Digital branding – real time realities

Synovate, a  Global market research company that provides market, consumer, and industry research to companies around the world has put out its Censydiam Consumer Trends 2011/12 model which not unexpectedly underscores the fact that consumers are into real time decision making with regard to purchases and with concomitant brand formation and association.

The seemingly obvious insight about reaction time should compel brands of all shapes and sizes to respond in real time through "live" channels to the consumer.  As Virgin America discovered to its chagrin about a year ago when one of its aircraft was diverted to an unintended and little used airport resulting in passengers being stuck on the tarmac for over four hours while their moods ranged from despair to rage with the entire sorry episode recorded in real time by a not so sympathetic (to Virgin) passenger. The unwelcome publicity prompted Virgin to offer a meager $100 to the passenger who recorded it. Finding that their parsimony would cost them significantly more thanks to the recording, Virgin upped their compensation to include all passengers while returning all the money to the diligent recorder. Needless to say, it was a compelling lesson in real time brand management.

Synovate's research prompts brands to look to respond not just on CRM issues but also on being able to turn on a dime in offering products and services on a real time basis. In other words, in being there for the consumer as and when they come looking. Synovate says its "Censydiam framework, taps into the human motivation for enjoyment and pleasure, and instant gratification. People want to fulfil their needs right on the spot." And as Synovate's CEO notes "as a brand you have to offer consumers live channels on which to converse directly with you, and you need offers and propositions worked-out for all possible consumer contexts and whereabout."

Of course, the boon and the bane of the consumer, particularly the American consumer, instant gratification plays no small role in the trend towards instant branding as Synovate notes that "People want to fulfil their needs right on the spot." The market research company does suggest a cautionary tone to the findings in saying that the "use the trends are rooted in a deep understanding of human motivations, the latest trends are expected to develop further over the next two or three years into mainstream attitudes and behaviours"> Motivations may remain largely the same but changing platforms and delivery systems do affect consumer behavior. With that, what is considered instant now may turn out to be less compelling as more information offsets impulse purchasing behavior. Keeping abreast of those behavioral changes affected by technology can be a demanding albeit necessary feat for most brands.



Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.