Is data the solution or the problem? To connect to consumers, establish a collaborative relationship first

Chris Heile

Chief Strategy Officer

Thursday, November 30, 2017

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There’s little question that technology has changed the entire dynamic of the marketing industry. The influx of data, along with behavioral retargeting, has allowed brands to communicate a desired message to a desired audience with extreme precision. What isn’t so clear is the impact these changes have had on the relationship between brands and their consumers. In fact, what once looked like the opening of the floodgate of opportunity is actually leading to the rapid erosion of brand value.

The branding industry has evolved from “target marketing” to what essentially qualifies as high-level engineering. This should mean that brands are more relevant and therefore more valued by consumers than ever. Yet every day, we see iconic brands like GM, Macy’s, Budweiser, Walmart and so many others continue to lose ground. Why isn’t all this data making brands better?

The reason is that while technology has changed the dynamic for brands, it’s also dramatically changed what consumers are looking for.

On one side are consumers who now have an abundance of choice. Every conceivable option to fill every conceivable need is sitting in front of them 24/7. This abundance means consumers are constantly confronted with an endless stream of new choices. They have the luxury of sitting back and finding companies, brands and products that align with their beliefs and interests. They seek the brands they identify with, rather than the best available, or the “known” brand.

On the other side are the engineered brands. These brands have become so removed from their consumers—objectifying them as segments and insights and opportunities—that there is nothing there for consumers to believe in. The result is that they have become more transactional and antiseptic in a world where consumers are making choices based on feelings and personal beliefs. Brands are struggling because there is little about these companies, their people and their views for consumers to connect with.

But this isn’t the beginning of the end for brands. Not by a long shot. When I think about how many brands in my own life that I feel a true connection with—brands like Netflix, Yeti, Apple, Fitbit and Sonos—I see brands that are as passionate about their interests as I am.

The businesses that are winning in this environment all have unique relationships with their consumers. A relationship we at Intrinzic call a Collaborative. This is a space where brands and their consumers support and share their common interests. These brands know—and clearly express—exactly who they are. And their leaders, culture and people are driven to inspire the interests and passions they share with their consumers.

This requires a very different way of thinking, not just about your brand, but more importantly about the culture that’s driving your organization. You can no longer simply pander to consumer interests, you have to align your entire organization around them, innovate around them, hire your people around them, and ultimately inspire an entire marketplace around them.

Is your brand authentically collaborating with consumers? Is data giving you everything you need to effectively connect? At Intrinzic we can help you thrive in today’s marketplace with a brand that’s built on the true passions and characteristics of your organization—the attributes that will inspire consumers to seek out a relationship with you.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

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