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The Power Of Purposeful brands

2020 will be a memorable year for many of us. The COVID-19 global pandemic that is literally shutting down the world is leaving businesses and consumers in distraught. With an economic depression expected, the mindset that many of us will have to adopt is the mode of survival. This leaves us and many others in the advertising, marketing and consulting industry in the same boat. 

Across the industry, we are witnessing people getting laid off, business operations consolidating, the winding down of firms and in worst cases, some filing for bankruptcy. One is not alone in this new norm that we are faced with today as many industries around the world are in similar difficulties, trying hard to keep their businesses afloat.

It is a confounding period for businesses and there may be many burning questions on top of every business owner’s mind now. How long will this last? What will give me sufficient revenue to sustain my operation cost? What key resources or activities are critical now? How should I prioritise?

Now is not the time to adopt a wait and see approach. It is a chance for business owners and management teams to make meaningful adjustments in terms of restructuring the business to start planning for the next course of action. As you begin to reevaluate and map out your plans, we will like to share about how your brand purpose can serve as a guide towards planning for your next step. 

Brand purpose

What: Brand purpose is the reason for your company’s existence. It is about your company’s belief and who you are at your core. 

Why: Defining your brand purpose helps businesses align and focus. During turbulent times, when demand slows down and cost cutting measures are put in place, businesses need to decide on the resources that deliver the optimal output to meet the demand at the given point of time.

Who: Turning your purpose from words to action, helps connect your brand better with employees and customers emotionally. During uncertain times, when morale and consumer sentiment are low, communicating your brand purpose can serve as a source of motivation and inspiration to employees, customers and stakeholders to support your vision. It rallys support and understanding for everyone to ride through the tough times together. Thus, communicating your brand purpose during a crisis helps build affinity between your brand and people.

How do I shout out my brand purpose?

Unlike a Vision (long term aspirations of the business and brand) and Mission (actionable steps that aids the company to achieve the vision), the brand purpose addresses what you stand for in relation to global issues and concerns. It relates to solving a problem or a need for society, something that your business can help or support in one way or another.  

Some examples of brand purpose:

Dove: Creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence not anxiety
Nike: Motivating every athlete in the world
Starbucks: Inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup, one neighbourhood at a time
Piquant: Helping brands stay relevant

A brand purpose can be articulated differently depending on the nature of the business, customer segment or internal belief or principles. There is no right, wrong or ideal way to craft a brand purpose. It ultimately should reflect what the company genuinely aspires, beyond profit. Think through these questions when defining your brand purpose:

  • Why did you start the business?
  • What are you offering your customers/clients? 
  • What do your customers/clients need or care about?
  • What is happening in the world around us that your business can support or contribute?
  • How can your business positively impact the community or environment?

Once you put all these answers together, with a macro view, align and think about why your business exists. And is it also something your consumers care about. There’s no better time to prove your purpose, your value, your strength and creativity.

Tough times don’t last, tough people do. In such unprecedented times, we need to come together to support and care for one another. Although we are physically apart, we can fight it out together. Feel free to reach out to Piquant if you are looking for solutions that can help your business stay relevant. Whether it is for advisory on customer segmentation, ideas to improve your marketing collaterals or connecting you with our network of partners that can solve your problem, we are happy to support you in ways we can. 

6 steps that make your brand relevant to customers

The business landscape is getting highly competitive as many companies are struggling to survive, especially with technology disruption and ecommerce taking over. With our decade of experience engaging with businesses, we found most companies struggling to describe themselves succinctly enough to have customers or clients immediately understand and reap the benefit of their product or service offering despite them having a unique product or service.

What is lacking in brands today is relevance. Relevance is what makes consumers take notice of brands especially soon digital marketing platforms. Relevance could come in the form of a relatable catch phrase, a graphic that appeals to customer’s style or even an approachable face that makes people take a second glance. Being relevant is about saying or showing something that is important or interesting to your target audience. Be it inthe form of solving customers’ problems,  fulfilling a need or a desire. 

To illustrate how brands can create relevance in today’s dynamic industry, Piquant created a simple 6 step process to help businesses find their purpose that helps build relevance with consumers. 


Step 1 INTERNAL REVIEW: Listing Product/Service offerings

It is common for businesses to offer more than one product or service. Thus, in this phase, it is about identifying the common denomination that brings it all together. How would you define the industry that your products or service belong to? Do all your products belong to a particular product or service category?

