November 02, 2008

The purchase decision is a long journey – Stores are the last mile

A brand needs to own key touch-points along the way to make sure when the right time comes that consumers will consider it.

So which touch points are critical to the success trial?

Well if you are not in the market for a new TV, Seeing an advert about TV’s will only refresh your awareness of the existence of that brand, hopefully give it some profile and potentially escalate it to acceptance and maybe “top of Mind” status. If this is not refreshed regularly you are likely to forget again, and the money is pretty much wasted.

Companies need to invest wisely in all the steps of the chain. The critical ones being downstream, they are also the ones where the ROI is likely to be higher.

What a brand marketer wants to do is the following.
  • Establish awareness profile and acceptance of the brand as part of the consumer environment.

  • Win the hearts of the opinion leaders / those who will generate a recommendation – Mavens

  • Get people talking and particularly relay the words of Mavens. Create Buzz – Connectors

  • Get Sales people in store to recommend and talk up the brand in a consistent way to the brand image carried in all other brand communications. Consumers are more likely to buy in, if the experience is consistent to the one they’ve had when talking to their friends or researching the market.
To convert a brand from awareness to trial you will need to win the consumers at four main levels:

  • Establish brand acceptance at personal level (buyer has heard enough to find credible and accepts to consider – personal inner circle)

  • Get Short listed through research rounds (internet, media, reviews, trade – environment outer circle)

  • Get Validated by a closer circle (friends recommendations, trusted inner relationships circle)

  • Win the in-store recommendation (point of purchase – outer circle)

Money invested in building awareness and top of mind becomes wasted if when coming purchase time friends reveal to you that this is a problem brand (for example customer service issues) or if when you walk into a store the sales person diverts you to a competitor brand for x,y,z unforeseen reasons.

All the steps are critical. But the in-store experience can make or break your work.

Picture credits: BdR76

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