brand new friend?

A recent survey of over 2,800 U.S. consumers underscored the important role that brands play in our lives and the emotional engagement that we often feel.

More than half of the respondents said they would be “devastated” if their favorite brand went away. Not just annoyed or disappointed, but actually devastated. It’s interesting to think about what a brand is doing to develop such a deep and meaningful relationship with its consumer. Results like these are obviously nectar to the brands that would be sorely missed, but for every cherished brand there is a host of others that would love to be our best friend, but just don’t know how to go about it.

Currently, the retail world is undergoing a fundamental transformation: consumers are hyper-connected, expectations are sky-high, marketing fatigue is just another pop up ad away. The connected consumer can be fickle, treats your store like a showroom, and, thanks to social media, pays more attention to a friend’s experiences than to your promotional gambits. It’s no surprise then that traditional business models are rapidly becoming extinct, and that the relationship between retailers and consumers is shifting dramatically not day by day, but minute by minute. So, how can retailers understand, let alone keep up with this pace? Simple, they are turning to experts in other fields to help them out. One thing that is being considered is Neurological Connectivity – creating an addictive, irresistible shopping experience, from pre-shopping anticipation to consumption. Experts have determined that a brand or store has a neurological connection with customers if they approach the store visit as they would a visit to the home of a good friend. The trip requires almost no perceivable effort, because they know it is going to be a fun and enjoyable experience.

Basically, using research in this way is all part of the Holy Grail of attracting and keeping customers and increasing brand loyalty. As the emotional connection stakes are raised I predict there will be even more talk in 2014 of retail brands as ‘friends’.

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