Internet has changed how consumers engage with brands. Its disrupting how new age consumers engage with brands today. Old ways of doing business are obsolete and unsustainable.
I purchased my first car 1.5 years back and I will try to explain how it was different from the time my dad bought his first car some 8 years back.“Consumer decision journey” is for real and incredibly impacting the buying patterns among the consumers.
My dad had a budget and set of needs he wanted his car to fulfill, pretty simple, huh. He discussed the same with his peers, they shared their reviews and he zeroed on the car. He looked for a dealer, called him, asked for quotation. One fine day went to the dealership and after necessary paperwork drove away with the car.
Circa late 2014 or early 2013, I made up my mind about buying a car. Instead of asking my friends I straight away logged on to the internet. It became a routine; I would spend a considerable amount of time looking at reviews and recommendations on the internet. It went on for about 5 months and I did my part of research all on the internet, doing comparisons, looking for quotes, reading reviews from new owners and old owners. Yes 5 freaking months on the internet for buying a car, most of the people would not go that far but my point is, new age digital era consumers do spend considerable time on internet before buying.
My whole point is, “They connect with myriad brands—through new media channels beyond the manufacturer’s and the retailer’s control or even knowledge—and evaluate a shifting array of them, often expanding the pool before narrowing it. After a purchase these consumers may remain aggressively engaged, publicly promoting or assailing the products they’ve bought, collaborating in the brands’ development, and challenging and shaping their meaning.”
It has become very important to understand when and how to influence your consumer. It’s very important to figure out at what point your consumer is most open to influence and strategically targeting them then and there. Test drives were not that common when my dad bought his car. Now days it’s absolutely must,but more than that a consumer buying a car is also concerned about the post ownership experience, and I think internet is the only channel which currently caters to this aspect of branding. It becomes absolutely important for the manufacturer to be conscious of this. Hence branding should not only target presales but it becomes absolutely important that the consumers are looked after well post sales.
In this era of digital disruption it’s very important for manufactures, sellers, entrepreneurs to understand and realize before it’s too late in the game that their branding strategy has to go digital. It’s advisable to rope in a strategic partner who understands the nuances of digital age branding and work collaboratively with them to make the most of internet.