According to Professor Jenni Romaniuk too many marketers want their customers to love their brands when the stark reality is most couldn’t give a stuff.
Romaniuk (pictured below) is associate director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia – the world’s largest marketing research centre and just released the book How Brands Grow Part 2 co-authored with Professor Byron Sharp.
According to Romaniuk, this idea that customers should love a brand is “romantic by nature” but adds, “romance doesn’t pay the bills”.
Romaniuk cited research published in the Journal of Advertising Research* that only four per cent of Australian males said they “loved” their favourite beer brand and “if you can’t get Aussie men to love their beer, what hope do our shampoo, canned tomatoes or toilet cleaner manufacturers have?” she added.
“As a profession, we are getting pretty clingy,” she said of the marketing profession. “We’re demanding consumers like us, follow us on Twitter, create videos about us.
“Recently I got this from Dropbox: ‘Simply tell us in 200 words or less why you love Dropbox. We plan to share our favourite answers on our content hub Drop Everything.’ Should I feel bereft I don’t have a story to share or that I don’t love Dropbox? I think we are in danger of customers taking out a restraining order on us!” Romaniuk said.
Adding to the whole customer loyalty thing, Romaniuk believes very few of us are ever 100 per cent loyal to any one brand.
“We now split our purchases over more brands. But this option proliferation is created by marketers rather than demanded by consumers. Curiously, in China the most common belief I have come across is there is no loyalty in China, people just buy on price,” she said adding that most countries she’s researched all display a similar amount of loyalty to a product.
From a customer experience point of view, Romaniuk said the biggest problem for brands is customers actually getting their hands on the actual product. Too often, she said, it’s fobbed off as a distribution issue when “there is so much more to making a brand easy to buy”.
Romaniuk agrees that marketers often talk about the customer journey but adds if you’re product stinks then the customer’s journey will be quickly forgotten.
And lastly, the good professor’s list of skills for any modern-day marketer?
“There are three,” she revealed “Skepticism. Ask for evidence when faced with yet another wacky branding idea so you don’t waste your time and resources.
“Agility. Have a test and learn mentality to quickly take advantage of new ideas in media/connecting with customers.
“Courage. To change your opinion when the evidence suggests you might be wrong. It’s more courageous to admit you have changed your mind than to stick to your old ideas in the face of contrary evidence.”
For more information on Professor Jenni Romaniuk’s How Brands Grow Part 2 click here.
*Rossiter, J. R. and S. Bellman (2012). “Emotional branding pays off: How brands meet share of requirements through bonding, companionship, and love.” Journal of Advertising Research 52(3): 291-296.