Consumer A has decided to invest in a product sold by a few different brands. The product is roughly the same, with every sales representative gushing about high quality and service over time. What will affect consumer A’s purchasing decision?
Marketing is all about psychology. Sales is where the purchasing decision happens, but marketing is what influences that buy. Between the different brand options, Consumer A is going to go with the company that aligns with a belief system he or she trusts and instills good feelings about the purchase. The psychology behind the choice isn’t complex, but companies fail to pay attention to these hidden influencers every day.
Transparency is a popular notion now. Consumers want to see transparency in the companies they deal with. They want to know that employees are treated well and that a company is driven by a sense of purpose. Businesses that freely share information about their inner lives know the benefit is mutual. Not only does sharing company culture improve consumer trust; it sells the brand as a product and as a potential employer.
Trends to Integrate
Wouldn’t you trust a brand that has an open connection with consumers? Here are some of the major trends likely to influence consumer behavior and keep your culture positive:
- Treating your employees better. It’s harder today to disguise unfairness in the workplace, but some places still try. Word will get out if you have managers on power trips who treat employees unfairly. This doesn’t mean you have to follow in Google’s footsteps and provide your employees with video games and free food every day. Focus on hiring individuals who believe in your mission, and train managers to use positive interactions with everyone. Not only will these practices breed respect; they will promote growth.
- Investing in your and your employees’ future. There was a time when many employers offered education benefits to employees. Today, employee loyalty is hard to find. Due to the current environment, millennials and other employees ebb and flow with the tides. School is expensive, so many people are in debt. Forget four year degrees. Focus on providing employees with the opportunity for a skills-related degree or a Master’s. Lower turnover rates improve employee expertise and help businesses and their reputations grow.
- Aesthetics matter. When a consumer or client enters your building, what he or she sees makes a difference. Everyone forms a first impression that affects every decision they make from that moment on. That means you have one chance to influence a consumer positively. Online and in the store, someone will form an initial impression within seconds of entering your establishment. The behavior of your employees, lighting, music, location, and décor all play into how a customer will evaluate your brand.
Online aesthetics are just as important. You have literally seconds to secure a visitor’s interest. Streamline your website and include relevant information to make sure your market is willing to explore your site. As an added bonus, consider creating a section that is not focused on your brand, but on what your market wants to see.
- Being honest. Customers respond to brands that can admit when they make mistakes and aren’t afraid of being authentic. Today, people are more skeptical than ever. If you can be honest about your shortcomings while highlighting what you really have to offer, consumers will be more likely to trust your brand in the future. Whether it’s responding to a less than positive Twitter post or admitting a product’s shortcomings, you can open doors by taking responsibility for your company.
- Letting your market know you aren’t standing idly by while the competition moves forward can raise trust. Even if your research and development department falls short, consumers want to see you’re willing to take risks to stay relevant in the industry. Just like startups, they want to help companies with vision move forward.
- Getting involved. Involvement on social media is a goal for every company. Don’t use social media for ad slogans and campaign buzzwords. Engage with current events and post information meaningful to them. Without knowing it, these efforts will impact how your brand is viewed and could lead to a future purchase. Infographics, videos, and short content pieces are all great ways to get your audience involved with your brand.
- Include everybody. Some of your best marketing and product management ideas may not come from consultants and marketers. Rather, they may start through customer interactions and your intern. Take advantage of the natural talent you have access to by including a wide range of people. Not only will you benefit from the outcome, but you can have a meaningful impact in others’ personal and professional lives.
Crossing the Line
There are countless trends that you can use to really build your business and promote your brand without advertising. Get the word out about your culture and see the response for yourself. There is a line that you should not cross, however. When companies over-invest in fringe marketing efforts, the tactic can backfire. For instance, a law firm that invests in leather chairs and a posh conference space can easily come across as overindulgent and not as an investment in the customer experience.
Consumers want to know your company is successful, but not unreasonably so. Consider the CEO of Gravity Payments, who reduced his pay so his employees could have a higher paycheck. Regardless of your beliefs about wage structures, his move has sparked a conversation that goes beyond marketing antics.
Remember that consumers react to everything a company does. Changing your workplace environment can spark consumer activity overnight, and it can influence purchasing behaviors over time.
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