Category Archives: Marketing

Crafting a Compelling Strategic Narrative

We’ve been discussing consumer trust and how brands can create and maintain it through consistently prioritizing the consumer experience. Trust is the foundation for long-lasting relationships with a brand’s core audience – but where does this journey begin? In a digital era marked by an abundance of available options, brands stand out by developing a compelling narrative that inspires consumers to choose them over the competition.

A strategic narrative sets a brand apart by connecting with consumers in a unique and indelible way. Stories, after all, have been part of the human experience since long before the development of written language – a way to understand the world, our place in it, our ties to the past, and our hopes for the future. 
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Earning Trust in the Consumer Decision-Making Process

Earning consumers’ trust has always been a top priority for savvy brands, but in today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, trust is an even more critical asset. When a brand’s strategic narrative includes the promise of trust and responsibility, it’s vital that the consumer journey reinforces those ideals. Let’s take a look at the consumer decision-making process and how trust can be built at each point along the way.

The Consumer Decision-Making Process

The EBK model of the consumer decision-making process was first codified in 1968. While the consumer experience has changed drastically since then (this video from Directive Consulting provides an interesting overview), the five steps of the EBK model are still used by marketers and brand-builders today. Here’s how brands can gain trust at each critical moment of the consumer journey:
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Embracing “Constructive Disruption” in Marketing and Beyond

Pioneered by startups and tech companies seeking innovation by reshaping systemic processes and industry landscapes, the goal of creating disruptive change has trickled down through nearly every aspect of today’s business environment. In fact, the term is so ever-present that its value risks becoming diluted.

However, recent remarks from the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference might prompt us to see disruption in a new light. Speaking to a crowd of attendees, Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Mark Pritchard praised what he calls “constructive disruption” in marketing practices. What does that look like in practice? Pritchard’s answer provides a road map for the ways in which brands can best reach consumers in the future.
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Sustainability in Fashion: Where Do We Start?

The fast fashion model is built on trendy, cheaply made pieces that are only meant to last through a few seasons before being retired or forgotten. As a result, unprecedented amounts of clothing are ending up in landfills (or on bonfires) after being worn once or twice. We recently examined fast fashion brand Zara’s new sustainability goals, noting that while it’s encouraging to see a major brand step forward to start a conversation about sustainability and environmental impact, these goals will require enormous change within the fashion industry as a whole.

Faced with the need to make monumental changes, where do consumers and the fashion industry begin?

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Multifaceted Spaces Broaden Brands’ Reach & Build Community

There’s an interesting trend occurring in Kansas City: the emergence of several multifaceted, dual-use spaces that attract vibrant, diverse communities based on shared interests and experiences. By overlaying multiple points of consumer service, these brands expand their reach beyond their core audience and create “hybrid” spaces. At a time when retail establishments are struggling to stay open, these innovative spaces are revitalizing their connections with consumers.
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Brands that Embraced Transparency to Create Success

Millennials require transparency. A generation that came of age with information at their fingertips, they are reshaping the way brands communicate their values, their product’s benefits, and even their supply chains. From food to politics, healthcare, and employment, millennials’ “Self, Society, and Planet” ethos drives them to understand how their purchasing decisions impact themselves, their communities, and the environment.

This requires brands to communicate in new ways. Either they embrace transparency and authenticity and retain control of their narrative, or they drive consumers to third-party sources of information that may or may not present them in a positive light. Either they communicate directly with consumers on social media or they are talked about without a seat at the table.

These brands have responded proactively to millennial consumers’ desire for transparency and created success as a result:
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Millennials & Transparency: Beyond Branding & Marketing

The millennial generation’s “self, society, and planet” ethos has had a big impact on branding and marketing practices. Their primary concern is transparency. As consumers, they want to understand how products are made, where they are sourced, and how they impact the communities that create and consume them. Brands who embrace transparency are able to build trust, convey authenticity, and gain the loyalty of this major demographic.
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