How Deeply Is Your Brand Embedded in Your Customers’ Cyberspace Life?

December 19, 2018

By Sebastian Jespersen

JoeZ/Shutterstock.com

People no longer go online. They live online. Digital addiction rules and in our contemporary era, this means an entirely different business model is needed. Artificial intelligence not only controls media buying, but trains, door locks, street lights, thermostats, and your Alexa assistant at home. We look at our phones incessantly. We've reached the point where even the tech titans wonder whether people are going online too much. We no longer just search, browse, or buy online; we live and breathe in a digital ecosystem.

Positioning a brand to gain share of mind is yesterday's mantra. Today, the driving force for growth is a new concept called Share of Life — or the depth of a brand's presence and meaningfulness in a person's 24-hour day.

Over the past three years I have worked with the advertising legend and founding father of one-to-one marketing, Stan Rapp, to develop a new doctrine for marketing and advertising that addresses the challenge of winning over consumers who are obsessed with life online. Given the many distractions of a digital age, earning a permanent place in the consumer's new way of life is a brand imperative.

Doing business at arm's length doesn't work anymore. A brand now needs zero degrees of separation to create a better life for users of today's products and services. The brand and the customer must literally become an "entangled twosome." In an interconnected society, there is no winning when your customer loses. By creating meaningful experiences that appeal to what your customers value, a brand becomes a partner; buyer and seller are bound together in shaping a mutually-rewarding relationship that leads to Share of Life.

Such an inseparable relationship can take place horizontally across interests and around the clock, or vertically within a specific passion. The difference lies in whether entanglement with the user's internet-governed activities happens across several aspects of daily life (horizontal entanglement) or is limited to just one (vertical entanglement).

Gaining share-of-life vertically often translates into "share-of-passion" with a person's ardent interest. Think of Nike, a great example of a retail brand that is constantly innovating and entangling with its customers vertically within the fitness and athletic wear space. On the other hand, Amazon started in e-commerce, then entered the music and the video streaming area, and is currently disrupting grocery shopping with Amazon Fresh and the new Whole Foods experience. It is competing for a larger share your life.

Whether your brand is operating vertically or horizontally, there is a simple yet impactful framework that can be used to operationalize the Share of Life concept, which we call the Share of Life C.R.E.E.D.

  • Ongoing Commitment: There are multiple pathways to create ongoing commitment to your brand. It can be financial (subscription based), tribal (joining up), supportive (goal oriented), or by some other form of entanglement.
  • Nonstop Reinforcement: Consciously reinforce the strength of your customer's commitment to your brand. Bolster whatever first attracted the person to your offering with a burst of beneficial surprises online. It's critical to make the customer feel special and to build trust by always listening.
  • Digital Empowerment: Empower the internet-focused customer with rewarding and enlightening online experiences that leverage data and insights, so they can do more with the brand's product or services.
  • Renewed Excitement: The degree of enthusiasm associated with a breakthrough product or service naturally fades over time. Maintain your digital extensions and continue with innovations that generate renewed excitement.
  • Major Development: The turmoil caused by disruptors leads to a parade of imitators. Stay ahead of them by broadening your entanglement online with the customer in a major way.

When it comes to putting the tenets of the Share of Life C.R.E.E.D into action, there are numerous pathways to follow. How well they are executed to entangle the brand and the customer in a mutually rewarding relationship is at the heart of building brands and a lifetime customer relationship in a digital economy.

Any brand, whether it is B2B or B2C, in retail or in oil and gas, is able to apply the C.R.E.E.D framework and is capable of earning Share of Life with its customers.

 

Sebastian Jespersen is the CEO and founder of Vertic, a born digital agency working with Fortune 500 clients, and specializing in digital solutions that enable brand growth through Share of Life.

 


The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.


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