How human-to-human connections drive consumer centricity

In this Forbes article, our colleague Camille Nicita, Managing Director North America & Managing Partner, Gongos, part of InSites Consulting, wrote: “To become genuinely customer-centric, organizations must realize the need to understand their customers as humans and help them achieve what they aspire to. This starts with getting curious about customers’ values—the driving force for their goals.”

So, what does this mean for brands? How can you get close to your customers’ and consumers’ values?

Pyramid 4 colours Model of consumer needs

Consumer insights

Consumers expect brands to create value on different levels. Once consumers’ basic requirements are fulfilled (i.e., basic needs), they move up to expecting a compelling experience (i.e., psychological needs). When they have access to such satisfying experiences, they expect brands to help them reach their life goals (i.e., self-fulfillment needs). Lastly, consumers need brands to also contribute to a positive societal impact (i.e., collective needs). Where a consumer stands in this ‘pyramid of needs’ depends on their own context. A key framework we use to help brands better understand their consumers’ needs in different contexts – and put them at the center of the business – is our insight formula.

  • It’s me – a good insight is relevant for a consumer. Relevance can be driven by personal identification or by peer identification
  • Aha! – an insight should be fresh and present a new way of looking at things. This includes both discovering something completely new and uncovering an existing reality in a new or fresh way.
  • Emotion – an insight should have emotional valence. This could be a friction or a problem that consumers want to solve, but it could also be a desire for something. Consumers should be excited about having a potential solution.

An example is the work Reckitt is doing with its stain-remover brand Vanish. Their ‘Rewear’ campaign in the UK focused on the issue of avoidable clothes waste and was based on the observation that people throw out wardrobe items simply because of a stain. The basic need here is stain removal, but the values that underpin this need are much broader and link back to societal impact. People are more conscious about reducing waste and are looking for ways to take care of the clothes they love for longer – by removing stains and protecting colors – thereby having a positive impact on the environment. The combination of WHAT consumers want (e.g., clean clothes) and WHY (e.g., societal impact) can result in strong insights serving as a springboard for branding, communication, innovation, and customer experience. For Vanish, for example, this resulted in a fresh advertising campaign entitled ‘Rewear’, and a new positioning – ‘Clothes Live Longer with Vanish’ – which underpins all brand communications moving forward. As such, Vanish aims to encourage and support people to rewear their clothes for longer and to fight waste.

Tom De Ruyck Consumer Connects

Activating insights via real, human stories

Yet formulating a strong consumer insight isn’t the end goal. On the contrary, it’s only the starting point for impacting the hearts, minds and actions of different internal stakeholders. To do so, we need to bring insights to life via real, human stories. All too often insights remain a theoretical construct within organizations, and they only get meaning when stakeholders comprehend how they play out in the consumers’ life.

By connecting stakeholders directly with consumers – from human to human – they get an understanding of the person behind the insight, their needs, and the underlying values. This brings a better understanding of the insight, and makes it stickier and easier to remember, allowing stakeholders to act upon the insight, work on solutions, and improve the consumers’ life. This is what the Vanish team has done, through our online Consumer Connect program. But such connect sessions between consumers and stakeholders can even be organized offline, as ‘speed-date sessions’.

Eager to learn more about our Consumer Connect Programs and ready to connect with your consumers, ‘human to human’, to install a truly consumer-centric mindset? Start the conversation today!

Discover how we can build powerful consumer connections for your brand!

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