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Always Know the Customer
By: Casey Schoelen
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Every strong brand does at least one thing really well: gets to know the customer. Understanding the audience is about knowing their likes, their dislikes, their needs, and their wants. Having in-depth knowledge of what is important to that customer becomes the foundation of the relationship between them and the brand. It’s imperative to have a solid foundation because in the event that relationship is damaged, the saving grace is loyalty and respect for how well the brand has treated the customer in the past. But before loyalty, there has to be understanding.
For example, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise teamed up with its agency Ogilvy Brazil this past May to bring an added value to customers in grocery stores. If a shopper purchased Hellmann’s, the register then used other items purchased and printed a recipe incorporating those items onto the receipt. This extra benefit was well received by customers and resulted in a 44% increase in sales the first three months.
It’s time brands leveraged data available to them to better bring value to the customer. It’s 2012, practically 2013, and the competition for consumers’ dollars is fierce. In a tough economy, consumers are more price-sensitive and retailers have to stay competitive to even have a shot at market share. This also means consumers have choices and options for how they get their products. If a retailer wants to draw them in, there has to be a benefit, be it sales events, price points, gifts with purchase, or bonus buys. Brands need to understand what attracts consumers and what is relevant to them. Once that understanding is reached, consumers will be loyal shoppers.
Sephora’s Beauty Insider is another great example. This loyalty reward program rewards consumers in quick and easy ways. They earn points by shopping in the store or online and receive a point for every dollar they spend. Once they reach a certain level of rewards points, they are able to have their choice of a rewards product. This is great to give consumers the option of their reward. They get to decide what is relevant to them or what product they want to try. It’s a rewards program that is relevant and personalized for all consumers and therefore drives loyalty and keeps them coming back for their cosmetic needs. It shows they understand that each member of their target audience is different. They have different tastes, different styles, and different skin tones. Leveraging that knowledge to develop a real rewards program that customers value creates a strong relationship between brand and consumer.

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About the Author
Casey Schoelen is a young millennial excited and passionate about branding, advertising, and marketing. She is also a Nashville-native who loves traveling, reading the NYT, and watching sports.
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