It’s increasingly more difficult even for the best of brands to cultivate long-standing loyalty between themselves and consumers. In the brand planning department here at Engauge, we find that over the years, we’re hearing fewer consumers say that their love of a brand is one that’s long, deep and an experience that’s passed down to them from previous generations.
Instead, consumer pursuit of relentless information and instant gratification has created a “short episode” culture of ever-diminishing time frames where even the new is quickly cast aside and considered old and not relevant — even if it happened an hour ago. When the idea of new exists only in mere seconds, consumers disregard things very easily, including the long-standing institutions that for so long defined the American dream.
On sharp decline are the rates of marriage, home ownership and car ownership — even among those who can afford it. Sharply increasing are consumers’ acceptance of and willingness to try and love new, socially connected, mobile-friendly brands. We can expect that consumers will increasingly use digital technologies as tools to help them achieve complete social mobility by helping them to organize their lives around experiences versus long-standing “to have and to hold/own” commitments.
It’s easy to conclude that, more than ever, it’s important for brands to be expert communicators across various screens and devices — that it’s important to “go mobile.” However, it’s more important to understand mobility, not mobile. Too many brands will lose out by taking a channel approach rather than a behavioral one, overly focusing on trying to navigate devices, operating systems and mobile channels. They might look at digital trends reports filled with data points that prove the popularity of mobile applications, perhaps resulting in the creation of an app that may be technologically relevant yet ignored by consumers because it’s contextually out of sync with how they approach their lives.
The challenge we marketers face is to keep focused on truly understanding culture, consumers, and how their lives play out across multiple platforms — not the popular channel of the day.