Personal, corporate or otherwise; the value of maintaining a well sought-after reputation simply cannot be overstated.

From the world’s worst oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, marshalled by BP, to the internal scandals that have led to the recent resignation of Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick – consumers never look fondly on those brands that have dirt on their hands. A bad reputation unsurprisingly equates to bad business.

Consumer-facing brands, in particular, cannot afford to turn the other cheek when it comes to their public-facing perception. With their profits not only dependent on consistently delivering for the common man but for the derivation of both their future ideas and credibility, short-sightedness in the face of reputational questions must be swiftly dispatched.

Forbes has just released its seventh annual ‘World’s most valuable brands list’ with the aim of shining a light on the level of pride that consumers worldwide have in their favourite brands and why reputation is the lifeblood of their very existence.

What these results highlight is that firms across the board must learn to appreciate how and why customers relentlessly place their trust in the same cadre of brands time-and-time again. Safeguarding consumer loyalty for the good of brand value, and corporate reputation more broadly relies on a sound understanding of the retention of consumer in today’s digital age.

We are assessing how and where consumers can build quality relationships with brands in their customer journey - before (Reach), during (Respond) and after (Retain) purchase, with the Triple R Campaign.

Those brands who were able to forge the way on the ‘Triple R’ rating front are consistently leading the market - thanks in no small part to the offering of both an intensive and hands-on form of 360-degree customer experience.

The key findings from those 3,600 individuals we surveyed in over 20 countries across both Europe and Africa indicated an overwhelming sentiment towards the need for digital solutions to form the foundations of a brand’s approach to satisfy fluctuating customer demands.

Seventy per cent of European consumers felt the top brands were those that focussed on individual’s needs, and 57% of consumers said they would spend more with those brands that endeavoured to make them feel more valued.

The age-old adage of ‘people buy from people’ will forever hold true, especially with respect to consumer-facing brands that require a human touch. Treating consumers as individuals rather than just digits on a spreadsheet is integral for the emotive delivery of a seamless connection with customers worldwide, regardless of time zone or preferred means of purchase.

Brands must be caring and attentive in their approach to consumers; listening and responding to their desires. The consumer-customer relationship must run deep beyond the point of transaction. With consumers now technology-rich, but time poor, brands cannot afford to ignore customers at any point on their purchasing journey, or they risk falling behind to more accessible and nurturing competition.

Customer-centricity is not just a fluffy phrase used by marketers; it represents a genuine connection that facilitates the conversion of customers into fans.

In this era of digital disruption, those firms that do not strike an effective balance between both the much-needed technology and the smooth digital processes that comprise a 21st century brand will constantly be one-step behind, scrambling to cling on to market relevance.

 

By Chas Moloney, director of Ricoh UK


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