Customer Experience, Communication Channels, Media
Hot on the heels of POS we begin to consider how the brand or product is communicated to the consumer. There are few to no products which require little or no supporting communication to initiate or even to arouse the idea of a purchase. The story behind the product development, the representation of its benefits and features are all important things which are necessary pieces of information in driving purchase.
The old formula AIDA still holds true in this respect. Attributed to Elmo Lewis and 1898, AIDA stands for: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. From a consumer perspective these are the usual steps towards making a purchase and without which a purchase may not be possible at all.
However the AIDA model is not a blueprint for the purchase decision cycle. Nowadays, a dialogue-oriented sales situation is effecting the individual AIDA phases meaning that each phase is harder to distinguish and in many cases the process in non-sequential. Sales increasingly resembles a conversation in which information and emotion is exchanged between brand and consumer.
Which is the best media platform to communicate with the consumer? Traditional advertising approaches have proved to be highly inefficient and are subject to enormous wastage. Only a fraction of communications sent out in this manner make it to their desired target consumer and an even smaller amount initiate a reaction or action. Therefore a more direct and targeted approach to communication has been developed and more and more traditional advertising is being replaced by direct communication.
A very important part of this direct communication is that of peer recommendation. Considering and managing this peer recommendation is a mine field, however if navigated carefully can prove highly effective. The internet is awash with forums, review sites and other places where consumers can share their experiences with products and brands, giving either a positive or negative rating to that experience.
Whether this online community of recommendations is beneficial to a brand's long term success is still to be seen. What is for certain is that it is a new model of communication and information sharing that is here to stay. Brands are both exposed for the advantages and their flaws, how they prosper in the information age is in direct correlation to how well they manage this feedback and incorporate it back into the development of product and brand.
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