Friday, September 25, 2009

Use Customer Life Changes to Switch Brands

Sometimes you want customers to stay firmly committed to brands they're using now—specifically when they're buying high margin ones. But if you'd like to encourage brand switching, try doing it when people are moving from one role in life to another. This happens with events like college graduation, getting married or getting divorced, having a first child, changing careers, and locating in a new country or culture.
     We might assume that when people are already feeling highly uncertain about what's happening in their lives, they'd actually be less likely to switch brands. Since moving from one role in life to another is a time of high uncertainty, it would seem that you trying to change brand commitments then would only end up being a big waste. But when it comes to role switching, the truth is the opposite of what we might commonly assume.
     With this in mind, here are two tactics for you to build your profitability:
  • Maintain easy-to-use gift registries where people due to graduate or marry can list the items they'd like to receive from well-wishers. Even some Ace Hardware stores have wedding registries. In setting up those registries, suggest items with brands that might be unfamiliar to customers, but which offer distinctive features for users and good profitability for retailers.
  • Aim some advertising and store signage to people in your target markets who will be looking for evidence that they’re doing okay in their new roles. Then think about brands which are or can be associated with status in those roles. Put these together so the ads and signage feature these brands in ways which convey the status benefits. Does it work? Research at University of Minnesota showed how recent immigrants seek out brands to give themselves acceptable status in their new culture.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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