5 minutes

Brand Relevance: A Global Challenge in the Age of the Empowered Consumer

In a world where consumers have an infinite amount of choices, how do global brands stay relevant?

The modern consumer expects brands to provide a valuable experience and understand them as an individual. However, today consumers have hundreds of channels, media choices, and products to choose from and evaluate. Not to mention, new agile brands can be created and grow faster globally than ever before. In these conditions, how can global brands identify consumer interests, and their changes over time, to ensure they stay relevant?

Relevance requires alignment

Brands earn relevance when all touchpoints of the customer journey align with the interests and passions of the target consumer. Every marketing touchpoint – from branded content, paid media, influencer selection, event sponsorship, to PR – must align with the ever-changing cultural interests of the target consumer.

When a brand aligns with the interests and passions of an audience, magic happens. The brand not only delights their target consumer but it develops trust, increases customer loyalty, drives earned engagements, increases share of wallet, and ultimately improves its bottom line.
However, too few brands are getting it right. Understanding the shifts in consumer interests and behaviors at the “speed of culture” is even more challenging for global brands selling across multiple geographic locations, cultures, and personas.

Global brands aren’t achieving relevance

Consumer data is expanding at an exponential rate. However, even the most sophisticated global brands are challenged to leverage this data in a scalable, predictable and repeatable fashion.

In an attempt to earn relevance, global brands are leveraging a multitude of research methods, datasets, and tools to try to understand their consumers. Billions continue to be spent on traditional quantitative research methods including surveys and panels. However, these strategies lack speed and can miss rapid emerging trends. In recent years we’ve seen worldwide brands, like General Mills, hire hundreds of data scientists in an to attempt to analyze and make sense of their growing consumer data sets. Unfortunately, this model isn’t scalable nor feasible for many organizations.

Too often brands are forced to develop over-simplified segments and personas based on statistically insignificant sample size, single attributes, and basic demographics because they have no other alternative. However, these simplified approaches cannot paint a holistic picture of the target consumer. Above all, these methods often lack the actionable behavioral insights that brands need to earn relevance – the interests, hobbies, and relationships of the consumer.

Shifting the focus to behavioral data

A lack of consumer data is not the problem. As shared by David Boyle, the VP of Strategy and Insight, Masterclass, Inc., “companies are swimming in data. Data is everywhere.” What poses a problem is sifting through the all this data, and discovering the right behavioral signals.

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From what we buy, what we watch, what websites we visit, to what posts we like and share with our friends – we leave rich behavioral signals everywhere. There are so many behavioral signals that companies simply cannot keep up and don’t know how or what data to dig into for insights.

A Forrester survey revealed that technology execs and decision-makers estimated they are only analyzing approximately 12% of the data they have. What remains in the untouched 88% is a wealth of consumer behavioral data points waiting to be leveraged.

It’s all in the graph

Fundamentally, the way we process and analyze this data has to change. We need a paradigm shift. We need to move away from simple queries and rudimentary linear models to a data model that is suitable to scale and analyze the connections across all consumer behavioral data. Real insights don’t come from isolated data sets, rather understanding the complex interconnections of these data sets. That’s graph analytics and it is the future of consumer insights.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of the “social graph” – the connections of people to one another. By definition, a graph is a mathematical model made up of “nodes” and “edges.” Graph technology can be applied to any connected data set. In fact, each of us is “connected” to our consumer behaviour data which ultimately creates a massive graph that represent our true interests and passions – including what we purchase, what media we consume, where we shop online and offline, what we like and share on social, what activities we participate in, and more. The only way for global brands to leverage all of this data is through graph analytics from which real insights are derived. When we can understand the connections of all these data points together, then we can understand the real consumer.

At Affinio, we know that graph technology will change the way global brands conduct market research and generate consumer insights forever… Our technology is able to ingest, cluster, and visualize multidimensional consumer data sets across social, digital, mobile and transactions. Using this approach, global brands can leverage all data to better understand its consumers like never before. [You can learn more here]

In essence, our graph technology allows us to reveal hidden insights at the speed, scale, and quality needed to understand, and market to, real people. Affinio elicits the most important and vital consumer insights needed to earn relevance – from what brands your target consumers care about, to what media they consume, and their unique interests.

Brands earn and build relevance when they connect all the dots – when they understand every touchpoint of the customer journey, their behavioral signals, and how they accumulate and relate to each other. With this understanding, global brands have the power to create branded content, influencer selection, event sponsorship, and more that are intricately woven into the interest of their target consumer.

That is how global brand relevance is achieved. That is when magic happens. That is the power of Affinio.

To learn more about our approach, visit www.affinio.com

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