Long term brand success now requires constant innovation according to this article by Raconteur, which concludes that quality of service is today's key differentiator.
While I don't think Raconteur is saying anything particularly new or ground-breaking here, this is well worth a read (both for established and fledgling brands), as it provides a useful analysis of recent consumer trends and important factors in determining brand success in today's fast-paced and disruptive consumer-facing environment.
In the past, the success of a brand could be built and retained based on a particular USP, for example the quality of its products or competitive pricing. These things certainly haven’t become unimportant to consumers, but what is clear is that this is no longer enough. Disruption in technology and the rise of e-commerce added 'convenience' to the pot of variables affecting brand success. More recently, fierce competition in this area has established convenience as more of a basic expectation than a differentiator (although big players such as Amazon continue to push the boundaries).
Raconteur argues that it is the end-to-end customer experience that now has the most power to make or break your brand. This of course encompasses the convenience offering, but it also includes basic customer service, as well as innovative customer experiences – a particular focus for many savvy retailers, who are using technology and intelligent analysis of data to deliver personalised offerings, unique in-store experiences and seamless 'omnichannel' sales strategies.
Ultimately, the message is a restatement of the old adage 'customer is king', placing it into the modern context – the key difference being that today's customer has more choice, more tech, more sophistication, less time and possibly (certainly in my case!) less patience.
As an intellectual property lawyer, I regularly advise businesses on how to protect and get the most from their brands. There is absolutely nothing legal here, but the practical guidance of understanding your target market and delivering a service that sets your brand apart can never be overstated.
For decades companies that produce the goods we consume from coffee capsules to razors and cars to dishwasher tablets have fine-tuned the products they’re making, the brands they’re building and the prices they’re offering. Until now this has defined our decisions. Yet a third variable – service – has recently come to the fore: “when, how and where will I get it?” now trumps “what will I get?” shaking up the world of customer experience.