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Winning as a digital brand: six strategies to ensure your brand delivers across the consumer journey.

Digital technology has radically changed the way we shop; how we discover, purchase and communicate about products, brands and retail experiences.

To build stronger and more valuable consumer relationships, brands must now seamlessly integrate digital and offline channels (both owned and retail partner) and optimise across touchpoints based on a detailed understanding of key consumer journeys.

Here are six areas that brands and consumer goods organisations will need to address if they are to win in this environment:

1. Develop a deeper understanding of key consumer journeys

It is critical to gain an understanding of how and when different shoppers are interacting with the brand, at which touchpoints, and their needs at each stage of the journey. Journey mapping is not a new activity but, due to increasing omni-channel complexity, it is becoming ever more important to gain a deep understanding of the consumer, their motivations, expectations and sentiments across the journey and to use this to drive and prioritise activity.

Data is at the heart of understanding the consumer journey; it should be collected and shared across all known touchpoints then analysed to drive actionable insight about the strengths and weaknesses of the existing proposition, prioritise improvement activity and measure the impact of investment.

2. Engage with shoppers in the right channels and touchpoints

The way consumers interact with brands has changed and brand communications must transform to reflect this. Effective marketing is no longer simply about broadcasting messages, but about two way engagement – a conversation, in which the brand talks, listens and responds – building relationships with shoppers and organically transforming them into authentic brand advocates.

Selecting the right channels to start the conversation is key and many brands are switching spend from traditional to digital channels and programmatic marketing (tailoring messages to a particular individual, at a particular moment, in a specific context). Brands must understand where their target consumers are spending their time and which platforms they trust.

3. Become masters of content

Content is only successful if it is a useful and engaging part of the consumer journey, developed through an understanding of consumers’ needs. Whatever the touchpoint, the bandwidth of a consumer’s attention is limited; only content that is both consumed and absorbed can impact on behaviour.

Brands have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from retailers and marketplaces through the quality of their content. The best content is helpful, relevant, distinctive and credible, engaging consumers in dialogue that is tailored to their day-to-day experiences.

4. Deliver consistently across multiple channels

The brand experience must be consistent and connected across all touchpoints, from brand tone of voice (e.g. in social channels vs. brand website) to product information (e.g. imagery/product information on retailer/brand websites vs. in-store POS).

The consumer should be supported to move seamlessly across their journey, with digital collateral (e.g. brand website URL with a clear call to action, social links, QR codes) ensuring that they know where to go for their next brand interaction and how to get there quickly.

5. Re-organise and create partnerships

With the number of touchpoints growing, a consistent and seamless consumer journey will only be delivered when organisations are configured to work holistically across internal teams. Digital is a core capability that must be integrated across key functions, but this will only become real when sponsorship for digital initiatives starts at the C-suite.

Outside of their own organisations, digital has led to a blurring of the historic clear delineation of relationships between brands and retailers. To manage this new relationship, both parties must shift their mind-sets to a collaborative partnership with consumer centricity at its core.

6. Consider going direct to consumers (DTC)

A compelling DTC proposition must be carefully considered. Although launching a direct proposition can deliver clear brand benefits – enhanced reach,journey, access to consumer data, full control of the brand and retained margin – delivering a product direct to a shopper is costly and there needs to be sufficient margin to cover the operational costs involved.

DTC does not defy commercial or shopper logic; there must be a clear rationale for why a shopper would buy directly rather than as a wider basket purchase at a retailer.

Is your brand ready to win with digital?

Digital technology is creating opportunities for brands to develop a stronger relationship with consumers and to work more closely with retail partners to compete and win vs. competitors.

Brands must strategically transform and focus on the six areas outlined here and in our White Paper to develop a consumer centric approach to digital; ensuring that the focus of all activity is on what the consumer really wants and needs at each stage of their journey.

Through this understanding brands can develop leading propositions to drive customer loyalty and engagement, ultimately resulting in higher sales.

Is your brand ready to win at digital?

To read the full report and find out if your brand is ready to win at digital DOWNLOAD White Paper: Winning as a digital brand – Six key strategies to ensure your brand delivers across the consumer journey.