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Part 2 -Great brands compete for your time, not your money

For part 1 – click here.

…3 strategies that successful brands and disruptors employ…

#2 Re-think who your competition is

Jagger knows everyone’s desire: “You’re searching for good times.” Nielsen reports the average American adult spends 11 hours a day with electronic media. eMarketeer reports we are watching over 5.5 hours of video each day.

As Fischman from Rue La La shared, brands are not only competing against other retailers, they’re competing for attention against media companies. The imperative is to be present as a brand where the consumer spends their time.

It starts with extremely effective, creative digital advertising or guerilla marketing via social channels such as ‘The man your man could smell like’ by P&G’s Old Spice, or Dove’s ‘campaign for real beauty’.

User-generated content plays a vital role. According to Bazaar Voice, 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want more options to share their opinions about brands, and studies show consumers trust user generated content more than all other forms of media. Well-known examples are Lay’s Do Us a Flavor campaign, and Burberry’s Art of the Trench.

Gamification helped The Home Shopping Network register more than 700,000 shoppers with HSN Arcade. L Brands’ Pink Nation, offers in-app games such as Pink-O to deliver exclusives, prizes and other incentives.

Yet brands need to look beyond advertising and games.

Another mechanism is to connect inspiration to purchase, or rather connect purchase to inspiration. Home Depot publishes projects for building a shed, or a bathroom make-over. Jo-Ann fabric and craft stores does so too. NTUC Fairprice, Singapore’s largest food retailer, owns cooking channel Foodforlifetv.

Still, it can go further. The first brand that springs to mind is Lego. Consider the success of their movies, games and apps and the multitude of ways the brand is interactive with the Lego fans and brand ambassadors beyond the physical bricks.

Last year Disney announced a telling restructure, combining their toys and video games divisions “The new structure is designed to share technological expertise and maximize opportunities and efficiencies across two divisions that have increasingly become focused on similar objectives of delivering cutting-edge, interactive consumer experiences and products”.

Retailers and Brands can take a leaf out of NHL’s book with their Brand to Fan initiative. NHL partnered with SAP to offer player, team and game stats and insights that will help avid fans go deeper and help casual fans understand the game better.

Brands and retailers need to change their paradigm. Many associate omni-channel with selling; great brands associate it with a richer customer experience, and near limitless potential to expand their experience signature –especially in digital media where consumers spend the bulk of their time – and grab a larger share of life.

#3 Move to Products-with-a-Service

Millennials tend to be more experience-focused than preceding generations, and as a society we seem to be beyond ‘peak stuff’. How are brands making the shift to the Experience Economy?

Brands and retailers have been selling their wares for centuries based on features and benefits. Great brands show rather than just tell and use the store as an experience venue. REI stores have climbing walls and rapids; Orvis organises flyfishing trips. Williams-Sonoma organizes cooking classes and Ulta provides on-site makeup services.

Customization, or personalization, is a form of service that is seeing an increase, especially with fast-paced evolution of the manufacturing sector and Industry4.0 innovations.

Apple’s Genius bar is, well, genius. Not to mention the fact that Apple’s products are the pinnacle of products-with-a-service, singularly designed as conduits for services provided by telco’s, media companies, app developers, retailers and brands.

Fitbit and UnderArmour are leading the way in the area of health & wellness, not only helping athletes track their performance but motivating people by incentivizing results, enabling them to share accomplishments with friends, obtain kudos from peers, and pitch challenges that go to the heart of our competitive nature.

Brands need to find ever more creative mechanisms to spend time with the customer as they are using the product, to add value to the product by providing the services that improve the experience. The product use mindset also paves the way for leasing, renting, and providing a subscription service, generally a stickier proposition.

The Call to Action

Looking further ahead, the move to a digital media presence and orienting to services becomes an imperative to survival. While not around the corner, brands do need to prepare for the moment end-users are able to 3D print a multitude of products, and they will ultimately only monetize the access to the 3D model.

There are a great many factors that contribute to brand appeal. To truly differentiate, the call to action is to build an experience signature across the collective physical, digital and human touch-points and to put time at the center:

#1 Map the customer journey and compress time

#2 Re-think who your competition is

#3 Move to Products-with-a-Service

The newness of the digital touchpoint –and its forever expanding varieties- assures it continues to grab the headlines. As build-a-bear associates know, to make a real connection with the customer nothing beats kneeling down, looking the child in the eyes, asking for their name and welcoming them to the party. Let’s keep in mind that unlike a tweet, the human touch stops time for an instant and leaves a lasting impression.

This post is part of a series focused on the digital economy. It is time to re-imagine your business. SAP can help.

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