How new brands can bring down Goliaths
Vicky Abad has 27 years of marketing and research experience in the arena of creating innovative products and solutions and helping build great brands.
She is currently chief client officer for the Insights group of Kantar Philippines, where she leads collaboration across operating brands.
Q1: In the consumers’ path to purchase, where should a market challenger intercept competitors?
Vicky: Ideally, brands should be able to intercept competition at discovery phase. This is to ensure that the brand will be given a good chance to be considered even before the consumer forms a clear opinion about another brand, at which point it may already be difficult to change initial decision.
However, as (Kantar PH chief executive Gary de Ocampo) already mentioned, there are other points in the purchase path that may either support or undermine, encourage or discourage, facilitate or inhibit actual purchase by shoppers.
When a challenger brand can’t compete against strong and established bigger brands, the point of sale provides other opportunities to win where it really matters—closing the sale. Therefore, market players (be they leaders or challengers) should compete strongly in the following:
First, the offer of delivering true value for money should be supported by access and convenience. Even if you’re offering value, if you’re not available or you’re extremely hard to find, you won’t get much traction.
A challenger brand simply must be available when and where the target shopper needs to buy the category. There is always a chance that availability can trump equity at the moment of need.
Second, with online search for information [having become a] new primary step in the path to purchase, it is key to make product/brand information easily accessible and available on every relevant platform. [It should also be] presented in a compelling manner.
The third one is about amplifying positive experience in various communication channels. This includes testimonials as well as viral positive feedback on social media.
Good management of online assets and activities can [boost] the creation of user-generated content that shares the positive product experience of both new users and regular users.
This could also include content that encourages potential buyers to decide in the brand’s favor.
Q2: How different is path to purchase between brick andmortar stores and online platforms?
Vicky: Everyone knows that the internet has provided an avenue for consumers to study and consider their choices more extensively prior to actual purchase—irrespective of whether they will consider to buy via the traditional retail outlets or online stores. Even social media has afforded a platform to get more actual buyer experience and feedback, both positive and negative, before a final consideration is set. Interaction between and among consumers is likewise facilitated, allowing for a more diligent search of options to meet one’s needs.
While brick and mortar purchases still allow for a more hands-on experience prior to purchase, we see how online is already providing more before and after sales options, trial uses or return purchases as needed should the consumer feel that they did not get exactly what they paid for or are about to pay for.
On actual purchase, we see how both channels now allow not just credit card purchases, but also cash purchases. Online transactions will continue to have the more convenient advantage of [allowing customers to order] remotely as well as delivering goods direct to consumers. And convenience will be something that, more and more, consumers will be seeking.—CONTRIBUTED
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