The Guide to Becoming Consumer Fit
Consumer Fit organizations make effective decisions based on a deep, real-time understanding of their consumers and buyers, competitors, and the market.
What does it mean to truly know your consumers in a digital era?
The world is changing fast.
• Only a fraction of the companies in the original Fortune 500 list still exist, and the removal of barriers between consumers and brands (both in physical and communications channels) has meant disruptors can speedily capture vast swathes of markets.
• There have never been so many humans in the world, nor so many connections between them. We now have many brands and cultures to easily pick and choose from, and we express our identities in myriad ways both on and offline.
• Meanwhile, the internet has fast-forwarded the proliferation and decline of trends, and revealed new ways for communities to gather. Consumers can now be segmented in ways that extend far beyond demographics.
The complexity of the data available is enormous, but it must be harnessed if brands are to survive.
To compete in this world, businesses must be Consumer Fit.
What do we mean by that?
Consumer Fit is an active state of deeply and continually understanding consumers and buyers. That knowledge empowers decision makers across the organization to make effective, timely decisions that align with consumer needs.
Because of that deep, continual understanding, Consumer Fit companies can move faster, compete better, live longer, and have happier customers and shareholders.
How does a company become Consumer Fit?
1. Making a commitment
If organizations are to truly place the consumer at the centre of their actions, there must be commitment from every team, every exec, and every individual.
All initiatives must lead back to central questions like:
• Is this what our consumers want?
• Is this answering a need our consumers have?
That’s not to say that the spirit of the organization must be entirely malleable to the whims of rapidly changing consumer preference – brand values should still be central. Instead, it’s about finding opportunities that align with the brand’s central purpose and values as well as addressing consumer needs and responding to the wider context in which consumers live.
2. Removing barriers
Once the organization is committed to putting consumers first, there are a few other things that must be put in place.
Firstly, the eradication of siloes. We’ve sung this song for a long time, but never has it been more important for teams within an organization to share information, avoid duplication of work, and to be aligned on what is important to the consumer they all serve.
Secondly, the removal of bottlenecks and barriers that stifle agility. Real time research offers brands opportunities in real time. If processes aren’t in place for brands to seize those opportunities (whether it’s an urgent product update, getting involved in a trending conversation, or a crisis that needs immediate attention) then the research itself can be rendered redundant.
In the business of survival, quick adaption to game-changing shifts in the wider world can be the difference between life and death.
3. Finding the big questions and the gaps in knowledge
Every organization has an idea of what the consumers they’re targeting want, but not all of those ideas are based on genuine insights.
A useful way to think about the most business vital questions is to go from a clean slate. Instead of looking at the data currently available, think about the questions that need to be answered to understand what your company’s consumers want and need. What are their pain points? Are your current personas up to date, and based on actual customers?
From there, you can look at the data and tools available to answer those questions and work out where the gaps are.
4. Grasping the tools of survival
You’ve got a company-wide commitment to consumer focus. You’ve got the organizational structure that allows for agility. And you’ve gathered the questions that need answering to build the voice of the consumer into all your operations.
Now it’s time to find the consumer insights that can fuel the action, and for that you’ll need the right tools.
The platform Brandwatch is launching, Consumer Research, is aimed to help every organization on their journey towards being Consumer Fit.
Here are some key reasons to explore the possibilities with Consumer Research:
- Access the largest archive of consumer opinions: Instant access to the world’s largest library of consumer conversations. Enjoy vast data collection at speed
- AI-powered insights: Automatic detection and delivery of insights at a very large scale
- A trusted solution that scales with you
Before selecting your tool, it’s important to think about all the different ways it can answer your business critical questions, how it can empower your people, and how it can scale even further.
Once you’ve chosen, it’s about making the most of it. Staying true to the company’s commitment to being consumer-focused, ensure that teams receive proper training and are educated on the benefits of gleaning consumer insights. Exec buy-in is important, but the key to maintaining the constant search for these insights are the expert analysts who can champion the use of the platform in their team. These are the people who can drive innovation in the search for insights, so identify these champions early and encourage them where possible.
Again, make sure that the barriers between teams are kept down, so that insights and methodologies can be shared and used across the business.
5. Actioning insights, repeating the process
You’ve now got everything you need to be Consumer Fit, but the action comes down to you.
And, once insights are acted upon, the process must continue. Whether the insights have led to a new marketing campaign, a product update, or a change to customer service processes, it’s important to continue monitoring the results of those changes and to keep an eye out for new insights in those areas.
• A product update that comes as a result of collecting consumer opinion may lead to more feedback on the new features
• A change to customer service processes might lead to confusion – make sure to keep track of this to help educate anyone getting stuck
• Your new marketing campaign might be slick, but make sure you benchmark it against previous campaigns and look for opportunities to iterate it as you go
Being Consumer Fit is an ongoing process – one that constantly changes along with the landscape you operate within and the consumers you serve.
But with the right push across an organization, and with the right tools at hand, Consumer Fit can be a reality for every business.
This guide was originally created and published by Brandwatch.
Brandwatch is the world’s leading social intelligence company, with world-leading people at the heart of it. Our teams build intelligent software solutions that meet the needs of over 1,200 forward-thinking businesses, including Unilever, Whirlpool, British Airways, Walmart and Dell.