By Thaiane Machado *
March 15 turned one more day to the retail industry? It seems so. There has been about a week since main brands began to publish unbeatable promotions in celebration of the World Consumer Rights Day (some even extended to Consumer Week, claiming that only one day isn’t enough). This date, which until recently was not even remembered, began to mark the calendar for the retail industry as a hot sales period, where commerce was already preparing for Easter and its chocolates.
But the point of this discussion is: what, in fact, should brands celebrate on this day, going well beyond a mega-offer in their shop windows? For some, it is a time to think about market strategies and to give the consumer a sense of bargain when deciding to buy a product or service. For others, it is an opportunity to reflect on this moment, about the role of the consumer in building their brand, and on the need to review approaches to engagement, commitment and preferences.
Let us try to answer this question, because we believe that the main question here is also in those who think about communication and publicity. And more, how much we have open innovation space for market research.
Number 01: Consumers have not changed. This was the first lie advertisers told about the whole movement in which brands and consumers occupy the same position. And it was not just the technology, the internet, “the world has changed” those responsible for bringing brands and consumers closer together. The help of technology is unquestionable, but they should not have this merit alone, after all, critical consumers, “complaints”, dissatisfied and who enjoy living experiences, have always existed. What has not changed, in fact, is the incorporation of a need that advertising still resists to take on effectively: to understand the pains, difficulties, gains and losses of this consumer to offer what he needs, not what supposedly what he either (or the creatives think they want). This space then creates a fertile field for market research. Thinking about methodologies to withdraw understanding of these aspects of the consumer is a step forward to innovate, in a segment that, for many, is limited to a quantitative research.
Number 02: Yes. Technology and all its tools have come to reverse relationships. Okay. We’ve already convinced ourselves that this may be true. However, we can not forget that the generations have changed over time, with which aspirations, beliefs and values have also entered this package of changes. Political, social, economic and cultural changes have never been taken into account by brands when it comes to thinking about real communication for these beings who are the fundamental parts of this “machine”. If advertisers were previously the faces of creation, the creative gods, today are being questioned about their real professional role and need to break old formulas that no longer work. Well, then, hasn’t the “world” changed? ” And again: “” Hello, researchers! Fertile ground for you here, too! ”
Number 03: Agencies and communications companies still do not know who their true consumers from their customers are. Retail industry still believes only in the old display advertising, which still believes that the senses are more important than desire or need. Does it work? It should work, see that unassuming walking to the mall turn into a shopping day. And certainly this is a segment of marketing that will change little over time, unless architecture fails to see the trade as a pharaonic spectacle (stealing a little of Lipovetsky’s thinking, in “The Estetization of the World” , when talking about the importance of shopping for consumption). We are still human beings who decide on impulse. In the meantime, we want to believe in a day when advertising agencies and media companies will generally do their homework by treating consumers as their actual consumers to their customers. Imagine communication being all designed, a strategic plan developed on the basis of real 360 ° consumer research surveys? What great discoveries will happen on that day!
Number 04: Yes. We have a long way to go. And we have a lot of “”food”” to feed us. The communication and publicity that we see today, carried out by most agencies, are still those taught by the nothing innovative curricula of the universities that form these professionals. They still focus on building a creative ad and forget that they need to have other skills, especially analytics. After all, hasn’t the world changed? But, will we be analysts enough to understand what lies behind this finding?
In the end, we could summarize all these points into one: we need more innovative methodologies that understand consumers, that can supply agencies, communication companies and brands with valid information , and that they are capable of making proactive decisions. This is what we believe is the main change in the relationship between consumers and brands.
* Thaiane Machado is a PhD student in Communication and Contemporary Culture (UFBA), Master in Communication and Contemporary Culture (UFBA) and Expert in Tendency Forecasting and Consumer Behavior (IESB). With over 10 years experience in Communication and Strategy Planning, Engagment Strategy Manager at eCGlobal Solutions.