Why Your Brand Should Be “Predictable”
Ask any shopper about what keeps them coming back to a brand and, odds are, you’ll hear reports that they find comfort in a product or service that’s predictable.
Order and predictability are soothing qualities in a business, whereas chance and chaos — by their very definition — are not.
And the reason for the sense of relaxation predictability inspires?
Essentially, familiarity is born out of pattern recognition, a primal instinct that’s integral to how we learn and affects the way we see the world — and, ultimately, helps us make the decisions that shape our lives. Patterns even define what we think of as satisfying or beautiful and can change our emotions and our expectations. Their existence can therefore leave us with a feeling of order and, perhaps by extension, calm.
Most importantly for retail owners? Patterns can motivate our behavior in matters of business and finance.
Okay, but what does this mean for your brand?
Simply put, it means it’s crucial for your business that you understand the impact of pattern recognition because it invariably influences the ways in which people shop and the ways in which they consume and experience your goods and services.
Given today’s mad world of media distractions and the market’s dizzying array of product options, getting to know consumer behaviors and brand perceptions has never been more vital to the success of your business. Sadly, it’s also never been more difficult. Our current retail landscape sees business professionals poring over quintillion bytes of data each day (a mass of information that will only continue to expand with the growth of IoT) — all in an attempt to better comprehend the modern shopping phenomenon. Still, by harnessing the power of data research, you can begin to embed predictable patterns into your brand experience that can put customers at ease, make them happy, and earn their everlasting trust.
Here are three ways you can get started.
Create Consistent Messaging
Brands that continue to dominate market share decade after decade have done so by being consistent — and persistent — with their messaging.
But maintaining a continuous message doesn’t mean repeating yourself (just think of all the different ways Geico has been steadily peddling its story of ease and savings over the years). Instead of constantly reiterating your messaging, your brand communication strategy should act like a gyroscope: There should always be a core message at the center of your branding, but there should also be space to explore creative methods of spinning out that message across a variety of platforms (a topic I’ll cover in the near future).
A dependable narrative (with room for improvisation) can yield a messaging pattern that encourages customers to recollect your business in a favorable way…and also to help them recall why the heck they should buy from you.
Cultivate “Expected” Experiences
But no, I don’t mean, “be super obvious and boring.”
Your brand should create an experience for your customers that’s reliable and “excellent” (think Domino’s Carryout Insurance) but that also occasionally delights and surprises. Need an example? Look no further than those famous mouse ears. Disney’s great at doing both.
If we concede that our expectations influence our perception, form our attitudes, and shape our reality, we must also concede that setting clear expectations (and meeting them) is critical to the health of any relationship; even the relationship between a brand and its customers.
Consistently meeting people’s expectations demonstrates your reliability as well as your trustworthiness. Don’t just be good. Be unwaveringly good.
Identify Your Audience’s Patterns as Well as Your Own
Being a dependable resource is an important attribute when building customer experience. In addition, making your consumer base feel smart and in control is likewise a surefire way to win their attention and gain their trust.
And once people find a product they can count on that boosts their ego by implying they’ve got a fabulous consumer IQ, they generally tend not to look for a better option.
In order for your organization to provide a timely solution to whatever ails your customers, it’s key to have an understanding of where and when your consumers need you the most. (That’s when all that data I mentioned earlier comes in handy.)
Data gives you intimate insight into your customers’ research habits and shopping behavior. It also provides you with some important clues regarding which paths your consumers most often follow, the times they’re most likely to get frustrated, the times when they need the most help, and where exactly the best places are for you to reach out and message them in an organic fashion. By getting to your customers before they even know how badly they need you, you’ll help them feel they’ve gotten a jump on their problems, and most likely inspire them to stick with the company that gave them such emotional satisfaction.
From there, your brand can only hyper-grow.
Don’t Come Up Short
In summary: Consistency and predictability encourages familiarity, memorability, faith, and fidelity. Setting and meeting high expectations will benefit brands starting now… and will continue to reap rewards well into the future.