Strategy is the starting point of everything we do. A solid communication strategy is your star to steer by, and the foundation for all of your activities. All of our strategies look at people when they are in shopper mode as well as in consumer mode.
Our client portfolio ranges from peanut butter, to B2B biotechnology cleaning products and financial services, and understanding the dynamics of how each product or service is bought influences how we tackle each challenge.
These are the five questions we always ask:
How is the product or service bought?
This is always our starting point. What is the context of the purchase? Is this an fmcg product, where a shopper is selecting from a range of options on a supermarket shelf? Do people buy this online, in which case search is an important consideration? Is it a complicated offering that needs a lot of consumer education? All of these factors influence the communication strategy that leads up to the action we want people to take.
What is the path to purchase?
Following on from the ultimate moment of truth, what are the other moments of truth that lead up to a sale? Do people ask for advice from family and friends? Is advertising an important factor in creating confidence in the brand? Are there barriers to purchase that we need to understand, such as gatekeepers or naysayers? We usually divide the path to purchase into three simple categories: Awareness, Interest and Conversion, and map our touchpoints accordingly.
Who is doing the buying?
Is the person buying your product or service doing it for themselves, for a family member, or on behalf of a company? A mother buying a skincare product for her baby experiences a very different set of motivations compared to, for example, a procurement manager sourcing stationery for the office.
How does your target audience feel when buying this type of product or service?
Is this a grudge purchase or a treat? Is it a functional purchase? Is there an emotional dimension to it, such as hope or reassurance? Is your shopper in an exploratory mode, or are they on automatic pilot? Understanding the emotional state of people when they buy a product helps us craft the right kind of messaging.
Who else wants your target audience’s money, and what are they saying and doing?
There’s a lot of choices out there, no matter what product or service you’re selling. Knowing what your competitors are saying and doing is a basic and essential step in crafting your strategy. It’s also important to understand that your competitors aren’t necessarily only the obvious ones. In an economy where people have less and less spare cash to spend, every household expense is effectively competing with your brand for share of wallet. Finding new and interesting ways to frame your offering in terms of the value it has to offer to a target market is more important than ever.
There are lots of other potential questions to ask when drafting a strategy, and many of them will depend on the category the brand competes in. But if you answer these five, you’ll have a solid foundation you can build on.