportunities available to current companies, brand image is truly a weapon of massive development if you compare it with a company’s ability to generate revenue, and this could even be an explanation for the situation just before.
Branding” is, for a company, the action of putting forward its own brand to make it a commercial argument symbolizing quality, the implementation of production conditions that respect customers and/or the environment, and many other things. The question we will ask ourselves in this article will therefore be to know if there is really a link between the image a company conveys to its customers and the performance for today’s companies, but also to know what the deep nature of this link is. What is the real link between the image a company conveys to its customers and the economic and financial performance of a company? How can these two concepts be defined and linked to explain the fact that a company can, through the image it reflects, increase its results and economic performance? All the answers to these questions, and much more, in the following lines and paragraphs.
An observation to be taken into consideration
What is the buying process that drives a consumer to buy a brand rather than another brand? How to ensure the strength of the image sent back to the customers of your company? How is this choice made by the consumer constructed as it evolves before entering the point of sale and during the completion of his purchases? It was following a study launched in the United States in 2016 by the Quantcast programmatic platform, that it was possible to study interesting avenues of response for companies from all over the world. At its annual high mass in London for the occasion, Quantcast unveiled the long-awaited results of its multi-month study of customers around the world. And these results are beyond question! It should also be noted that this study was carried out primarily by Basis Research, in close partnership with Quantcast. More than 2257 consumers were surveyed, including consumers from France, Australia, Germany, Italy, England and the United States. Throughout July, these consumers were surveyed, questioned and questioned about their buying experience, all directly via the Internet.
It shows that consumers are familiar with many brands, 9 on average, on consumer products, both in food and non-food. This in-depth knowledge of brands is obviously to be linked to an ever-increasing exposure to advertising for consumers around the world. On the Internet, on smartphones, on tablets, in the street or on television, advertising is constantly developing and reinventing itself to meet companies’ expectations and development objectives. However, despite the hype that we have just mentioned, many of which are complaining about in this study, only two brands remain in customers’ minds when it comes to making their purchases. Indeed, if we look carefully at the results of this study, it appears that in 56% of cases, consumers keep in mind a brand already known at the time of purchase. In 49% of cases, it is in search of a brand recently heard or seen in an advertising spot that consumers launch themselves during their shopping. Another interesting figure is the one that shows that only 4 out of 10 consumers are tempted to buy a brand they had in mind when they made their purchases. In 27% of cases, consumers opt for a new brand, which they did not plan to buy, but which happens to be on their way (promotion, product enhancement, etc.). Last point to highlight: in 20% of the situations studied, the consumer does not buy any brand because his buying process has proved far too complex to finalize his decision-making process, or because he has not found a product that meets his expectations.
All these figures therefore make it possible to assess a situation that, in the end, has not changed as much as it has since the emergence of the Internet and connected technologies. We are well aware that today’s consumers tend to modernize their purchasing processes, to turn to computers, tablets and smartphones to make their purchases. However, for their purchases in physical sales outlets, it is still very complicated to anticipate the needs, expectations and choices of each consumer, regardless of the country studied.
Branding: constant attention
Clearly, and in view of the figures mentioned above, companies have not finished thinking about how to enhance the image that a company gives to its customers. Consumers, even if they are increasingly connected and subjected to advertising, still have complex reflexes to take into account in their purchasing process. This was the stated objective of this study to try to provide the clearest possible answer to all these problems. The objective is only half achieved if we believe the reactions of specialists in the sector who refuse to say that the study proposed by Quantcast has made it possible to better understand anything new, if not to provide some clarification.
Nevertheless, it is still possible to draw an interesting lesson for all companies from this study: communication must be the subject of constant attention. An image is maintained, improved and galvanized by numerous promotional campaigns designed to reverse the customer’s purchasing process and to make them choose your brand over another. Brands must be active and communicate as regularly as possible in order to make their image a reference for consumers. Today, a company that would not embark on a long communication process would be a company that would take the risk of not having a solid image with its customers.
Reputation and performance: two related concepts
In view of the proposed study, and all the statistics and figures at our disposal, it is important to say that a company’s reputation or the image it reflects to its customers and a company’s ability to generate turnover are not two things that are entirely linked from the outset. However, if we take the time to look at the current situation of companies and their development needs, we quickly come back to this initial observation. Promotional campaigns have a definite influence on consumer behaviour, which is once again evident in this study. A company with significant financial resources to carry out recurring promotional campaigns is much more likely to gain additional market share than a company that does not have these resources.
However, despite this need to link reputation and branding, nowadays, more than 60% of companies do not link these two concepts as part of the implementation of their strategy in the short, medium and long term. By not being sufficiently present throughout the consumer journey and the purchasing process of a customer, brands really miss many opportunities both in terms of brand image and economic and financial results. 7 out of 10 consumers now use the Internet to get information before making a purchase. A company that is not sufficiently present on the Internet from the outset therefore takes the risk of not being taken into account in the consumer’s initial choice. And if this absence is also felt in the physical point of sale, the company is wrong all along the line.
The trend for the coming years is truly to personalize the customer experience. The company must be present in all stages of the consumer’s purchase, from the time the information is taken to the final decision. Of course, this presence requires substantial financial resources, but the new resources at our disposal (digital, Internet, etc.) allow all companies, whatever the sector of activity and size, to take advantage of these new opportunities.
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