Why customers

Digital has taught us that customers create the £-value in brands

Post-digital, the imperative for brands isn’t to ‘listen’ to customers, but to properly hear and act on the stuff that matters to them.

Customers are inextricably linked to money: they drive sales, fuel growth and feed brand valuations.  Yes, brands create value for customers, but the crucial thing digital taught us is that customers create the £-value in brands.

Post-digital customers

It took customers less than a decade to master smartphones, social media and 24/7 connectivity.  Now, they are post-digital, in that they take all the wonderful things digital has given them for granted, and have moved on. 

Yet that’s only half the story: customers have mastered digital, but digital has changed customers profoundly and irreversibly.  The unprecedented power – and means to leverage this – that digital put in customers’ hands has:

  • driven a deep, permanent shift in their behaviours, expectations, attitudes, and loyalties;
  • made them far less forgiving and much more susceptible to tech-based competition.

All this creates a new norm and raises the bar for brands.  The truth digital taught us – that customers create the £-value in brands – is even truer, post-digital.  Now more than ever, it’s vital for brands to understand, and play into what matters to customers.

‘Understanding Post-digital Customers’: a major new study

We wanted to understand more about who post-digital customers are – their lives, behaviours, expectations, attitudes, and loyalties – and how they view themselves as ‘customers’ in this new, post-digital world.

Our ground-breaking study of post-digital customers – bringing together ethnography, journalism, film and photography, with in-home interviews and a large-scale research study – will be published in early 2018.

© Quadrangle 2017

Request a copy of the ‘Understanding Post-digital Customers’ report   

What this means for brands.

Once upon a time brands could get away with talking about, rather than actually being customer-focused. That’s no longer sustainable.

The new norm means customers have little interest in brands ‘listening’ to them: they want to be heard, and for brands to act on what they say.

This grows ever more important as tech players establish themselves in the spaces between brands and their customers, and the digital agenda evolves from disruption to displacement.

The risk for brands is that tech-based competitors build direct relationships with their customers, starve brands of oxygen, and hollow out previously-viable business models.

Three challenges
Three challenges for brand decision makers fall out of all this:

  1. to leverage digital’s strengths, without allowing tech-based competition to erode the brand’s essential connection with customers.
  2. to cut through the endless flow of customer info coming into the brand, to focus on what matters (‘the signal’), and ignore all else (‘the noise’).
  3. to ensure ‘what happens’ in the business – brand strategy, delivery and measures – is aligned with, and plays into ‘what matters’ to customers.

And that, in essence, is what we help ambitious brands do.