consumer experience

People Crave Simpler Brands

According to research in the new edition of Siegel+Gale’s World’s Simplest Brands study, the pandemic has made people’s lives more complex. It is causing many consumers to desire — and to pay a premium for — simpler experiences.   Read more »

When Should You Apologize for a Service Failure?

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GPS and other new, digital technologies have given companies capabilities like never before. They also bring up new questions. For instance, if a company using GPS can see a small service failure is about to occur, should it proactively apologize in real-time or let it go? Proactive apologizing can backfire, which may cause the customer to perceive this service experience as lackluster, leading to decreased satisfaction, trust, recommendations and patronage. What can be done to help managers decide if and when to apologize, and when appropriate, how to do so in the right manner? This study offers some insights.

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NYCU: Personalization Creates Brand Connections

A Redpoint Global survey of U.S. adults, conducted by Dynata, highlights trends in brand loyalty and implications around customer experience management. The findings of this survey shed light on the importance of personalization to consumers.  It is a key to their brand connection. 74% of customers believe that brand loyalty is about feeling understood and valued and not about discounts and loyalty perks. Sixty-four percent said they would purchase a product from a brand that knows them. Nearly half also said they were more likely to consider purchasing from a brand that does effective personalization. Additionally, 32% are also willing to overlook a single bad customer experience, if they feel the company is trying to understand them as a customer. Though offering quality products and services are essential, brands should emphasize understanding customers. According to 52% of consumers, brands can make individual customers feel understood by offering relevant product and service recommendations. Further, around 44% of customers said brands should make navigating in-store and online stores easier. Forty one percent also said they feel understood through the frequency of brand interactions – sharing relevant information on a semi-regular basis. Source: YouGovAmerica. (2022, February 10). Consumers prefer feeling valued and understood over discounts and loyalty perks. New Ideas in Marketing. YouGovAmerica.    

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NYCU: Do Employees Work Better in Teams or Alone?

The pandemic has brought new relevance to the question: Are teams better than individuals at getting work done? New research finds surprising answers for managers trying to figure out the best way to assign tasks. The study was conducted by Wharton Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions Duncan Watts. In their research, Watts and his co-authors found:

  • Simple tasks are best accomplished by individuals, while difficult ones are more efficiently completed by a group.
“Groups are as fast as the fastest individual and more efficient than the most efficient individual when the task is complex but not when the task is simple,” the researchers wrote in their paper entitled, “Task Complexity Moderates Group Synergy.” Watts said the study is unique because it’s the first to make an “apples to apples” comparison in a lab setting. The scholars created an experiment that allowed them to manipulate the complexity of the same task, rather than simply giving the participants different kinds of tasks, as most previous studies have done. “In this research, we could vary complexity in a nice, systematic, principled way without changing anything else,” Watts said. Source:  Watts, D.; Almaatouq, A.; Alsobay, M.; Yin, M. (2021, October 12). Are Teams Better Than Individuals at Getting Work Done? Knowledge@Wharton: The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  

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NYCU: Four Key Drivers of Brand Equity

A new Kantar analysis concludes that four fundamental areas of brand image account for around 70% of brand equity. Their insights are designed to help marketers influence consumer perceptions to build brand equity.   Kantar “BrandZ” conducted a two-stage analysis on data from over 400,000 respondents in 2019-20, covering over 11,000 brands. The most significant finding was how four fundamental areas typically account for around 70% of brand equity globally. These areas should receive more focus and attention from marketers for every brand. The remaining 30% can be built from a wide range of brand-specific differentiating attributes and perceptions. The four fundamental areas are:

  • Strong brands both meet the expectations of new users and continually deliver a superior experience to regular ones. The memories laid down by these experiences are one of the key foundations of a brand’s relationship with its customers.
  • The best brands are created in the mind of the consumer through great communications, which define the brand and “frame” the product or service experience. Messaging needs to be relevant, memorable, creative and consistent.
  • Functionality. Ensure you offer a product or service that is seen as well-designed with a suitable range of options – and innovate as necessary.
  • Convenience. In a consumer-led environment, it is essential for brands to fit seamlessly into the everyday lives of users. Brand choice should be habitual and easy, without the need for conscious thought from busy consumers.
Circumstances vary depending on the nature of the brand, the market, the category and the types of customers involved. This will affect the overall importance of the four fundamentals and the relative significance of each. Together, the four fundamentals relate to consumer perceptions shaped by good management – and synergy – of the basic elements of marketing: product, place, price and promotion. The design of the product or service, its efficacy or the quality of delivery, its packaging and handling; all these marketing decisions impact the fundamentals. A brand’s distribution channels can also shape the experience and affect its convenience. Its pricing will set expectations for experience and quality, and effective promotion will ensure the brand is always mentally available. Source: Staplehurst, G. (2021, November 4). How can you influence consumer perceptions to build brand equity? Kantar.

