Getting your business ready for the Entrepreneurial Consumer

Pip Stocks

Pip is the founder of BrandHook, an award winning Keynote Speaker and Thought Leader. She has worked on both agency and client side having started her career in the UK in 1992. After working in agencies such as Saatchi’s and Grey Advertising in London running Global Proctor and Gamble business, she was appointed as marketing manager for a new Virgin launch, Virgin Energy, a Branson startup. Before starting BrandHook, Pip was the brand and communications strategy director at Carat, where she undertook extensive consumer insight, brand and communications planning for Cadbury Schweppes, Fonterra, Nintendo, Just Jeans, HBA and GlaxoSmithKline brands.

We all know the digital revolution has completely transformed the way consumers are interacting with brands, and that a lot of businesses are finding it hard to catch up.

One way to closing this brand gap is to understand consumer behaviour and build a brand experience that meets these new needs. But with consumers evolving and changing, how do you as the CMO, lead a team of marketers to make sense of the chaos of this new ‘path to purchase’?

At BrandHook, we encourage our clients to look for and get ready for a new emerging tribe we have coined The Entrepreneurial Consumer. Why? Because they are setting the tone for this new world.They are behaving in the way most consumers will in future and they are leaders among their peers.If you understand these consumers, you will be able to build a customer experience for them and build a powerful brand experience.

Sometimes called Presumers or Prosumers, we are seeing this entrepreneurial behaviour sit mostly among Mums and Millennials but how do you recognise them? Look out for these four behaviours:

  1. As expected, they are super connected. The Entrepreneurial Consumer is ‘publishing’ their own content daily, which makes them highly influential with their peers. They are researching, browsing, chatting, watching and sharing memories, stories, photos and opinions on a variety of brands and topics. There is tribe identified through KRC Research in the US called Millennial Mums, who each have an average of 3.4 social network accounts, compared to the 2.6 accounts the average mum has, while also spending 17.4 hours per week on those sites, almost four hours more than the average mum.
  2. A new type of convenience is expected from the Entrepreneurial Consumer, who wants brands to fulfil their needs quickly. This cohort is always chasing more time and they want real time interaction and in fact, want brands to predict their wants. Kissmetrics.com reports that in the US, 40 per cent of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load and a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7 per cent reduction in conversions.
  3. Another behaviour linked to the time poor perception is that the Entrepreneurial Consumer has very little patience for a not-so-perfect customer experience. This year’s McKinsey’s Customer Experience Study shows 25 per cent of everyday customers will deflect after just one bad brand experience. From what we have seen with this Entrepreneurial tribe, this figure is much higher.
  4. Finally, The Entrepreneurial Consumer loves a brand. They love a brand like we loved brands in the old days. But this time they love a brand because if it is true to its essence, it will solve problems for them and support their own values. According to the Havas Prosumer report in January this year, 84 per cent of Prosumers believe brands have a responsibility to do more than just generate a profit.

Not only are they spending more hours online than other consumers, this also drives them to adapt to new technologies quicker than others. Augmented reality, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and robotics – all an essential part of the ‘connected home’ we keep hearing about – will be adopted by this crowd earlier than others because it gives them more stories to share.

The success of subscription models, crowdsourcing delivery methods, new distribution channels are delivering convenience and a better experience for this tribe.They love the new and shiny especially if it makes their lives easier.

To battle this, brands need to deliver effortless experiences, personalisation to engage and solve their consumers’ problems.

Entrepreneurial Consumers are looking for brands to stand for something bigger than product benefits. They want brands to bring a point of view to something, have a clear purpose and take action to make an impact. Globescan conducted a study this year with what they call Aspirational Consumers (attitudinally and demographically the same as Entrepreneurial Consumer) and found that nearly six in ten globally say they “trust global companies to act in the best interest of society” (58 per cent), compared with 48 per cent of all consumers.

