Maintaining the multi-channel brand voice

Can organisations still rely on brand loyalty in the battle for customers? Perhaps surprisingly given the tough economic climate, Ernst & Young’s Consumer Barometer shows that across 34 global markets 40 per cent of customers still cite brand loyalty as a determining factor in any buying decision.

David Webber is the managing director of Intelligent Environments. Webber joined Intelligent Environments in 2012, bringing over 15 years hands-on experience of the financial services software industry.

Webber is responsible for the day-to-day running of Intelligent Environments, working closely with all divisions of the business to effectively determine and define the organisation’s overall strategy, strategic partnerships and global marketing communications.

Prior to joining the organisation, he was chief executive at electronic trading, risk and exchange systems provider, Patsystems Group, a role he held for six years. While in this position Webber led a geographically diverse team across seven global offices and oversaw exponential growth across all markets, particularly in the Asia Pacific region as well as the identification and execution of a major acquisition in the US. Before this he was the chief executive and managing director of retail financial systems provider, AttentiV, a role he held for eight years.

 

Can organisations still rely on brand loyalty in the battle for customers? Perhaps surprisingly given the tough economic climate, Ernst & Young’s Consumer Barometer shows that across 34 global markets 40 per cent of customers still cite brand loyalty as a determining factor in any buying decision.

This trend is amplified online, with new research from e-commerce and digital marketing provider EPiServer revealing that 57 per cent of online shoppers prefer to shop from a handful of their favourite websites, rather than using the platform to seek out a lower price.

With the number of Britons shopping online expected to multiply in 2013, both retailers and financial institutions will need to make the most of this opportunity to win customers and retain existing ones – ensuring the online shopper finds the convenient and familiar experience online that they have previously enjoyed on the high street.

Brand loyalty is inextricably tied to customer experience, and the emergence of digital channels means that there are more customer touch points than ever before. Consumers are now using a combination of channels to access clothes shops, the supermarket, and their bank account, and expect to see the same intuitive user experience across whichever channel they choose for any one transaction.

Whilst the rapid rise of e-commerce has forced most retailers to become adept at communicating their online brand, many banks have failed to perfect the experience.

However, as competition in the banking sector gains pace in 2013, with non-traditional entrants such as tech companies and mobile operators moving into the financial services space, banks cannot afford to fall behind. They need to monopolise on resilient customer trust – recent YouGov research commissioned by Intelligent Environments revealed that a strong majority of consumers (60 per cent) still trust their banks the most with financial services, out of all the brands they interact with regularly. Supermarkets are trailing behind at just 3 per cent.

As consumers sweep from channel to channel, financial institutions and retailers must take advantage of these customer touch points, providing a service that is not only functional, but also communicates the brand value and experience that they wish to convey. The challenge is to ensure that the user experience is consistent, seamless, and intuitive across all channels.

For those banks and retailers who manage to achieve this, the potential rewards are far reaching. Maintaining brand loyalty is a given, but organisations will also find themselves with an increased ability to target customers with a new e-marketing channel which can serve as a messaging tool to alert customers to relevant products, promotions and services across all devices.

The fact is that customers not only seek a strong multi-channel experience, they expect and demand it. With a number of competitors ready to step into the breach at the first sign of failure, the winners will be those who invest in the tools to offer a market leading response.