It’s October, or the end of October to be more exact. Temperature drops dramatically and sun sets faster day by day. As 2012 is running fast to reach its end, I recently tend to spend a lot of time on reflecting and evaluating the year and making a list for the upcoming year. Reflecting upon the marketing trends of 2012 and reading some related articles here and there, I definitely agreed with Trendwatching‘s coverage for this month about the “Servile Brands” and thought it might be good to digest this healthy piece of information.
As the term “servile” clearly explains, the October’s trend briefing talks about brands that serve, assist and lubricate and how they are differentiated by doing so. Consumers of today can be described in following ways: 1) On demand; 2) Time-starved; and 3) Informed. With the richness of available information and digital utilities, people crave for brands that can empower them or offer them the freedom and flexibility to make the most of urban life. They expect the best of the online world wherein those online data become built-in to their offline experiences. At the same time, the abundance and increasing material affluence in consumer economies has led to an increasing feeling of being time-starved. Customers are demanding tools and services to help them get the most from the present moment, however brief. It’s all about the “Instant gratification and ultra-convenience”. Lastly, consumers increasingly turn to other consumers (family, friends, other users). Brands can no longer control their image, or perceived brand image through media channels.
In this market situation, then, brands need to do extra good job to please customers in ways they can’t even imagine. To further understand this servile attitude observed among the brands, the article lists down some key factors. Servile is:
- Letting customers try out first
- Helping customers monitor anything
- Helping customers find anything real-time
- Helping customers understand everything real-time
- Being there when customers truly need you, even if they didn’t realize it yet
- Picking up where the government isn’t
- Helping customers save money
- Helping customers start the day pleasantly
- Helping customers to make the most of it
- Bringing customers recommendations that actually make sense
- Making things more seamless for customers
Among these, I personally thought it is really important for brands to offer customers recommendations that actually make sense to them. In many cases, brands provide alternative choices and recommendations in order to continue telling consumers about how great the products and services they’ve got. It is usually not from consumer’s point of view. That’s why offering recommendations that actually make sense to the buyers, I believe, make the brand truly pertinent to its users.
Hellmann’s mayonnaise has been established in the Brazilian market for a period of time. Although it’s been quite successful with the running slogan, “Hellmann’s, a verdadeira maionese” (Hellmann’s, the true mayonnaise), the company wanted to increase its point of sales as this has been their major marketing challenge and change people’s perception of mayonnaise. A lot of people generally think mayonnaise is mainly for sandwiches in Brazilian context, and so it was hard for the company to motivate the customers to continuously purchase the product. The brand decided to take advantage of the moment when its customers had all the right ingredients at their hands, thus came up with the idea of “Hellmann’s Recipe Receipt”. In May 2012, Hellmann’s offered recipes tailored to the ingredients the shopper had just purchased. Custom software was installed in cash registers at Brazilian supermarket chain St. Marche. When a shopper bought a jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, the cash register recognized this and generated a custom recipe based on the mayonnaise and the other ingredients that were purchased, automatically printing this on the receipt. Instead of just providing some random recipe with Hellmann’s mayonnaise, this idea made it more personal and easier for each customer to use the mayonnaise with what she has just bought, making the whole brand experience more relevant. This marketing campaign for three months increased its sales by 44% and they are currently thinking of expanding its campaign to continue its sales revenue growth.
Check out the YouTube video for Hellmann’s Recipe Receipt with St. Marche
Of course, not all brands need to be servile. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or the dominant brand of the industry like Starbucks and Apple can definitely survive without this servile attitude. If you are not Louis Vuitton, Apple or anywhere closer to those giant conglomerates, make sure to double check that you are actually putting the basic principle of successful marketing into an action. As we all learned from our Marketing 101 classes, customers are the king and they own the brand. Like what Trendwatching says, it’s not about telling your customers that you are important, and they can have a slice of you if they pay for it. Instead, it’s about telling customers: “Whatever you need or want, we’re here to help” or even better, “We know what you want, we’ve already done if for you.” And to you, Mr. Marketer-of-the-day, servile brands means thinking about creating marketing that isn’t marketing. Don’t just keep pushing your customers, hoping that they will like it eventually. It’s better to start from the beginning if you don’t receive the expected feedback from them. To be more frank, restarting might hurt you less than rubbing your customers the wrong way.