By Terry Barber
Nov. 1, 2012
Entitlement. The belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges. There is little that ruins a relationship more over a long period of time than for one side to feel entitled to that which began as a good, kind gesture on the part of the other side. But, this probably explains best the dominant relationship between consumer and brand in today's market.
Marketers have always looked for ways to connect their message to the need of the market ... Marketing 101, right? But what happens when the market begins to shift psychologically? Unfortunately, brands have for too long been very slow to take time to actually connect with the emotional aspirations of consumers and instead, just talk louder. It is assumed by a brand that the reason we are not getting our message through is because people cannot hear us, so, let's crank up the volume. However, regardless of how loud and how frequently a brand may be yelling, it might have little to do with the customer not hearing it. Brands are just promising that which is now being assumed by its customer base.
There was a time when groups like the Good Housekeeping Institute played a unique role and were therefore cherished by brands to be tested and approved in order to gain the much-recognized and appreciated seal. Though these groups continue to thrive, it is not because customers are making buying decisions based on an endorsement beyond that of their community of trusted fellow customers. Being trusted is still meaningful, but it is now a consumer entitlement.
The story of Trust is not that different for the other two big customer entitlements: Quality and Lowest Price. Both meaningful but now assumed and policed by consumers. Even so, many brands continue to act as if people just don't hear what they are saying.
In the latest research by Performance Inspired on America's Most Inspiring Companies, 2,165 consumers took part in an online survey that provided insight into what is behind their decisions to purchase, to remain loyal, and to evangelize their favorite brands. And their responses said little about endorsements, quality, or even lowest price.
Respondents were first asked if there was even such a notion in their minds as an "inspiring company” – 87 percent responded favorably. The follow up questions were then: who are these companies, why are they considered inspiring and, what does that motivate you to do?