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Report Shows Divide Between Brands and Consumers
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The way brands connect with consumers is important. As we've mentioned before, using an integrated method in order to reach all your potential and current customers can help brands stay in touch, discover problems, and curate a positive and satisfying experience.

Based on what we've been reading, many brands and professionals know that already. However, based on a new report released by IBM with help from eConsultancy, the methods brands are carrying out are far from satisfactory.

Yes, IBM's report, titled "Listening to the Customer: 7 New Research Findings," highlights discrepancies in how brands perceive their outreach, and how customers really think of them. The results are pretty alarming.

For example, 69% of brands surveyed believe they offer a superior online experience, while 51% of consumers who left a brand stated that their exit was because of a poor online experience; 81% of brands surveyed think they have a well-rounded understanding of their customers, when only 37% of customers believe their favorite brand understands them.

As you read the paper and look at the infographic, it is quite easy to be whipped up into a fury and declare that brands have no idea what they're doing.

In truth, there are more trial-and-error campaigns going on than brands want to admit; that's okay. But we are assuming way too much when it comes to the customer. In our studies of consumer behavior and behavioral economics, we can't help but ask if the consumer really knows what is good for them. What if they walked away from a "bad" experience, when — in reality — it wasn't bad at all? Yes, the report does highlight that this data is based on what consumers "perceive," and unfortunately what is perceived can quickly be misconstrued as truth. We must take a step back and study how knowledgeable the customer is, and, based on their previous experiences, whether we can really take their opinions to heart. 

If brands are going to invest some serious resources into creating a worthwhile experience, we must make sure the consumer really knows what they are doing.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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