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Think you know about value? Think again…

 In Uncategorized

I think we can all agree that it’s been a difficult week. The events of the past few days have challenged everything we believe in here at TMP HQ – they probably have for you too. What? No! Not the general election…I’m talking about the Meaningful Brands report published by Havas. Now that really was a grim news day.

Prepare yourself for some distressing news. According to Maria Garrido, international marketing director for Havas,

“74% of brands could disappear and people wouldn’t care.”

That means only 26% of you are getting it right. The Monachie Project’s user experience services have never been more needed.

Crosshead

I know it’s difficult to get past the ‘74%’ screaming at you from your screen, but the key word Garrido uses is ‘care’. And customers care about you when they know you feel the same way about them. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it? It’s a lesson Tesco seem to finally be learning.

Garrido calls the most successful brands in the world ‘meaningful brands’ and they work because they offer consumers not one, not two, but three types of value:
Marketplace benefits – we’re talking the value delivered by your products or services.
Personal benefits – customers want to know what you can do for them.
Collective benefits – be clear about what you do for society as a whole.
Powerful stuff, eh? Get those three things right and Havas say that you’ll see you sales increase, enjoy better brand awareness and higher annual returns than your competitors.

So who’s getting it right?

The report gives top marks to Samsung, because they’re seen to make people’s lives easier and they’ve got a reputation for giving each customer a personalised experience that enriches their lives. But before we get carried away, let’s see if we can apply Garrido’s ideas to some of TMP’s old friends.

This week, Matthew Barnes –CEO for Aldi in the UK – told The Grocer that he was determined to maintain at least a price difference of at least 15% between his company and mainstream supermarkets. Why? Because Barnes admits that their success has been due to UK consumers losing faith in other supermarket’s prices. “Customers can trust us on pricing”, he says. “We don’t wildly fluctuate and we don’t confuse them. It’s why millions of them come through our doors, because they’re fed up with the smoke and mirrors, and their lack of trust, in other retailers.”

Aldi definitely offer marketplace value loud and clear. They also give personal value by making sure more people can afford quality produce. Collective Value? Believe it or not they do. How? They’re opening new stores, creating jobs and investing in communities. In these fragile economic times I’m not sure there’s anything more a community could ask for.

Trust, care, faith – they might not sound like powerful words to set your business by, but believe me they are. Havas’ report suggests that customers will spend 46% more on a product when buying from a ‘meaningful brand’ and the top 25 most meaningful brands outperformed the stock market by 133%. A hundred and thirty three percent! Now do you see why you need a TMP customer research consultant in your life?

And who should be worried?

If trust, care, and faith are the new watchwords of our consumer-led society, then Next should be getting very worried indeed – this week they’ve been accused of “bullying” workers into giving up Sunday overtime pay. This has led to a GMB Union rep suggesting that the company has a “total disregard for family life” and old stories about their multi-millionaire CEO complaining paying staff a living wage have resurfaced. If you think about the importance of being trustworthy, it’s safe to say that Next haven’t had a great week.

I also read this week that ScS, the carpet and sofa retailers, have blamed “consumer jitters” for a 15% fall in their sales. Look, it’s really simple TMP faithful – don’t blame your customers for anything. If they’re getting jittery, what can you do to steady their nerves? Maybe elections do cause uncertainty. Perhaps warmer weather does make people reluctant to spend a nice day in a carpet shop – let’s be honest, that one day might turn out to be the entire blink-and-you-missed-it summer – but these things have happened before and so you can pre-empt them and factor them into to your long-term planning. Find out why your customers are staying away. Whatever you do, don’t make assumptions – and never blame them for a fall in sales!

And if you needed any more convincing about the value of values…

I like to end on a positive note – set you up with happy thoughts for the day ahead – and here’s one courtesy of Whole Foods Market. The company had a rocky road a few years ago, but things have really started turning around for them. If you look at the three types of value Havas identify as making a meaningful brand, Whole Foods were doing really well on two – collective and personal. 5% of their net profits are donated to local communities and their healthy, ethically sourced products tick all the boxes on personal wellbeing. What consumers weren’t too sure about was whether Whole Foods’ products provided value for money. So this week the company announced a new chain of stores focused on cheaper – but not less healthy – products. Their CEO, Jeff Mackey, says that the new stores will offer a “convenient, transparent and values-oriented experience” for shoppers.

Now that’s how you become a meaningful brand – listen to your customers and provide value in as many ways as you can. It fits the TMP philosophy so well that I’m beginning to think that Jeff’s a regular reader of my musings.

To build brand loyalty, you need to bring meaning to your customers’ lives – and to do that, you need to know your customers. The Monachie Project’s user experiences services help you discover the hidden values that are really driving your market. Get in touch to find out more.

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