Is ‘wantedness’ something that marketers need?

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Mar 23, 2017
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Sarah Chane, Senior Client Strategy Partner, rDialogue.

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the rDialogue blog.

It’s not enough for customers to be loyal to brands; brands must be loyal to customers.

A recent Wunderman study contends that there is a new measure of customer engagement called “wantedness” or “the degree to which a brand provides their commitment to earning a customer’s business across every touch point.”

We don’t believe, though, that there is a single strategy that applies to all brands. Not every product category warrants a relationship. In fact, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review reports that most brand loyalty is simply habit, with inertia responsible for loyalty more than anything else.

Is wantedness right for your brand? Consider these three factors.

Customer Identification

Customer identification is central to that one-to-one relationship. For example, when you capture a phone number at the point-of-sale, you are enabling the link between your brand and the customer.

Identification can be trickier for brands that sell to customers indirectly through a store like Target. While technology can tie the customer to a product purchase, what’s missing is the permission to enable that relationship. When I buy cereal from Target, I expect them to send me cereal offers. When I hear from Cheerio’s directly, I’m less inclined to engage.

Real Engagement

Does your brand engage directly with consumers? You don’t need a physical store to build relationships, just a mechanism for ongoing dialogue.

Take StitchFix, the online women’s clothing curator. After each “Fix”, you can provide feedback to your stylist regarding your next shipment. That’s creating a relationship.

Knowing Your Limits

Sometimes the product category dictates the level of customer engagement, as some are highly transactional while others are more emotional. The question is, which brands are you more likely to engage with: the brand that makes your favorite kitchen sponge or your favorite retailer who always recommends the right thing?

Wantedness is the right idea: show your customers you appreciate them at every step of the customer lifecycle. But it’s just not that simple. As with life, wantedness is a serious commitment that sets new standards in customer relationships.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that not all brands or retailers can aspire to a “wantedness” level of engagement with consumers? Which categories would you be more likely to put on your wantedness list?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Knowing where consumers set a boundary and not crossing it is what separates good relationships from bad."
"I’m not certain I agree with the statement that not all brands or retailers can aspire to this level of engagement with consumers."
"Many brands don’t aspire to be wanted, and don’t care. Most house brands only want to be “like” the national brand."

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12 Comments on "Is ‘wantedness’ something that marketers need?"


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Max Goldberg
Guest

Brands may want to establish relationships with consumers, but when do marketing efforts cross the line and become creepy? Each time they use a loyalty card, consumers know that their purchase habits are being tracked by many retailers. And many consumers appreciate receiving coupons for items they frequently purchase. Consumers generally like to receive information that makes their lives easier, such as ways to get the best use from a product. But most consumers don’t want brands, either retailer or manufacturer, to be overly intrusive in their lives. Knowing where consumers set a boundary and not crossing it is what separates good relationships from bad.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

I agree — and it makes me wonder whether this will get taken too far. I’ve never seen a study proving (or seriously suggesting) that shoppers want to engage with a lot of things they buy. I don’t want a deep relationship with my breakfast cereal, my toilet paper or my window cleaner. Nor do I need to have a meaningful experience with the manufacturers of those products.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
Guest

Marketing is about generating “want” and alignment with the values of the brand. All brands have to aspire to being wanted. It is the order of the natural world. Our earth is a place of change and the intrinsic attributes and value that we unconsciously place on wantedness defines the character and the outlook for that brand. To be wanted is the expression of the desire to be of value to the world.

Ben Ball
BrainTrust

Good grief. Our propensity for dreaming up new ways to express constant truisms will never cease to amaze. We started out with “high touch — low touch” and have evolved to “wantedness.” It’s still all about brands that deliver their promise and retailers that deliver great customer service and meet shopper needs for a segment better than anyone else geographically accessible to that shopper which, with online shopping, means anywhere in the world.

david salisbury
Guest

Brands have to cater to the values of their customers. In the experience and on-demand economy this is more important than ever. Remember, the idea that Millennials and Generation Z are less loyal is a myth. But what makes a consumer “loyal” has changed significantly.

Corporate social responsibility in 2017 has gone mainstream. The best ads have always been emotional. The most emotional thing a brand can do is to do good with impact. Doing good means different things to different segments of customers.

Without significant data on their customers, this kind of targeting wouldn’t be possible. Social campaigns need to mirror the values and preferences of the customer.

