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By Associate Director Alexandra Hilker
Gaining and retaining consumer loyalty has never been more complex. Yet, many brands continue to keep product and brand development within their organizations. A brand’s future success may boil down to their whether or not they bring consumers into the fold, or at the very least, honor and understand their users’ true wants and needs.
It’s no surprise companies succeed when they seek to understand their customers and fail when they don’t. But more than just picking up chatter on social media, brands must become experts at active listening—thoughtfully paying attention and giving consideration to both their brand champions as well as their most ardent critics. Today’s leading brands don’t just collect consumer feedback, rather, they dig deeper to unearth insight.
At Egg Strategy, we design methodologies to meet consumers where they are. Within our tool box, co-creation methodologies emerge as a key way to bridge understanding to purposeful creation. We believe in the power of bringing communities together, exploring content, building product lines and expanding possibilities — together. Egg recently partnered with a global bottled water brand looking to launch an expanded offering in the natural space. In order to speak to natural shoppers’ wants and needs, the brand was challenged to redefine the product experience and create a more compelling proposition. By engaging consumers directly in co-creation, Egg provided a platform to test hypotheses, highlight relevance for the widest audience, and ultimately clarify the many roles the brand could play. Through direct consumer participation, we created a brand positioning that better fit their needs and positioned the brand for future growth.
Looking externally to the sphere of retail, ecommerce giant Revolve is another brand leveraging co-creation by working directly with influencers, including Revolve X Aimee Song. More than just taking advantage of Song’s 5.2 million Instagram followers, this represents a purposeful partnership aimed at better understanding what their customers want. By reaching out directly to Song’s followers, Revolve helped drive a breadth of objectives, capturing consumers’ preferences around fabric and pattern design, exploring inclusive sizing, affordability, and more. According to Song, “My followers are constantly asking me, What would you wear here? What would you wear to an event? It’s just so natural for me to constantly talk to them, giving me an idea of what my audience likes, what they respond to.”
Beyond co-creation, marketing and advertising strategies have the opportunity to hero the consumer experience and let their fans tell the story of the brand. Beauty brand Glossier has recently broken the testimonial mold. They’ve sidelined “influencers” and have instead cast their consumers as brand ambassadors. They treat their users as an intrinsic part of the brand, and find creative ways to reward them such as offering referral programs where they can share links with family and friends to earn a commission.
In a recent Glossier campaign, the brand broke new ground by unveiling a series of movie trailers that bring to life cultural nostalgia, product playfulness and performance—all told directly through the voice of the consumer. By leveraging their customer’s perspective through social media, testimonials and more, Glossier lets their community amplify the brand and tell an authentic story. As founder and CEO Emily Weiss affirms, “Something we’ve always stayed very true to since pre-launch, day one, is that every single person is an influencer.”
So how can brands take similar action to bring consumers into the fold? Technology can be one way to distill a volume of content into tangible next steps. Tapping into customer feedback and reviews gives brands one easy way adapt in real-time, with feedback that helps teams diagnose issues, probe for experience gaps, and discover untapped white space for innovation. But to lend trust and create experiences that matter, human expertise cannot be undermined. By actively listening, brands can work to understand the context of consumer voices, turning them into actionable insights.
At Egg, “People first” is the mantra that underpins our methodologies, helping clients actively listen by approaching every engagement with empathy. Ensuring the human element across both our qualitative and quantitative work gives our clients the actions and insights they need to take meaningful and informed next steps. Want to learn more? Let’s talk.