Are you Worth It?
January. After the excesses of Christmas, it’s typically a month of regret, penance and buyer’s remorse. A reflective time where we ask, was it all worth it? In my case, this came half way through the Zara returns queue. If you know, you know.
With plenty of time, it got me thinking. This idea of whether a brand is worth it or not comes up again and again both in and out of work. With so many options, new priorities and subscriptions to commit to, we’re constantly evaluating the brands we choose. Even who we choose to follow on social media.
From inside the looking glass, it’s essentially our job to prove and justify that a brand is in fact worth it. Beyond how good the products are, how cheap, quick or easy it is, a great deal of that worth is found in how you leave your consumers feeling. A feeling that’s greatly influenced by the service you provide.
And service is more than an FAQ page masquerading as a chatbot or shop assistants turned brand evangelists. It’s something that permeates every single touchpoint of your brand. Consumers have evolved in the way they engage with brands and what they expect from them, so it stands to reason that the journey for them is no longer linear. Instead, it’s more a constellation of opportunities to impress. Not solely about before the sale, but the after – and vice versa.
Those who write that customer service is dead, write click bait. Loyalty may be circling the drain but building relationships are what it’s all about – whether that’s a long-term commitment or something more polyamorous. I’m not usually one for LinkedIn fodder but something I read has stuck with me recently. “Marketing is like asking someone on a date, branding is the reason they say yes.”
The gist of it is, don’t make promises you can’t keep. What certainly isn’t worth it as a consumer (to stick with our dating analogy) is feeling catfished or ghosted. Instead, know your strategy and know your consumer. The only way you can determine whether you’re worth it is if you know what they value. What do they care about? What annoys them? Build your service out of the pillars of your business.
Monzo created a whole new style of banking by positioning their brand around how terrible traditional banks are. For a digital crowd tired of hold music (if you DO need help that is) it’s all there at your fingertips. A personable tone of voice, straightforward user guides and intuitive interface all stems from Monzo’s key promise ‘banking made easy’. Definitely worth it.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have budget businesses like Ryanair, who customers shop with based on price and the route/time available. A business where adds-on and baggage penalties make you question whether life is worth it, never mind the brand. Above-and-beyond service isn’t their strategy though, it’s not what we go to them for and it’s not what they pretend to be. They focus on new rather than building existing – it’s a model that works for them and ticks a box.
That’s fine. But is it good enough? How long is that sustainable for?
It’s easy to confuse valuing a deal with exploiting a budget. And I can’t help but think that the shifts we’ve seen in consumer drivers – climate change, self-care, the pleasure revolution, anti-capitalist sentiment… – signal an awakening in what people want/are willing to put up with. More frequently, we’ll tackle the challenge of convincing people to buy on brand over price.
Brands – it’s January. Now and here on in. Are you worth it?
Natalie, Creative Strategist.