Conventional wisdom says that shoppers do not care about brands anymore. Retailers lament that brand loyalty is dead--that customers just search for products now instead of coming to their websites. Where once shoppers cared about Sears, Macy's, or dozens of other names, now they don't care where they buy from. To some extent they are right, but they are drawing the wrong conclusion. It isn't that brands don't matter anymore. It's that what people are looking for from their brands have changed.
Retailers need to think about what built their brands. In large measure, it was reliability and convenience. Consumers could rely on products sold in those big retail chains. Their buyers knew quality and they stood behind those products with money-back guarantees. Having so much selection in one place was very convenient.
Those big retail stores made it easy to get what you want. Those retailers provided a very helpful service. In doing so, they built the power of their brand names. Consumers counted on those brand names to solve their problems with products reliably and conveniently.
And that worked very well, right up to when the Internet became just as reliable and more convenient. At first, people wondered whether the selection was as well-thought-out as the traditional retailers', but they soon realize that everything is there. It was up to them to decide what was quality and what wasn't, and there were plenty of ratings and reviews to do so.
The convenience was never in doubt. Some products still need to be seen and touched and tried on (at least for some buyers), but the Internet is more convenient for almost anything that can be shipped. The Internet brands that win are the ones that make things more convenient. Google's easy search. Amazon's one-click purchase. eBay's ability to find almost anything.
It's not that brands don't mean anything anymore. It's that what makes a brand reliable and convenient has changed. As you think about how your business can adapt to digital marketing, think about whether you truly provide an experience that will make customers come back again and again. If you do, that's brand loyalty.
Originally posted on Biznology.
Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.
Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.
Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.
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