Consumer Belonging in the Digital Age

With the advancing technological horizon that seems to be as endless as space, the amount of time involved in a physical community you experience while shopping, service clubs, and errands are, frankly, dwindling. Branding has become a staple to tackling this social/cultural phenomenon by endorsing a sense of togetherness that consumers unknowingly seek in everyday purchases. Consumers have independent experience drivers that are becoming more common, yes – but with their development has this yearn for more interdependent, community-friendly, and collective experience drivers that fill the gap where consumers’ old communities are no longer established.

IBM iX, an experience design & digital consultancy, identified the six experience drivers that contribute to their ‘Brand Belonging’ characteristics that grab the next-gen consumers and fulfill their consumer needs. The individual experience drivers make moments more meaningful with simplified everyday tasks, enabling self-improvement, and enriching experiences over time. This correlates with my initial statement with the convenient-shopping taken care of. This also goes into further detail as part of Inventive’s 4 Big Trends in Retail for 2018 piece.

The study showed top Brand Belonging performers grew revenue over six years at 3X the rate of lower performing brands.
— IBM iX

The next two individual experience drivers consist of developing relationships and a trustworthy excitement. Loyalty has a big play in the flooded market of today, and being able to personalize and relate with individual experiences while also being dependable is the perfect storm when it comes to branding towards an individualistic consumer.

According to IBM’s statistics, 39% of brand behavioral imperatives that matter to consumers and improve business performance are collective in nature; societal contexts are in a whole different landscape in the fast-paced digital age. Consumers chose to explore and act upon brands that have an activated purpose, an empowered community, and empathetic innovation. Communities don’t commonly consist of a neighborhood cul-de-sac anymore; they are spread out amongst regions, countries, and even the world with the help of digital transparency and the speed of online communication.

Going along with the activated purpose and the empowered community that grabs the attention of the new-gen, empathetic innovation comes straight from the accelerated and often competitive environment that forces innovation. “Deploying a system of continuous consumer listening and company learning to improve products, services, and experiences” is what makes up this final collective experience driver.

The same brand doesn’t work through and through because you aren’t dealing with a constant variable. Encapsulating these experience drivers while keeping up with the trends are proven to have a higher chance of reaching your next-gen market share.

A brand is more than a logo, color, or slogan; it’s about creating a truly memorable experience for your customers at that time. Understanding business values as well as being able to strategically communicate them to your market that leads to a consistent and recognizable experience will encourage brand loyalty to achieve your market share/industry leading goals.