Changing perspectives in a world without barriers
For the past hundred years of marketing, we’ve pretty much been looking backwards trying to piece together an incomplete view of how markets and consumers behave in order to better understand and better serve their needs. We use a plethora of discrete and disconnected data points, from surveys and focus groups to demographics and buying patterns to understand consumer behaviour. But, for the most part, we're still guessing.
The proof of that guessing game is evident in how difficult it has been for large incumbent organisations to innovate. After all, if incumbents knew their markets well enough they would always have the upper hand. Yet, we know that's not the way innovation works. If it did, Sony would own the iPod and Motorola the iPhone. But much of how innovation is done is about to change from a guessing game to a science.
Are you a loyal brand?
Digital Anthropology is the science of filling in the blanks by using our digital footprints to chart the most detailed, intimate, and real-time aspects of our behaviours.
Companies who are doing this well aren't limited to the tech social media giants such as Facebook and Google, but include Lowes, GM (through OnStar), Apple through its iPhone, Bloomingdale's and Brookstone.
The end game for these companies is to create a ‘Loyal Brand’ that understands you in ways that you do not even fully understand yourself – allowing them to predict your buying behaviours and personal interests with uncanny precision.
From understanding consumer to understanding the relationship
I think the most important question for brands to answer is: “what service does the user/consumer hire my company/brand for”. This is a really significant jump from the belief that “user/consumers buy our products or services because we have the best or the most value for money ones” to “I serve my consumers for the purpose they hired me for”.
So, as Vision Mobile outlines in the graphic below, we observe a shift from an inside-out thinking and competition to an outside-in thinking and approach.
We see that competition barriers or industries are cannibalised because of the new relationship consumers have with technology. In our times, technology and the relationship we have with it is 100% redefined and re-established.
We hire a brand for completely different reasons, reasons that, most of the time, are not relevant to specs or impressive quality numbers but based on the brand personality and how this is well connected to our beliefs and values and fulfil our expectations.
So the answer to that all-important question can’t be answered with numbers or specs, but with logical answers to each element of the brand experience and how this fulfills consumers’ expectations and needs.
Moreover, the brand area blurring is followed by the typical brand touch-points blurring. Mobility redefines the relationship people have with technology and how they experience the brands but also, reshapes our demands or the reasons which drives us to select a brand to do the service we want to, or to deliver a result we expect to.