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NYCU: New Insights from the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR)

A recent ARF Insights Studio event featured four JAR papers. Here are key findings from two of them. Additional data were presented at an ARF & IPA event  What happens when a brand stops advertising for a year or longer? This Australian study examined sales trends when brands stopped broad-reach advertising for a long duration, specifically 1996-2015.

  • The researchers found significant declines in brand sales after one year and even sharper declines after two or more years without advertising. However, not all brands were affected in the same way. For example, big brands’ sales dropped less than those of small brands and brands that were previously growing larger saw sales continue to rise even after advertising stopped.
Note: More research on this topic was presented at an ARF & IPA event, “The Art and Science of Advertising,” last week. The impact of showing women in male-stereotyped job roles in advertisements. This study was conducted by researchers at the Stockholm School of Economics in the US, UK and Sweden. It compared reactions to advertisements showing men in typical and women in atypical roles (such as firefighters) The findings suggest that:
  • Nonstereotyped occupational gender role portrayals in advertising are likely to increase attention to the ad and result in positive effects for the brand, such as perceptions of higher product quality​
Additional papers: Two more papers were presented, one on the importance of using strict controls when exploring the impact of advertising to avoid misleading findings. A fourth paper suggested “a preliminary roadmap” to enhance the creative process while also providing creative professionals with consumer insights. Sources and for more information: Inside the JAR: Going “Dark,” Causality, Gender and Creativity (Event Summary) – The ARF For additional information on “when brands go dark”: The Art and Science of Advertising (Event Summary) – The ARF IPA | Share of Search: one year on

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Balancing Personalization and Data Privacy for Optimal Customer Experience (Event Summary)

Marketers currently face a daunting paradox: 91% of US consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations; meanwhile, 81% of respondents say the potential risks of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits. This leaves marketers to thread a delicate balance – provide customers with a personalized experience and ensure that their data is secure and being used responsibly. During this Insights Studio event, HawkPartners shared a blueprint for brands to follow when balancing these issues, and industry leaders from tech and healthcare shared best practices in how they balance these marketing priorities.  

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It is not possible to have long-term sales without short-term sales. Paul Donato, Chief Research Officer, ARF (quoting Leslie Wood, Chief Research Officer, NC Solutions) It is hard to know what drives repeat sales. There are many factors other than media, such as consumer experience with a product, product performance, and the quality of the product, that need to be considered in long-term sales. Dr. Peter Cain, Executive Partner & Co-Founder, Marketscience Understanding human beings, creating the right brand experience for them, and building their emotional connection to brands is essential for a great business outcome. Lisa Giacosa, President, Global Head of Data, Technology, Analytics and Insights, Spark Foundry Social video is the best reflection of what is happening in culture. Kate Ginsburg – Head of Content & Product Marketing, Tubular Labs Post-COVID, there is an ongoing need for agility by brands, publishers, marketers and vendors. Test and learn is important. Jed Meyer – SVP, Media Domain Leader, Kantar The future of AVOD depends on how the industry nurtures it going forward. Cara Pantano — Senior Manager, Sales Insights, Verizon Media …The most unexpected feedback he received was that clients who had invested heavily in multicultural audiences were shocked to find that the vast majority of their advertising spend was reaching out-of-target audiences. Aaron Fetters — Head, Client Development, Truthset All agreed that just because something is technically feasible does not mean that it should be done. Session Chair:  Ryan Boh - Head of Activation & Identity, Product Strategy, Oracle More and more CPG brands are catching up to connecting brand and media metrics in real-time to purchase data. Joe Conte —VP, Sales, Media Center of Excellence, IRI

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