How do businesses offer added value to their customers?
By Cillian Wilson - Dec 19th 2018, 11:01
There was a time where a great product or a great service could attract enough attention on their own. With the rise of technology heightening the competition between businesses and the immense changes that the mass adoption of the internet has brought, though, that great product or service now needs to be accompanied by something more.
The brands that endure are those that establish an emotional attachment with consumers. This can be achieved in a variety of ways: loyalty schemes that incentivise repeated custom, written content that imparts relevant and interesting information around a service, and promotional appearances in other forms of media. Let's take a look at how brands add value to their offering.
Loyalty cards have proven to be so effective because gains can be made with no extra expenditure of effort beyond the swipe of a card. The Subcard gives an extra incentive to shoppers so that, if they are buying lunch out of home, it seems convenient - and profitable - to do so at Subway. The accumulation of points gives Subway the edge over other sandwich shops and supermarkets, with the prospect of securing free food attractive to those with a Subcard. The world's biggest fast-food chain, with over 44,000 Subway branches across 112 countries, will likely attempt to grow its relatively small presence in South Africa in the coming years. That loyalty scheme will contribute to quickly developing a loyal consumer base. This incentivisation extends into other forms of hospitality.
The Waffle House in Ramsgate is just one restaurant that offers a loyalty card, with customers receiving rewards when scanning their card on their tenth visit to the acclaimed eatery in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province. Whether with global brands like Subway or village restaurants like The Waffle House, South Africans have demonstrated an increasing receptiveness to loyalty schemes. Business Tech reported last year that four out of five South Africans used loyalty programmes, taken from a survey of over 28,000 participants. Clicks ClubCard ranked as the most popular loyalty programme, giving consumers 1 point for every R5 spent. Clicks' move to replace paper vouchers with virtual points elevated the scheme above South Africa's preferred loyalty programme of 2016, Pick n Pay Smart Shopper.
Written content can help a brand differentiate from its competitors. By offering a new perspective on familiar subjects, websites can give consumers a multi-faceted browsing experience that encompasses the acquisition of knowledge as well as the site’s primary purpose. Brands can showcase their expertise in their sector and optimise for SEO using such articles, infographics and blog posts, so they are eager to do so.
For instance, a game like roulette is widely available on the internet, a reflection of its status as a classic casino game. Most people are familiar with the game's concept, but Betway Casino also offers an article on the history of roulette that discusses its origins and its appearances in contemporary media, in order to not only inform but entertain. Gaming can often be a pursuit removed from social context, so this type of guide is effective in giving greater depth to the experience. The same is true of dining; food is frequently enjoyed in isolation of its history, particularly when ordering home delivery. Deliveroo’s Foodscene blog counters this by providing suggestions of popular dishes to try using their service while presenting background information about their creation and cuisine.
Cashing in on the 'Instagrammable' food trend, they make sure each of these articles is accompanied by eye-catching images of said dishes embedded from the social media website, too. Likewise, Airbnb brings a sense of attachment to a traditionally functional process, with its blog that tells tales from the Airbnb community emphasising the human connection that lies underneath the hiring of accommodation across the world.
In other media
Econsultancy reflected on fashion retailer Missguided’s partnership with ITV hit Love Island as a triumph, with the reality show gripping the UK for a few weeks. By linking up with the Love Island app, Missguided enabled viewers to easily purchase items that caught their attention during the show. Marketing Week noted how this gave Missguided a 40% sales boost between 7 pm and midnight, a period that included the time when a nation sat down to watch the reality show. Energy drink heavyweight Red Bull has invested its resources in the lucrative market of sport.
Red Bull has stamped its brand over football clubs from Leipzig and Salzburg, with the German and Austrian side even coming face-to-face in the Europa League this season. The energy drink also lends its name to a Formula One team, with the prestige from its 2010 championship title accounting for 75% of the Red Bull’s pre-tax profits of £2.8 million that year. This is more than just the standard advertising that fills sport, but a blurring of the lines between brand and team.
Missguided’s prominence in Love Island and Red Bull’s publicity in sports is dwarfed by the blatant promotional nature of The LEGO Movie, with the success of the film illustrating how an audience can be receptive to entertainment that is, at its core, branded content. With a rating of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, The LEGO Movie demonstrates a receptiveness to flagrant product placement as long as it’s compelling. Having stars like Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Ferrell on board couldn't have hurt either but is rather a testament to the already huge allure of the LEGO brand.
Whether gamifying the consumer experience with the introduction of rewards, supplementing a product with interesting written content or capitalising on the popularity of other media, it is more important than ever for businesses to diversify beyond their core product or service.
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