Q&A - Why brands are struggling to create consumer closeness
Consumer closeness is all about connecting brands with their consumers, to put them at the heart of decision making. Yet, it’s much easier said than done, with many brands struggling to get it right.
I sat down with Talkwalker’s CEO Tod Nielsen to find out more.
See how Talkwalker gets you closer
What is consumer closeness?
Tod: Consumer closeness is about putting consumers at the heart of your business decisions. At first, that sounds easy. Yet we’re finding that the fast-changing digital world we live in makes this harder than ever. When I speak with executives they tell me that they know consumers are telling them what they want - but these executives feel like their company doesn’t know how to hear, respond to, or react to what consumers are telling them..
Digitalization has created more global competition, so if a brand doesn’t learn how to put their consumer first, consumers won’t put that brand first. Instead, they’ll jump to whoever offers a service, a product, or an experience that is more aligned with their needs.
Being closer to your consumer prevents this, and provides businesses with the confidence and reassurance that their next decision, their next campaign, or their next strategy, will be the best one for their audience.
Why is it important for businesses to be consumer close?
Tod: Because if you’re not close to your consumer, your competitors will be. Consumers are changing constantly, even from one day to the next, and brands need to be close and anticipate these changes.
Consider companies like Blockbuster - they didn’t adapt to the growing consumer desire for instant streaming, and quickly their business model became obsolete. Borders was another example that failed to change in the face of the digital age.
And now changes are accelerating. Speed is the new currency. Post-pandemic consumers are different, with constantly evolving needs and demands. It would be easy to call consumers fickle, but life is now moving so fast, with so many unpredictable changes impacting people’s lives, consumers will change from one day to the next. The current economic climate is demonstrating that, with many people having to rapidly adjust their lifestyles and spending habits.
The only way brands can keep on top of this, to avoid irrelevancy, is to understand what consumers want now, and what they'll want in the future. And that’ll lead to success and growth, as leading-edge brands focused on customer-centricity grow nearly 3x faster than the industry average.
Why are brands struggling with consumer closeness?
Tod: To get closer to your consumers, you need to get to know them. The reasons why brands struggle to manage this effectively, is that it needs expertise in four different areas, and often these aren’t prioritized:
Listen to them where they are
To connect with consumers, you need to gather data from the sources that matter most to them. Every community is different, with its own preferred areas of conversation (social networks, forums, etc.), so ensuring you’re monitoring the most relevant sources to your consumers is vital to being consumer close.
By combining this with internal data, such as customer feedback and reviews, you can build a comprehensive understanding of your audience, and use that data to inform your consumer-focused campaigns.
Hear the nuggets in all of the “noise”
To manage all of that consumer data effectively, you need the help of AI. Enterprise businesses can generate millions of mentions every day, which would be impossible to handle manually.
AI does the heavy lifting for you, turning all that data into valuable, actionable intelligence. With it, you can quickly classify and cluster data to reveal key topics and trends.
This enables you to manage your data, and action it in real time, so you can stay ahead of consumers, and adapt your business to meet consumer needs, even as they change.
Make it accessible
There’s no benefit to having all those insights, if they’re not accessible. You need a platform that can democratize that data across your business, putting the right insights into the hands of the right people. This ensures consumer data drives all aspects of the business, from marketing for product innovation.
Clever visualizations are also critical here. We’re all living busy lives. Insights should be quick and easy to comprehend, so your business can respond to the latest data as it comes in.
Focus on human insight
You can’t forget that behind every piece of data, is a human story. There’s passion, anger, fear, a full range of emotions, driving every conversation, and to really comprehend the cultural impact of your brand, you need human expertise. Only then can you uncover the reality of your data, and use it to create emotionally-charged campaigns that resonate with consumers.
Why is Talkwalker the best solution for getting you closer to your consumers?
Tod: Our vision and commitment is to help our customers close the consumer closeness gap. Not just between our clients and their consumers, but also between our clients and Talkwalker. We are continually innovating solutions that our customers’ need, not just for today, but for the unpredictable future.
We already have a headstart in the race, with market-leading solutions:
- 360° consumer data in real time - with the broadest source of unstructured consumer data and open platform able to process internal data sources.
- Award winning AI technology - with a track record of many industry firsts including image/video recognition, multi-language sentiment analysis, and industry-specific models.
- A flexible platform - with customization to meet every client’s needs.
- Human expertise - driven by our recent integration of discover.ai
Conversation Clusters are just one of the visualizations from the Talkwalker platform that makes understanding data easy. In this example, it reveals the conversation topics consumers were having around popular Christmas adverts from December 2021.
What does the future hold for consumer closeness?
Tod: I think that succssful brands are going to be closer to consumers, understand their needs, requirements, and preferences better than before. Brands will anticipate new ways to serve and more effectively meet these needs. Have you ever wondered if your favorite brand had a product that did what you were looking for? And when you looked, you found exactly what you were looking for? This will become a common experience in the future. Consumers are going to be able to get exactly what they are looking for and get it when they want it… all of this will be possible because brands are going to be getting closer to consumers.
Dan: Thanks Tod. It’s pretty clear that Talkwalker is the best way for brands to get closer to their consumers. To discover more, you can request a free demo below.