Fostering connections beyond the holiday season

The holiday season presents an opportunity to draw new consumers to your brand and reconnect with past consumers. This is the time where customers are more willing to explore new flavours and experiences. In fact, they may be actively looking for innovative items and traditional favourites for stocking stuffers and gifts. However; a quick glance at any grocery store shelf or online shop will confirm that consumers have a lot of options to choose from. So how do you make your brand stand out?

A great ad or online promotion on Black Friday or Boxing Day can be used as a tool to bring consumers into your space. But the challenge is, how do you keep them coming back?

There has been a lot of conversation about enhancing the customer experience, but the pandemic, continues to evolve this experience with beverages. Consumers are interacting with their coffee and tea differently. They are drinking beverages from home instead of their local coffee shop, and those ordering from their local cafes use technology, including mobile ordering and meal delivery services, to do so. So how do brands build these connections without that consistent face-to-face contact?

In his talk, How We Can Refill Our Cup, at the recent Coffee Association of Canada conference, podcast host and expert marketer, Tony Chapman, addressed this challenge emphasising the difficulty in both gaining and maintaining consumer’s attention. “You need attention to teach, coach, market, and sell, “ said Chapman. “You need attention to attract the people that matter most to your business: specifically, the influencers, employees and your customers.” The challenge is that today’s world is extremely noisy; consumers are bombarded with content from a highly competitive marketplace, leaving most businesses starved for attention.

So, what is the secret to gaining that attention? According to Chapman, it is stories. However, not just any story will do. Brands need to invest the time to develop meaningful stories that recognise that the true hero of their story is their consumer. Fostering connections with our consumers begin by recognising that the reason why they continue to interact with our products, it is not because of the product itself, but how the product enhances their life.

It is about creating messages that shift the focus away from the products that we sell, to focus on both the needs and desires of the customers we connect with.

This begins by understanding your customers, and the quest that they are on, and becoming that brand that will allow them to become the hero. “Start personalising the story and understand that you are never the hero,” stressed Chapman. The true heroes of any brand are the people that matter the most to the company; this includes the customers, influencers, and the employees. However, to develop those impactful stories, brands need to invest the time to understand the quest that these individuals are on. It is about shifting the message away from what the product is to what the product can do for the consumer.

“The more that you can personalise your story and demonstrate that what you do will help them get to where they both deserve, and need to go, the better you will be at getting the attention that you deserve,” said Chapman.

  • Anne-Marie Hardie is a freelance writer, professor and speaker based in Barrie, Ontario. She may be reached at: [email protected].

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