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Opinion Piece

Living true – or how to align your brand’s message and customers’ expectations

“Give me one good reason to buy this, and I’ll turn into a brand advocate”.

You might not hear those words as you work on your daily tasks, but this is what people are saying every time they interact with your brand. When they come across one of your posts on social media, when they spot your product on a shelf, all the time.

Customer expectations have never been so high, and they’ve never been as able to make out which brands live true vs. the ones that are just selling them a shiny message.

So, are your brand message and customer expectations aligned or is it time to think of a new way of communicating with your audience?

 

Understanding your brand message

  • What is your edge?
  • How are you perceived?
  • What is your story?
  • What is your raison d’être?
  • What does your target audience expect from you?

You might tend to forget that last one, but it is the keystone of a successful brand journey.

Take Victoria’s Secret for example. When the industry shifted from sexy to empowering, the lingerie giant wasn’t in line with customer expectation anymore and suffered from the shifting brand perception. It thus reacted by creating a new brand DNA, diversifying its product offering and replacing its famous Angels with seven influential and powerful women working for gender equality and better representation. “Why?”, you might ask. Because in today’s day and age of diversity and empowerment, its previous message fell flat and felt outdated.

And even household names can’t pay the price of irrelevance.

 

Living true to the brand message

For brand positioning to sound right, it needs to start from within. Although ads, packaging, and social media posts play a part in external brand alignment, they will just ring false if not accompanied by a solid brand strategy and real consistency across the board.

What resonated with customers in the 60s, or even in the early 2010s, is not relevant to today’s audience. With modern customers shopping with their hearts and convictions, this plays a crucial part in standing out and anchoring one’s brand in their list of preferences.

Hence the importance of a true connection

 

Turning brand alignment into actions

Talking the talk is great, but how can you actually walk the walk?

While it’s true that each brand and industry has its specificities, here’s a good place to start closing the gap between your brand message and customer expectations:

  • Get to know your audience.
  • Speak your audience’s language.
  • Tailor messages and experiences.
  • Keep pace with evolving needs.
  • Stay consistent and relevant.
  • Listen to customer feedback.
  • Spot potential market disrupters.

 

Need a more concrete example? We’ll give you one of our very own brand repositioning success stories.

For the longest time in the GCC, Quaker Oats was synonymous with Ramadan’s traditional soup. It was about time the brand reassessed its positioning and spoke to a wider audience. And the best part was that they had the entire SKU line needed to cater to everyone’s preferences and lifestyles.

It was all about adjusting the brand message, reinventing the brand story, and making it relevant to its audience. We developed specific personas, chosen a cast that represented them, and developed content that was most relevant to each. And that was just the tip of the iceberg that turned Quaker into everyone’s go-to for wholesome goodness. You can check out the full case study here  

Even before the pandemic, brands banked on reinvention to keep their target audience coming back for more. Post-Covid, agility has become the new norm and brands are expected to address customer needs in real time. This kind of work is not done overnight. It’s not guesswork either. But understanding value the way it is perceived by customers constitutes the first step towards creating an emotional bond with them. Do it and your brand will gain an edge over your industry’s most established companies.

More to see
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