After 2020, the rules have changed for many brands.

Along with the expected advances in consumer interests, brands have to consider rapidly changing consumer behaviour, navigate a fluctuating economy, and also be mindful of the difficult times that their audience have been through.

That’s right. Being a useful brand in 2021 is difficult.

But it is also essential.

Consumers are no longer afraid to tell a brand when they’ve fallen short. And backlash faced online can be devastating for brands.

So in 2021, it’s all about the consumer. Giving the consumer the best experience, what they need, when they need it, and how they need it.

In this post, we will explain how to do exactly that. 

Understand your audience

The most important element to being useful to your audience, is understanding them.

After all, if you don’t have a full picture of who your audience are, how can you even begin to address their challenges, needs, and desires?

If you don’t already have a firm grasp of your audience, there are lots of ways to get started.

Send customer surveys. Conduct industry research. Speak to your sales and customer service teams. And use data to understand behavioural and purchasing patterns.

All of this information can be used to build audience personas of your target demographic. Which can be utilised throughout your business and communications, ensuring they are as useful as possible.

Be relevant

You now have a good understanding of who your audience are, and how you can help them. But how do you begin to communicate this and become useful to the wider world?

In 2021, being relevant is key.

Audiences have been through periods of change, pain, and uncertainty over the past year. So when brands reach out to engage with them, they need to make sure it’s worthwhile.

Therefore, it’s essential to make your communications as personalised and as relevant as possible.

Use the data you have on your customers, whether that be web pages visited, products purchased, or demographic data such as age and location.

Then send highly useful, timely, and targeted content and communications to your audience. Such as abandoned basket emails, replenishment campaigns, or help and support articles.

Be mindful

We would always encourage brands to communicate and engage with their audience. However, they still need to be mindful whilst executing all of the above.

Mindful of their tone. Mindful of being genuine. And mindful of showing empathy.

Because when faced with a crisis, it’s easy for brands to misjudge and get it wrong.

On one hand, they want to remain true to their brand personality and positioning. But on the other hand, forging ahead with regular activity that doesn’t align with the current context is likely to backfire.

So brands need to dedicate time to think about the messages they want to convey. To get their leaders and department heads involved. And ensure everyone is on board.

After all, how can a brand be useful if they are coming across as oblivious, ignorant, or naive to their audiences’ challenges?

For instance, Burger King launched a fantastic scholarship program to help their female employees pursue their culinary dreams. However, the way that they executed the campaign, and the language they used, certainly fell flat.

Offer experiences

Products will come and go. But great customer experience will be remembered.

The modern consumer is bored of hearing about the finer details of your product or service. Especially since everyone has been going through periods of lockdown. Consumers are desperate for excitement, connection, and experiencing something new.

But where can you start?

Ensuring your customer journey touchpoints are all connected is essential to offering a seamless customer experience. Communicating with your customers at the right time, with the right message, on the right channel.

Basically, you should put the work in so they don’t have to.

From here, you can get really creative. For instance, Netflix capitalised on the face-swap trend with their outdoor campaign that let people swap faces with their favourite TV and film characters.

Become agile and adaptive

Brands that are agile and adaptive are able to better cope with the challenges that modern life throws at them. Whether that be a changing economy or fluctuating buying behaviour.

But what does becoming agile and adaptive actually mean?

It means that your strategy, processes, and people are ready and prepared to change, flex, and evolve. Quickly.

It means that there is no ‘red tape’, legacy processes, or outdated systems that are going to hold your brand back if big decisions need to be made quickly.

And it means that brands constantly have their finger on the pulse to predict, and prepare for, the next big challenge or opportunity.

Ford are a fantastic example of an agile and adaptive brand. During the pandemic, they used their own resources to produce PPE equipment to ensure the continued safety of their own staff, whilst not adding to worldwide demand.

Want to be a useful brand?

Being a useful brand may seem like a daunting prospect. But by putting the audience at the heart of everything you do, you will soon be making significant progress.

But if you’d like a little help along the way, then get in touch with us. Our team of experts are experienced in helping brands build long lasting-relationships with their audience.

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