Now that you’ve made it to 2021, you’re probably wondering how to optimize your brand strategy to recover — and potentially prosper — after a tumultuous year. The key to success will be meeting customer expectations. Unfortunately, that won’t be easy: Their standards are higher than ever.
After a global pandemic, social unrest, political tension, and more, your customers depend on companies to support and stand by them. This means that many will only interact with brands whose values align with their own. In fact, 63% of customers want to buy from companies that share their beliefs. Companies that fail to act on and communicate their mission will be unable to meet customers’ expectations.
Today’s audiences crave genuine interactions rather than lip service. Pre-pandemic marketing strategies won’t resonate with customers who have adjusted to life online and 6 feet away from others. People are looking for transparency, honesty, and connection. By focusing on these elements instead of your bottom line, you’ll be ready to thrive in 2021.
Why Expectations Are Higher Than Ever
Last year, many people felt like they had little control over their lives — let alone the world around them. Companies are in the same boat due to increased digitalization and the massive shift to e-commerce. Online competition is fierce, and negative reviews are just a few clicks away. If your digital storefront doesn’t meet customers’ needs, then they’ll take their business elsewhere.
Your digital assets, including your social media, website, and content, should feel cohesive and consistent. Discrepancies send mixed messages about your product or service, telling potential customers that you don’t care enough about your digital presence to make it look or sound nice. This isn’t a good message to send, especially when you consider that 57% of customers have stopped doing business with companies because competitors provide better experiences.
You cannot afford complacency, especially when it comes to your creative, content, and value proposition on digital channels. Digital advertising is expected to make up 50% of companies’ ad spends this year, so make sure you’re showcasing meaningful branding with the customer service to support it. Whether you’re a small company or a large organization, your customers’ expectations matter. Digital ads will bring customers through the “door,” but your value and service will win them over.
5 Strategies for Meeting Customers’ Demands
Customers are demanding more from companies this year, so you might have to make some adjustments to give them what they want. Here are five ways to meet your customers’ expectations in 2021 and beyond:
1. Evaluate your customer-facing digital assets.
Put yourself in your customers’ positions and take a hard look at your brand. Carefully audit your platforms and brand materials to ensure everything lines up with both your values and those of your customers. Be the brand customers can trust, especially after a year as trying as 2020. Earn customer loyalty by unifying your digital presence while promoting your values and experience.
2. Update your Messaging.
How are you talking about world events like COVID-19? Now is the time to examine the tone of your brand messaging and how well it resonates with your target audience. Are people reacting positively to what you’re publishing, or are you missing the mark and losing engagement? Customers won’t connect with your brand if your tone isn’t consistent and honest. If you need to, take some time to identify your brand voice and how customers feel about it.
3. Increase your digital ad spend.
Digital advertising is the best way to attract customers right now. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Ads can target your ads to help your messages reach the right people and gain the most traction. On Facebook, for example, you can narrow (or expand) the number of people who see your ads and retarget in a way that makes sense financially for your business. Just keep in mind that this only works well if you’ve synchronized your digital assets.
4. Take advantage of feedback.
Create feedback loops for your customers about their experiences with your brand. Surveys, for instance, can help you gain valuable insight into your audience’s mindset. Just remember to incentivize them properly. Alternatively, you can use social media and website analytics tools to collect data that helps you make decisions about your brand. Once you know what customers expect, make the appropriate adjustments.
Try something new.
The internet is crowded with competitors, so try new tactics to stand out. Set up a new campaign, newsletter, webinar series, or partnership to connect with people beyond your established customer base. Then, focus on providing excellent customer service via personalized experiences through your online and offline platforms. Customer service and brand value go hand in hand, so approach your marketing with that in mind.
Your current and prospective customers have endured 2020 and are demanding more in 2021. Meet their expectations by curating your brand image and experience accordingly. By being more mindful of those expectations, you’ll set yourself up for greater success moving forward.