Part IV: Authentic Brand Identity Will Take You Further
Purpose-driven marketing has become a bit of a buzzword (like omnichannel … don’t get me started). However, with an overwhelming 94 percent of consumers saying they value purpose-driven companies, it's imperative for marketers to authentically communicate their brand’s story. These values need to be transparent and reflected across the organization to work cross-functionally. Whether it's embracing sustainability or exploring the metaverse, your 2022 strategies need to align with the core values of your brand in order to be taken seriously by today’s information-fueled consumers.
Embrace Purpose and Demand Sustainability
Seventy-one percent of U.S. adults aged 18-55 state they care more about product sustainability than they did a year ago. Providing your customers with actionable and informative sustainability opportunities and solutions is clearly a valuable competitive advantage. For example, Walmart responded to consumer interest by launching its online shopping destination Built for Better, which features icons on products that have met
independent standards like EWG Verified, Energy Star Certified, or Rainforest Alliance Certified. Additionally, Kroger has piloted programs with Loop, a circular economy platform centered on reusable packaging for branded products, offering items in reusable containers to reduce single-use plastic. Understanding what sustainability values are important to your customer and your industry can provide a valuable foundation for how to approach your strategy.
Establishing short-term goals that educate customers on your mission and encourage participation are effective tools to build trust and drive loyalty. Transparency is crucial when discussing sustainability objectives with customers, as long-term goals provide little immediate impact on influencing the purchasing decision. Keep customers engaged with your long-term goals by holding yourself accountable. Quarterly or bi-annual reports that inform the customer on how you're trending towards published goals are valuable tools to reinforce your brand's commitment to sustainability.
Let’s Dive in … to the Metaverse
2021 saw the rise of the virtual world becoming ever more commonplace. There has been plenty of media hype over the metaverse as of late — which is most easily defined as any digital experience on the internet that's immersive, three-dimensional (3D) and virtual, as in, not happening in our physical world — but virtual and augmented reality (AR) experiences have been around for quite some time. You're sure to see more of them in
Metaverse experiences offer consumers the opportunity to play, work, connect or buy, as well as offering brands the ability to extend their footprint. There are plenty of brands taking full advantage of the vertical gaming, partnering for branded experiences that are essentially virtual and immersive sponsorships. You'll continue to see the space become more mainstream for retail and CPG brands specifically with virtual and AR showrooms, exclusive product launches, and influencer-hosted sessions this year. Brands should test into the metaverse solely to get a new set of data inputs on their current and future customers. Doing so will inevitably make your marketing, merchandising and buying teams smarter, and allow you to tailor investment accordingly.
To be clear, if you're focusing on every one of the opportunities mentioned across these past four bylines while simultaneously maintaining and growing your current business, the chances of success are slim. As your organization seeks to determine which other core priorities to move forward, ensure that you're not only creating a business case for the opportunity, but also aligning all key stakeholders on what success looks like. Leverage your unique data-backed understanding and stay true to your company’s purpose. By doing so, the prioritization and impact of each initiative will become exceedingly clear.
Tierney Wilson is senior vice president, client strategy and consulting at January Digital, a digital leadership company that solves business challenges through media, analytics and strategic consulting.
Related story: Part III: Great Expectations: Reaching Your Customers With What They Really Want
Tierney Wilson is SVP, Client Strategy and Consulting, leads strategic leadership for all client services employees and clients. In her role Wilson is also responsible for the consulting practice which accounts for the agency’s largest area of growth. Prior to her role as SVP, Wilson served January Digital as its Managing Director and Director of Digital Strategy. Before joining the agency, she helped lead e-commerce for Dutch LLC (Joie, Current/Elliott and Equipment), Tory Burch and spent time at Condé Nast.