Marketers constantly grapple with two major challenges: how to deal with new trends, and how to effectively influence brand choice. One of the most rapid and effective ways of doing this is simply just going out and talking to consumers. A recent man-on-the-street exploratory discovered three intriguing takeaways that reveal a noticeable shift from emotional drivers, as prime influencers, to drivers that are more functional and fact-based. The following examines the three top trends that are now influencing brand choice.
Trend #1: Peer-to-peer remains a driving factor behind brand choice
We all know that brand content is a major catalyst in marketing and is consumed in mass quantities. What’s surprising is that P2P or simple word of mouth consistently emerged up as a primary driver of brand choice and influence. Perhaps this shouldn’t be such a surprise. The reality is, who do you trust more than your network of friends, and where else can you get a more honest, organic point of view? What this means is that there must be greater focus on evangelizing brands most loyal customers as part of any serious marketing effort.
Trend #2: Quality—not just Image—can influence both brand choice…and brand abandonment
In our fast-paced, “everything is disposable” society, one would assume that products themselves would deliver just that—a quick fix of immediately disposable satisfaction. But the truth is, brand selection and abandonment are driven by factors grounded in the old-fashioned ethic of “quality.” Buy less…but buy better. This principle trumps almost everything else, including cost, innovation and perception. Consumers are demanding that we live up to a very high bar. Because one bad experience can result in complete brand abandonment.
Trend #3: Imagery is the most powerful social component of all
Over an intensely short period of time, we’ve witnessed a lightning transition from websites to 1,000-word blogs to unlimited posts to 140-letter tweets, and now to visual sharing. It’s no surprise that social sites like Pinterest (2nd largest driver of Internet traffic) and Instagram have completely exploded, and that YouTube has grown into the 2nd largest search engine on the planet. Consumers still engage with “talk” and they’re still willing to “read” about brands, but more and more, they require visual content as the essential tool in determining brand and product choice. This shift offers brands a tremendous opportunity to utilize images, photos and videos as a means to galvanize greater interest and engagement. It’s apparent that the old saying has proven markedly true: a picture is truly worth a thousand words.