Attracting the Entrepreneurial Consumer

Helping The Entrepreneurial Consumer continue to be superconnected through the utilisation of new technology is a key to success. Toyota, for example, announced at CES this year that it was spending more time on developing artificial intelligence that can help cars communicate with each other without human interaction. The intention is to make cars more about joy and convenience than simply just getting from A to B.

Shopping centres all around the world are revamping their malls to include lots of smart technology to help the shopper keep connected to price options whilst browsing. But the clever retailers are also helping customers share pictures of new items, look up product information and download vouchers for immediate use.

Shaftsbury is using iBeacon technology to provide retailers with data such as the number of people who pass by their shop versus the number who go in to check it out. Slyce, a Canadian-based company, provides consumers with a convenient way to purchase. Just take a picture of a product in a store, and its visual product search technology will allow you to immediately purchase that item from your smartphone.

One very smart way to offer your Entreprenurial Consumer convenience is deliver your service in real time. Domino’s Pizza continues to deliver to customers’ needs, with new innovations such as voice order using the Siri-like app Dom, tweeting or texting the pizza emoji, and while driving home in a compatible Ford. After ordering, consumers can track their pizza’s arrival time via the Domino’s smartwatch app.

Porter & Sail, a new luxury hotel concierge, allows you through their app, check into your hotel from wherever you are, make dinner reservations, map your travel plans and share photos and experiences.

The ultimate convenience is having your ideal wardrobe come to you. May 2015 saw Antwerp’s Hotel Banks unveil the Mini Fashion Bar. Linked to the fashion capitals around the world and in partnership with French fashion brand, Pimkie, hotel rooms are stocked with a range of apparel and accessories, chosen according to the weather and activities in the local area. Guests could use clothes from the fashion bar and purchase items upon checkout. A dedicated fashion concierge could be contacted for additional sizes or different garments.

Another challenge marketers are struggling with is to build that perfect and effortless customers experience, something that again can be tackled through technology. An example is Suncorp Insurance, which has established a partnership with Trōv in the Australian market. Trōv is an app that allows you to keep a record of all your possessions and their value. The ultimate goal for Suncorp was to find a way for customers to upload their belongings and keep a summary of the value which traditionally has been a laborious and time consuming task.

Building proper personalisation is another way of delivering an experience that people want. The Witchery business has implemented a great program – after you buy your item from a store, you receive an email that says thank you for your purchase and a summary of other items that go with it.

Branding with purpose

Another big shift is in consumers’ expectations of brands and their values. The Entrepreneurial Consumer is spending more of their money with brands that share their vision.

TOMS shoes originated from the 'One for One' business model. This means that with every consumer purchase, a person in need is provided with a pair of shoes. In the 10 years since the company began, TOMS has given away almost 50 million shoes, and has since started the same initiative for eyewear, water and safe birth.

Patagonia, the upmarket outdoor clothing company preaches the value of the simple life, and takes a stand against conspicuous consumption by urging us to consume less. Far beyond a genius marketing ploy, the company walks the walk by offering a repair service for its clothing and by providing a platform for its customers to re-sell their Patagonia goods on Patagonia.com or eBay. In a world that screams at us to consume more, Patagonia’s stance is a breath of fresh air.

Social Feed in South Africa is satisfying the push for responsible business by allowing brands to buy media and if shared by the consumer, they will send a meal to a child in need. Brands sign up for Social Feed and post advertisements or content they’d like shared. Consumers then post pieces of content they like to their social networks, and for each share they complete, a meal goes to a child in need. The more shares a brand gets, the more meals distributed.

What all of this is telling us is that marketing departments need to think differently about how they keep ahead of a consumer who is already behaving quite differently to the way their brands are delivering their service. Start by identifying your Entrepreneurial Consumer, work collaboratively with all your agencies and invest in a real insight and innovation program to develop a new brand experience.

Tags: digital marketing, customer engagement, brand strategy, consumer engagement

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