Keys to brand development: enhancing the customer experience

June 15, 2021 | By: Emily McCullough, Sr. Marketing Manager

Working with Environics Research, we developed a custom study to uncover how Canadian consumer values are evolving over time, and the needs that drive each of these values. Values are formed through a range of experiences and influences, contributing to a worldview that remains relatively stable over time. These values set the context for the choices consumers make, and are an important consideration for brand development.

In 2020, Amazon Ads commissioned a survey from Environics Research to understand the needs and values that matter most to over 800 Canadians. Synthesized with results from the Environics Research annual Social Values survey of more than 5,000 Canadians, our results highlight the values driving consumer expectations of brands today, and how marketers can use these insights to support effective brand development.

In part one of our series, we highlighted the values shaping Canadian consumer behavior and introduced the principles behind effective brand development. In the final part of this two-part series we’ll review the final two principles that emerged in our research: curation and convenience.

Curate experiences for your customers

Eighty-four percent of Canadians agree that a one-size-fits all approach does not work for them. Furthermore, 72% of Canadians expect services to have all their information ready when they interact with them.1 Brands can enhance customers’ lives, and increase engagement and loyalty by delivering messages that are tuned to and even anticipate what customers really want.2 Every path to purchase is different, so it’s critical that brands find ways to curate marketing experiences for the appropriate phase of the consumer journey.

Marketers have an opportunity to deliver curated products, messages, and experiences that can be tailored across moments, channels, and customer journeys.3 Brands that effectively deliver curated experiences do so by building an omni-channel approach. These brands overlay a digital experience with the physical experience to better understand their customers, ultimately connecting with customers in a meaningful way and delivering a better customer experience.4

At Amazon Ads, we know customers are engaging with multiple touchpoints along their path to purchase. Our mission is to help marketers generate awareness of their brand story to create connections, inspire discovery, and grow loyalty. We help marketers connect with new and existing customers through solutions that are naturally integrated into their daily lives like watching movies on Fire TV, browsing, or listening to music on Alexa.

Customers regularly come to Amazon to find and discover new things. Each experience is personalized to their browsing and shopping preferences displaying product, services, and content they’d be most interested in. Amazon’s full-funnel marketing solutions help brands achieve what we call a “surround sound effect.” This happens when a combination of brand messages in different media work together to tell an integrated brand story in a memorable way. Amazon Ads offers brands a diversified creative canvas of Streaming TV and video ads, Stores, Sponsored Brands, and on-box advertising to bring your brand to life.

To effectively activate curation:

Identify customer needs; use insights to understand what your customers want, and try to anticipate future needs.

Recognize there is no one-size fits all. Every customer journey is different. Ensure you understand the full shopping journey: Where are your customers discovering, researching, and purchasing your products or services? How do you bridge the gap between online and offline?

Meet your customers where they are. Deliver the right message, at the right channel, at the right time.

Delight customers with convenience

There are several ways consumers perceive convenience, whether it’s saving them time with same-day delivery, or easy access to more offerings, or meeting all their needs in one place. Regardless of what that offering is, people are looking for convenient solutions that simplify life while delivering a positive experience.5

Ninety-five percent of Canadians agree: “When a brand solves my problem in an efficient way, I am more likely to repurchase.”6 Consumers are looking for ways to make their lives easier and to remove friction from their interactions with brands. They want smarter recommendations, more payment options, and faster delivery. They want solutions to problems. And convenient solutions aren’t just about delivering physical products, convenience also extends to habits and rituals. The idea of ritual is often associated with food and beverages, but we also see seasonality and anticipation across a range of different industries. From a daily cup of coffee, to celebrating a special holiday, opportunities exist to tap into ritual with all types of consumers – you just need to understand their values.

At Amazon, we always start with the customer. Focusing on things that matter most to customers is our #1 priority. We believe what customers want boils down to three core, constant things: value, selection, and convenience. Amazon Prime is one example of how we have innovated on behalf of a customer pain point (paying for shipping) and delivered on what our customers wanted.

To effectively activate convenience:

Understand your customers’ pain points. What are problems you can help solve for them to help simplify their lives?

Always start with the customer and work backwards to deliver on ease, simplicity, and utility.

How can you take a values-first approach to brand development?

If you’re looking to develop your brand with a values-first marketing strategy, start with your customers’ needs and work backwards from there. Activate with purpose by leaning into a cause that is authentic to your brand and following up with real action that drives change. Create a curated customer experience by using insights to understand the right message for your audience, at the right time, and through the right channels. Deliver convenience by understanding the needs and pain points of your customers, and deliver solutions that save them time and remove friction. Finally, give customers confidence by establishing transparency, listening to their feedback, and acting on that feedback to enhance your offering.