Here’s What It’s Going to Take for Brands to Win Over Consumers in 2017

According to a new Wunderman study

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What does it take for a brand to be wanted by consumers in today's world? A new study from agency Wunderman examines how brands can achieve new engagement criteria that it's calling "wantedness." It's defined by the agency as, "the degree to which a brand proves their commitment to earning a customer's business across every touch point and throughout the entire path to purchase."

Penn Schoen Berland partnered with Wunderman on the study, which polled people between the ages of 18 and 65 in both the United States and United Kingdom, in order to help brands and clients better connect with consumers. According to Wunderman, marketers typically think about building longstanding relationships with consumers, but "the data shows that brands now need to demonstrate their commitment to serving the consumer and exceeding their expectations every day."

The study found that in the U.S., 79 percent of respondents said they only consider buying products from brands that show they care and understand their consumers, while in the U.K., the number is slightly less but still sizeable, hitting 72 percent.

Another key finding from the study shows just how essential mobile has become in the entire purchase process. Ninety percent of respondents in the U.S. feel mobile helps them make better purchase decisions, which means brands need to pay attention to how the mobile experience is working (or not working) for shoppers. 

"With expectations at an all-time high, brands are required to operate in consumer culture and not just within their own category. It used to be that brands had the luxury of customers conforming to their business models, which worked for many years. But the tables have turned. Today, consumers expect businesses to adapt to their needs and our findings are consistent across all generations, geographies and genders," Jamie Gutfreund, Global CMO of Wunderman, said in a statement.

So how exactly can brands gain this "wantedness," as defined by Wunderman, when consumers expect brands to know them, deliver for them and continue to win them over time and again?

For one, brands need to exceed the consumer's expectations because, as Wunderman says, "the best brands don't just make great products." Sixty-three percent of respondents in the U.S. said the brands they connect with the most are the ones that do this throughout the customer journey. Part of that comes from ensuring that no matter what, the customer is always right—74 percent of people feel strongly that brands of the future will be ones that deliver on customer service.

Eighty-eight percent in the U.S. and 90 percent in the U.K. feel strongly that brands need to be coming up with new ideas and be trailblazers when it comes to the content they create, whether that's experimenting with new technology from AR to VR in their marketing, or something else.

Finally, brands need to make things easier for the consumer at each point in the purchase process. Sixty-two percent of U.S. respondents noted that the best brands out there, the ones that they are most dedicated to, are ones that make life easier for them.

Wunderman put together a short video as well, with some highlights from the study, which you can check out below.

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.