INSIGHT: Reclaiming Brand Value in Post Recession Retailing Part 1
With the recession influencing spending, customer behaviors have shifted toward cost efficiencies. American values are now the new black. Does that mean we're going to start churning our own butter or getting up at 4AM to milk a cow so we can have milk with our cereal? Not likely. I don't know about you, but I cherish my sleep, and I don't consider milking a cow enjoyable, let alone very innovative.
Breakfast aside, how do retailers react to consumers' modified spending behavior? How do they rebuild brand margins after years of multilayered discounting?
There are brand-defining customer codes that provide the foundation for identifying and communicating to the post-recession shopper. If a retailer is able to crack these codes, they'll reignite old relationships within the new rules of customer engagement.
In our two-part series, we will discuss four of these customer codes that you can use to elevate your brand value.
Equation Code: The Brand Has Value Because the Value Is Real
Real value is based on facts. It means that there is something so special, so unmistakable, and so unique about your product or service that others simply can't make the same claim. In other words, it has a demonstrable advantage. The days of the customer assuming that your brand has a better quality or value based on reputation alone are over. In the post-recession world, your brand will have to work much, much harder to re-prove and re-demonstrate its value to the consumer.
So how do you do that? By showing and telling me the value. As a retailer or a brand, you can't expect to charge your customer more for a product or service unless you demonstrate the value. You'll need to call out details about your product or service overtly and repeatedly at every touchpoint where I come in contact with your brand. If I stop and recognize and truly understand how your product can be beneficial to me, I am more likely to spend more for your product.
But if your product isn't actually better, then you'll need to make it FEEL better.
Sensation Code: The Brand Has Value Because I Feel the Value
As a customer, I can only feel your brand's value if you evoke emotion within me. The best way for a brand or retailer to create emotion with your product is through clever staging. Staged sets evoke and suggest substance that isn't actually there and help to create an ambiance. You'll need to make your retail environment work as theatre to create this mood inside your store. Does that mean that you have to tear down the store and start from scratch? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Consider the store, the department, the aisle, the section, the endcap, or the shelf as your stage. Your visual merchandising serves as your scenery and your product is the star. Allow your customer to be your audience, so that they feel and sense something. Stage your product so that it excites and appeals to their emotions so they want to come back for more. When your customer feels or senses the value through staging, they'll be more likely to pay more for your product.
For more retail perspectives, please contact JP Terlizzi.