Nir Manor
BrainTrust

“Wantedness” or a higher level of engagement from a brand to its customers and vice versa may be relevant in high-involvement categories and with big-ticket items, especially lifestyle purchases such as mountain bikes, hiking gear, luxury cars, high-end fashion, premium consumer electronics and the like. It is much less relevant to FMCG because the involvement in buying shampoo or cereals is much lower.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader
3 years 9 months ago
I don’t see this as a new concept. “Wantedness” is what all marketers aspire to. In reality, this isn’t going to work for all brands/products. FMCG products, for example, are generally seen as a commodity by consumers. Loyalty for these products will be granted to the retailer they are bought from rather than the product in most cases. And there is some truth to “habit” being the driving force here. For example, look at the grocery segment. Most people shop at the same grocery store out of habit, not necessarily out of blind loyalty. Where “wantedness” has a greater role to play is with luxury goods. Whether they are apparel, electronics, etc., this gets more interesting when we look at more expensive products/brands and this is where the experience factor enters. What retail brands generate wantedness? Apple, REI and Sephora. These are all stores that customers WANT to shop at and visit just to see what they can find. They’re not stores customers go to when they “need” to, it’s clearly a want. Other brands… Read more »
Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

I’m not certain I agree with the statement that not all brands or retailers can aspire to this level of engagement with consumers. When I think of iconic brands across all product lines, I think of Rolls Royce, Rolex, Ducati, Hermes, etc. These are brands that captivate “loyalists” even if those loyalists cannot afford to own those products. There are plenty of enthusiasts for these brands, and those brands are more than dedicated to their consumers. Such brands need not necessarily be luxury brands. The brand and/or retailer may signify a hobby, a personal passion or whatever for the consumer. So this aspect of a consumer not even owning the product yet still exhibiting the effects of the “wantedness” of the brand shows that any brand can aspire to this. And in some cases it can happen overnight with the power of social sentiment these days.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

Many brands don’t aspire to be wanted, and don’t care. Most house brands only want to be “like” the national brand. Thousands of brands focus strictly on price (the dollar stores are full of these), and focus on becoming an impulse buy, not a wanted product.

Guy Mucklow
Guest
Guy Mucklow
President and Co-Founder, PCA Predict
3 years 9 months ago

The idea of loyalty being a two-way-street between customers and brands is becoming increasingly important in today’s retail world. Effective marketing techniques will always be vital to a company’s bottom line. However, aspiring to a “wantedness” level of engagement with customers will both increase a business’ revenue and build brand loyalty.

In today’s digital world, reaching this level of engagement is now within reach for all retailers. Technologies such as address verification and chatbots work to personalize the shopping experience to each individual customer. Both facilitate obtaining quality customer data, which retailers can leverage to make product recommendations based on past purchases, offer coupons based on a customer’s shopping habits, and better tailor the overall experience to customer needs.

Every retailer’s wantedness list must include getting to know a customer and their unique needs, and this starts with collecting quality data.

Scott Magids
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

It’s not just higher-end brands and luxury goods that need to create a level of wantedness. Commodity items, which are largely the same between brands, need it even more as a way of capturing a greater share of a business that is often driven by price. For example, toasted “O” shaped breakfast cereal made from oats and sugar are offered by dozens of brands, and are mostly identical. Why does Cheerios have more “wantedness” than dozens of others? The house brand’s primary motivator is price. But Cheerios — as evidenced in their heart-warming ad campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi — establishes a higher level of “wantedness” by appealing to a different emotional motivator that transcends price and appeals to a desire to be closer with one’s family.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust
Ken Morris
Managing Partner Cambridge Retail Advisors
3 years 9 months ago
I think all retailers should aspire to a “wantedness” model. While high-priced and frequently-purchased products are obvious retail categories that will benefit from achieving a wantedness level of customer loyalty, every retailer would benefit from enhanced customer relationships across every touch point. Developing an emotional connection with the brand is a stronger way to enhance loyalty than offering rewards or discounts. The example of customer identification at checkout mentioned in the article above is a sub-optimal strategy. If you don’t identify customers until they are paying for their purchases, it is too late to influence purchase decisions. Retailers need to identify customers as soon as possible — ideally as they enter the store — to personalize the shopping experience and influence the purchase decision. In addition to personalizing the shopping experience in the store to drive wantedness, savvy retailers are also building stronger customer bonds with curated shopping and personalized products as well as contextual information like time of day, weather, etc. Curated shopping involves the creation of exclusive product lines to provide customers with… Read more »
wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Knowing where consumers set a boundary and not crossing it is what separates good relationships from bad."
"I’m not certain I agree with the statement that not all brands or retailers can aspire to this level of engagement with consumers."
"Many brands don’t aspire to be wanted, and don’t care. Most house brands only want to be “like” the national brand."

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