SERVILE BRANDS (Trendwatching)
In our What is Marketing? tutorial we observe how critical it is for marketers to build satisfying relationships with customers. In particular, we state: “A key objective of marketing is to provide products and services that customers really want AND to make customers feel their contact with the marketer is helping build a good relationship between the two.”
While, most leading companies have generally embraced this concept, they are now finding their customers are stretching their needs and expectations to levels that are making satisfaction much more challenging. In large part, significant technological innovations are leading customers to expect brands to provide much more. In most cases, what they are expecting goes beyond the composition of the Actual product.
For instance, as noted in this story, customers are particularly attracted to brands that are adapting to customer’s changing needs. These needs are being shaped by such issues as the desire for instant gratification and "need-it-now" information. For marketers, this means much greater emphasis needs to be placed on decisions that are not directly product related (i.e., product features). Instead, marketers need to focus more attention on decisions associated with the Augmented product.
The story contains many examples from around the world of innovation in the Augmented product including: printing customized recipes at the checkout counter based on products purchased during grocery visit; a website that allows customers to upload an image of their hand and then click to see what different nail polish will look like; and special refrigerator magnets that when pressed will automatically order pizza from a local pizza shop.
Yes, consumers are more demanding, time-starved, informed, and choice-saturated than ever-before (we know you know). For brands to prosper, the solution is simple though: turn SERVILE. This goes far beyond offering great customer service. SERVILE means turning your brand into a lifestyle servant focused on catering to the needs, desires and whims of your customers wherever and whenever they are.
What other examples of innovation in Augmented product are cited in this story?