Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” –Maya Angelou

Much like this, iconic brands are built on making customers feel special and give them an elevated experience. These brands are built on a mission to create a difference that matters. A memorable brand experience is all about understanding your consumer’s needs, attitudes, behaviours and continually finding innovative ways to meet and surpass these needs.

People today, more than ever realize and appreciate the power of human connections and are increasingly craving community-driven/centric engagements. As technology continues to intersect and proliferate every aspect of a consumer’s life, it has become imperative for brand custodians like us to not only find and appreciate how our brand is understood by the consumer but also discern how it is engaging and empowering them.

How can brands manage to cut through the noise?

  • By rethinking and redesigning omni channel experiences:

I believe that when a brand helps simplify customers lives and listens to their pain points and evolves in step with their needs, it eventually translates to an elevated level of brand loyalty. It was observed that there was a drastic increase in the adoption & implementation of digital avenues in the last two years. The focus on omnichannel experiences also grew exponentially. Thus, brands that evolved their offering in terms of format, product and communication to be in tune with these trends witnessed a very positive impact. However, the key word is experience – how can we ensure that digital does not become a transaction but an elevated experience. 

  • Through innovation:

Innovation equals agility, ability to satisfy customers and desire for continuous improvement. Today’s customer believes that the `only thing that is constant, is change`. For brands, it may be about developing alternatives to their best-selling products and not taking the current success for granted.

It is about talking to the niche customer and not only to the majority of the customers. At Starbucks, innovation is the mantra which has always worked for us and made our customer experience more exciting. 

  • Powered by Purpose:

I believe that there should be no conflict between doing what is right and what is right for business.  If you want to build a thriving enterprise, you have to identify, embrace, embody and articulate a brand purpose that inspires your audience to connect with you.

A powerful brand purpose will always set out a company’s intent to change the world for the better and connects with consumers on a personal level. For instance, At Tata Starbucks, we celebrated `Reusable Cup Day’ on 2nd October 2021 where customers got a free reusable cup with the purchase of every beverage. Through our recent Sabyasachi and Starbucks merchandise collection, both the brands contributed towards impacting the lives of 3000 girls across rural India through an NGO – `Educate Girls’. So, we have a very strong brand purpose which deeply resonates with our consumers.

  • All about connection:

While technology has made our lives simpler, it need not alienate us. How a brand connects with its consumers is still very much significant and will always remain paramount.  Brands need the Human Element more than ever before and have to adjust to their customers’ and prospects’ shifting values by developing new ways to understand and engage with them in an authentic way.

Moving forward, brands will have to keep their finger on the pulse of changing consumer sentiment and values. At Starbucks also, we have always ensured that we embrace technology with a human touch.

Now, what is next for new-age marketing?

The future will be all about marrying technology with purpose, experiences and value! Some things to keep in mind are :

  1. Moving to a `Segment of One’ by getting to know our consumers, their interests, and preferences and making their lives simpler through deep analytics, harnessing multi point data and insights
  2. Creating fantastic experiences at each touch point – Online or Offline
  3. Humanising the digital – Making sure the brand ethos leaves a footprint agnostic of format
  4. Keeping a real-time pulse on changing customer preferences and differentiating trends from fads
  5. Always on Purpose – After all, we all need to answer that singular question – `what does our brands stand for? `

All of us have learned that we need to unlearn every day. There is no playbook for the current situation. It’s an ever-evolving time for customers and brands across sectors and even more dynamic times for marketers to focus on New Age Marketing, which is Driven by Purpose and Powered by Technology.

Authored by

Deepa Krishnan, Director, Marketing, Category, Loyalty, Digital, Tata Starbucks

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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