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Brands in Motion: Find Your Momentum

6/7/2017
— Melissa Waggener Zorkin 

 

Autonomous driving. Paying your bills with facial recognition. Spray-on touch screens. The 360-degree selfie. Welcome to … well … the future. The visionary buzz of technology can be heard everywhere — from your morning commute to the satellites in space. From TV series like “Black Mirror” predicting a not-so-far-off future where everyone you come into contact with gets a rating to Spotify customizing your break-up playlist, the future truly is now.

But parallel to the rise of these technological wonders is customer expectation. And with consumers having more choices than ever, brands must stay agile and rise to the occasion. They have to let go of the age-old adage of brand positioning, and shift into a constant state of motion that will keep them successful and relevant. So, how do brands embrace this new evolution? Cue the Brands in Motion theme song ...

Brands in Motion is a WE Communications study conducted in partnership with YouGov (part of our shiny, new PLUS Network!) across China, the U.S. and U.K. that uncovers how technology has amplified the impact of traditional environmental factors on brands. It dives deep to examine the rational and emotional drivers that motivate customer choices — to ultimately better understand which factors are driving brands forward, sending them backward or leaving them spinning in place.

After sifting through all of the data, we pinpointed four critical realities that all brands can consider when it comes to strategizing and ideating:

  1. Stability is an element of motion. The world has definitely seen its share of environmental upheaval — whether political, economic or social — but even in times of uncertainty, there are a vast number of consumers that believe brands are capable of providing stability in the midst of so much chaos. The ask has been made. Brands can choose to ignore or step up to offer new value to customers.
  2. Cutting edge is transcendent. We found a high correlation between brands that are viewed as cutting edge and brands that are loved (versus hated), are seen as having a positive social impact, and are overall pleasant to work with. So, it’s not just about the cool techie product that the brand puts out, but rather the good juju. Kumbaya, anyone?
  3. The Unilever Effect. Across all three markets, half or more of surveyed consumers said they placed a balance on premium brands delivering not only highly effective, high-functional benefit products and services but also taking an active position on issues that provide long-term social value. This unique effect pioneered by Paul Polman at Unilever more than a decade ago is becoming increasingly important for customers when making purchase decisions and more critical for brands to stand up if things are happening in direct conflict with their core values as an organization. So in other words, you gotta fight for your right to party — AND for your company’s core values.
  4. Love Today, Shame Tomorrow. Even when there is tremendous love and admiration for a brand or a company, more than 90 percent of respondents said they still won’t hesitate to join in the public shaming of an industry if it stepped out of line. Quelle surprise! The public doesn’t have your back? Heck no. They’ll run toward the pitchforks faster than a Kardashian running toward a selfie stick. It’s imperative that brands and industries stay on their toes and are prepared for the response if things go sideways.

So, what does all this mean for you? It’s about harnessing this expansive knowledge and bringing laser focus that turns the motion into positive momentum for brands. Think of this study as a road map that can help brands navigate marketing and communications decisions through a rapidly accelerating market. This is what sets WE apart. Not only can we offer transformative strategy, but we’ll show the numbers to back it up. We can partner and plot a course for forward trajectory. We can find your momentum.

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