The 2012 Yale Center for Consumer Insights Conference was the 7th one and reached a new level of excellence over the last weekend. This blog has covered past YCCI conferences but this year both Academics and Practitioners seemed really wanting to engage. Perhaps both groups feel overwhelmed with rapid technology changes,globalization, uncertain economies and a global consumer who is firmly in the drivers seat. The consumer is no longer waiting to receive the marketer's carefully crafted message but instead figures out what she wants from a variety of sources including social media and Internet search that seem so out of the control of the traditionally trained 4P's marketing manager. As consumers become difficult to predict the upstream B2B and Supply Chain also gets more challenging. So even if you are a B2B supplier who does not deal with customers directly, its a good idea to keep track of how your final customer is changing.
Coming back to the conference. The line-up of industry speakers was outstanding and included senior leaders of customer insights from leading companies and brands like Proctor&Gamble, Microsoft,Nike,Pepsi, MTV and Visa.
Talking about brands and changes in consumer behavior, the third speaker was Rick Wise, CEO of Lippincott the Brand Strategy &Design firm. Wise's talk turned out to be great and resonated with some of the themes of this blog viz. How can organizations build brands and offerings that stand the test of a changing world? In other words, what can managers really do ? You really cannot prepare for the next Facebook or Twitter as the world shifts from the AIDA model to what Wise described as Advertising--> Search-->Buzz--->Usage --->Customer Advocacy. Drawing a two axis simple graph he explained that brands need to have a "story power" that is simple and true and an "experience power" that matches the story.The stories must be authentic and the customer experience should be inspiring.
Trying to get the customer experience to match the brand story is the execution challenge and those who do it well, will beat their industry performance no matter how the consumer landscape changes. Contact StratoServe.