Consumers: tell brands where they're going wrong
Brands are more open to listening than ever – as their customers, we need to proactively share what we want and need.
Monday morning. The joys of being bumped, jostled and contorted on the Northern Line. But then I was squeezed to the size of a gnat alongside a heavily pregnant lady who became increasingly frustrated and concerned about the impact all that contorting was having on her baby.
Not for the first time, I was genuinely astounded that other commuters were happy to ignore her increasingly vocal needs while, on the other hand, was surprised that she also didn’t take it upon herself to try and resolve the situation by asking for a seat. Simply because it felt like the right thing to do, I asked for a seat on her behalf and a very apologetic gentleman sprang to life. Job done.
But it got me thinking. Like many of you, I was brought up with the old adage ‘if you don’t ask... you don’t get’. But, as a consumer and customer champion, sometimes it’s hard to help those who refuse to help themselves.
It’s all very well getting frustrated with brands and products that don’t hit the mark, which don’t seem to listen to our needs or move with the times. But, if we’re honest, are we really doing all we can as their customers to share what we want and what we need?
High street brands spend an estimated £3bn every year on consumer research to help them avoid second-guessing our needs. All this information is stored and accessible to marketers like myself. Sometimes the sheer enormity of how best to slice and dice that data into useable and useful chunks can seem as daunting as reading War and Peace.
But imagine if, as their customers, we more proactively shared what we wanted. What we needed. And worked more collaboratively to co-create so that all our hard earned cash was more effectively put to use. We could post big flashing signals that help clarify the life-changing moments from the red herrings.
Brands, large and small, are more open to listening to us than they’ve ever been. The market place is simply so noisy that they need a little more help. They’re also more regulated and more conscious of managing all our personal details. And yet many of us are still afraid of sharing some of our most basic stats with brands that we’ve been loyal to for years.
Rather than bemoaning substandard customer service, ads that creepily follow us around the net and products that just don’t do what they say on the tin, let’s tell these brands where they’re going wrong. Directly, rather than to all our friends and family. Or under our breath to the commuters around us. Ultimately, it saves everyone time and money. So speak out people. As customers, it’s our time.
Aimee Bryan, Planning Partner
This was featured in The Guardian.