Consumer Behavior: Putting the puzzle together.

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Over the past few weeks I’ve focused on theories, concepts, and tactics that lay the foundation of examining consumer behavior – building brand loveplanned behaviorself-conceptthe neuroscience behind behaviorcluster analysis to find complex correlations, and cultural branding, to name a few.

While they may seem as standalone topics on consumer behavior, these pieces work together to understand your audience or potential consumer from the inside out. From their innermost attitudes, intentions, and behaviors, to external motivating factors, to the world and society they identify with, each aspect builds a profile that can be applied to foster stronger brand equity.

At the end of the day, we [marketers] only have control over the structure, style, format, and delivery of the messages we send audiences. How it is interpreted or connects to an individual is at the mercy of that consumer. However, having an understanding and data-driven predictions on how consumers behave will allow us to deliver messages with the following key elements of branding:

Intention

Having a purpose behind each message and a clear plan tailored to your audience is essential to creating a strong brand image. While we may not have the ability to read minds, we can take the time to analyze thought processes, evaluate perceptions and beliefs, and collect data that will shape the way we speak to our audiences.

Aside from purpose, intention also has to come from an authentic place. Whatever your strategy – a new co-branded partnership to appeal to a specific audience or a move to be more socially responsible as a brand to draw positive attention – the decision has to make sense in relation to your brand. Gimmicks and solutions that do not feel natural to the brand identity will not resonate with audiences and could in fact have negative effects.

Utilizing proper research and consideration of social trends, cultural norms, and individual beliefs will be the key to strategizing with intention.

Meaning

Meaning is subjective, as it’s all left up to interpretation. When I discuss ‘meaning,’ I am referring to driving engaging interactions that strongly resonate with audiences.

By taking a look at emotions and their relationships to stimulus, we can begin to develop brand stories that will conjure the type of feelings we want to portray – nostalgia, happiness, envy, etc. Do it right and you’ll win over the hearts of audiences. The very best brands know how to nurture brand love and build lasting relationships.

Brands be like…

Impact

What is all this work for without the ability to drive positive impact and action? Motivation is complex, but figure out what will drive your audience to act and you having a winning solution. By meeting their needs, feeding desires, and strengthening intent, you will nurture an ecosystem that is sustainable and renewable, you will not only drive conversion but also loyalty and advocacy.

Think of impact as the spark that ignites invaluable WOM marketing – you attract the customer, you fulfill their need, they connect and engage with your brand, they are positively impacted by your brand and its image, they build loyalty to your brand, they advocate for the brand and share the love.

But like all successful relationships…it takes work. Individuals change, society changes, and our world changes as we see happening right now. However, the core concepts of consumer behavior remain a beacon while navigating the shifting tides. Applying these concepts and theories to your branding strategy will grant you the ability to remain relevant and connected as a brand to your consumer.

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