Forbes points to customers, brands and engagement

Happy New Year. 2014 promises to be a year full of challenges, but one full of plenty of opportunities as well. Indeed, many pundits and analysts predict that 2014 will open the door to a number of marketplace and technological developments that companies from all industries and all sizes should take note of. Many of the trends include a focus on brand loyalty and customer experience, as well as data integration that drives engagement and marketing strategies that simplify and resonate.

Forbes magazine recently reviewed over 100,000 consumer assessments to identify the top trends for 2014. Here are just a few.

Consumers Expect More: Over the past 5 years consumer expectations have increased on average 20%. Brands have kept up by only 5%, a big gap between what’s desired and what’s delivered. The ability to accurately measure real, unarticulated expectations, will provide significant advantages.

Attention Must Be Paid to Brands: Increased expectations come with a greater sense of product and service commoditization. You may be known, but you need to be known for something meaningful and important to consumers.

Real Brand “Engagement”: For too long engagement has been associated with attention levels. Successful marketers will link “engagement” to how efforts increase how well the brand is perceived versus the Category Ideal, and a metric that correlates highly with loyalty, sales, and profitability.

Digital Done Right: With digital diversification getting bigger, and with more channels, brands need to shift their question from “should I be here?” to “what should I do now that I am here?” Success will be linked not to outreach, but brand differentiation and emotional engagement.

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