Every consumer has their go-to brands—the companies they will do business with again and again because of a trusted track record, great product and strong service. Every company wants to be a go-to brand, only about one-third of them reach that status. In order to become the preferred brand of customers of the future, brands need to focus on connection and progress.
To better understand the ever-changing needs and demands of customers, Lippincott brought together specialists from a number of fields to predict what the world and customers will look like in five years. Those findings help drive brands’ current strategies to prepare to serve customers of the future. According to Dave Mayer, Senior Partner, Brand Strategy at Lippincott, one of the biggest takeaways is the need to prioritize customer experience. That comes from both connection and progress.
Go-to brands like Apple, Samsung and Charles Schwab drive real connections with their customers. They strive to continually improve the experience to make themselves loved by customers. Instead of simply delivering a functional need and being a transactional brand that a customer uses once and leaves, go-to brands create relationships and understand their customers to keep them coming back again and again. One of the best ways to measure connection is through NPS. If a customer says they will recommend a brand to family and friends, they likely feel a strong connection with the company.
But connection alone isn’t enough to create a resilient go-to brand. Brands that drive loyalty also help customers do something they couldn’t do before. Customers of the future want to interact with brands that fill a need they can’t get filled anywhere else. Progress means pushing customers forward, opening doors and introducing them to ideas and services they didn’t even know they needed.
Connection and progress work hand in hand. A brand that offers progress without connection runs the risk of deflection. As soon as another brand comes with a better option, customers will abandon ship for the competition. Similarly, connection without progress means that customers will likely eventually leave for other brands that have more forward-thinking options.
Connection and progress are vital to creating go-to brands now, but they will be even more crucial in coming years. Mayer says that go-to brands grow five times faster than transactional brands and endure themselves to customers and shareholders to become resilient through difficult times. The customer of the future is values-driven and wants to connect with brands they believe in and that do good in the world. That’s progress. But they also want highly personalized experiences, which create connection. Brands must deliver on both sides to deliver a strong customer experience.
The customer of the future is changing, but they will remain loyal to their go-to brands that continue to offer both connection and progress.