Your Customer Wants to be Part of Something Bigger

“Value speaks directly to what benefits a product or service adds to a customer’s life. Some smart brands get this and are using packaging, design, sourcing strategies and technologies to entice consumers to get them to open their wallet a bit more, even in these tough times.”

– Maureen Morrison & Matthew Creamer, “How P&G, Ford and Wendy’s Are Redefining Value

For decades, marketers have prodded consumers to associate value with low cost. Today, this strategy is becoming increasingly irrelevant as consumers pay more for the value of peace of mind. As a result, the cheapest and easiest marketing tactics are not always the most effective ways to get your audience’s attention. Today’s marketers must find ways to get consumers to connect with their brands with other factors like convenience, quality, lifestyle and innovation.

In a recent Nielsen report, “Consumers Who Care” 50 percent of respondents reported that they would be willing to pay more for goods and services if the companies they purchased from made a commitment to give back to society.

This sentiment is widely shared among respondents under age 30, although consumers ages 40 to 54 are increasingly agreeing with them – 38 percent more consumers ages 40 to 44 are now willing to pay more for goods and services at companies that give back compared to results just two years ago.

What does this mean to marketers? In an article published Crain’s Chicago Business, Cheryl Guerin, senior VP at MasterCard summed it up well, explaining, “Consumers are very focused on experiences right now. It’s a movement from being a collector of things to being a collector of experiences and stories that last a lot longer than the purchase of an item.”

Increasingly, consumers value brands that have depth and a mission behind their messaging. Dawn dish soap has done a stellar job at communicating its own mission to protect wildlife. In a recent commercial, the brand ditched its usual efforts at promoting soft hands to instead talk about something people can connect to: protecting wildlife. The commercial reminded consumers of its role in helping to save animals following the Deepwater Horizon Spill. The spot features heart wrenching images of oil laden penguins being cleaned with the soap and concludes with an announcement that the brand is donating 1 million dollars to wildlife rescue efforts.

For consumers with a soft spot for animals, there’s an insinuation that their Dawn purchase will become a part of a bigger effort to save wildlife. With messaging like that, consumers will find it hard to scrimp on dish soap.

Dawn is proving that value is not just about cost. As Guerin said, consumers are increasingly looking to become part of an experience that resonates with who they are – or even who they want to be.

Smart marketers understand that purchases are about more than the consumer’s basic need for a product or service. It’s also about how that purchase defines them.

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