No, your customers don’t want a relationship with you

One of the biggest mistakes that most brands make is the belief that their customers want to have a relationship with them .  This is mule muffins.  People are too damn busy to have a relationship with Betty Crocker or Mr Peanut.

When I go to the grocery store I spend a lot of time watching people shop, something every marketer should do. They’ll read labels and compare products, but for the most part they could care less about most of the brands that go in their shopping carts.

Consumers do not want to have a conversation with your brand, or an “authentic relationship” with it, or co-create with it, or engage with it, or dance with it, or take a shower with it.  They want it to work well, taste good, be reasonably priced, and look pretty. End of story.

The point is this: our brands are very important to us marketers and very unimportant to most

consumers.

Is this true for all brands? Of course not.  People tend to be loyal to hard good brands IF their experiences were good.  I, for example, am very loyal to Trek bikes because over the years their products have not disappointed me, but to this day I will not purchase a Sony product because they are garbage and continually disappoint me.  However, 99.9% of the brands in the grocery store I could care less about and there isn’t one brand in my pantry I want to have a relationship with.

So why do so many brands believe that customers want to have a relationship with them?  Because they listen to the self promoting, book selling, consultants who first tried to tell us that we absolutely had to be on social media and now they are trying to tell us that mobile is essential to our digital strategy and that big data can help us get closer to customers.  That’s all garbage.

I have yet to see a woman in the store using her smartphone to check whether she should purchase Red Baron Pizza.  They’ll use them to talk or compare prices on a new TV, but in the grocery store the idea that people are going to use their smartphones as they traverse up and down the aisle is dumb.

You want brand loyalty? Sell people a product that is as advertised .  If, on TV, your frozen pizza has lots of cheese than it better have lots of cheese when I take it out of the oven.  Want to try sell your yogurt by suggesting it’s healthy?  Don’t put enough sugar in it to raise my glucose so I’m still hungry.

In the end, it’s still the product promise over the brand promise.

 

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