The purpose of identifying the common denomination among your product or service is to help your consumers understand how your brand can solve their daily problems Being able to identify this consistent proposition is the first step to identifying relevance. 


Step 2 INTERNAL REVIEW: Identifying your purpose 

After evaluating your common denomination, work on identifying the reason why your business exists. Ask yourself questions like

  • Who am I trying to reach out to and what frustrations do they face?
  • What is most unique about my product or service that is different from competitors?
  • What do I want people to know the brand for in the long run?

Through these series of questions, streamline the most compelling reason about your brand’s existence that is in line with what your customers believe or relate with. Identifying your brand’s purpose can help you stay true to what your brand stands for and guide you in the development of your marketing messaging and visuals. 


Step 3 INTERNAL REVIEW: Defining the promise you give to your customers

The brand promise is the commitment that you want to give to your customers. Thus, brands not only need to be able to live up to the brand promise, but also be sure that customers see the value of the promise made to them.  In orderto create the brand promise, be sure to also have a plan that allows your brand to deliver and live up to! 

The brand’s promise can help extend to create an emotional connection with customers. And being able to connect emotionally with customers gives brands better retention rates and loyalty. Brands do use the term brand promise and a tagline interchangeably. Some examples of good brand promise are, 

  • BMW – The ultimate driving machine
  • Apple – Think different 
  • Walmart – save money, better lives


Step 4 EXTERNAL REVIEW: Crafting the first impression

You never get a second chance to create a first impression. Unless you did not successfully catch their attention. Thus, the visual and verbal touchpoints of the first impression are very important. There is a big difference between a good design and a piece of art. Good designs should not only look attractive but also get the point across to customers by emphasizing the important aspects of the content. What impression do you want your brand visuals to reflect? Does it go in line with your brand purpose and promise? 

Before launching an ad or new marketing campaign, find a new set of eyes to take a look at the visuals and messaging and get feedback on their first impression of the ad. Ask if they understand the message the ad is trying to convey, how they would describe the look and feel and if they understand the objective of the ad. If the feedback gathered does not align with your original intention, it means it’s time to go back to the drawing board.  


Step 5: EXTERNAL REVIEW: Communicating and engaging your customers

Once your first impression is aligned with your intent, it is time to look into convincing customers. Content is key in communicating and engaging with your customers. This is the time for brands to tell their difference, explain product/service features, share your brand purpose and story . This information can spread across different touch points such as website landing pages, videos or brochures so on.. 

Think about your ideal sales pitch to a potential customer and craft your content in a way that gradually convinces customers. Always make sure your content is easy to understand and where possible, utilise imagery, infographics or even videos to keep your customers engaged constantly! 


Step 6: Convince and convert

The final push to achieve a desired action from customers is always the most challenging. Whether it is to lead to a purchase online, sending in an enquiry or calling the office, businesses should also consider other ways to keep potential customers close. Conversions can also be smaller actions that can lead to a purchase. Some ideas for B2B companies include subscribing to newsletters for updates or liking and following the page. For B2C companies try encouraging purchase for a lower cost item or collecting emails to receive a direct discount. It is always good to get new customers hooked on something small from the brand whilst spending more time convincing in between. 

At the end of the day, marketing and branding can be effective if done right. Especially when  digital revolution has changed the way consumers make purchase decisions. The time to start thinking from a consumers point of view to relate and connect with customers through your brand starts now. 


How to build a brand that your customers love

Why are customers loyal to some brands and not others? What do businesses need to do to retain their customers? This is a common question that many business owners ask themselves.

Customer loyalty is not achieved overnight. It is an ongoing effort from the brand that starts with genuine care and concern for customers. Many businesses ignore or forget the importance of understanding and communicating with the customers who are the key stakeholders that makes the purchase. Most often, businesses end up selling their strengths, instead of selling what customers need or want. It is easy for businesses to get caught in the rat race to drive sales but sometimes, it is good to slow down and think about the people behind that purchase decision. Understanding people is the key to success.

Many businesses do not realize the benefits of getting insights from customers, and many are going into big data hoping to find insights. But for the past few years, marketers and data scientists have been trying to optimize big data, only to evaluate that there is no winning strategy. Simply because humans are all unique individuals, and even if you gather data that seem to work for you now, their behavior changes in different modes and circumstances and nothing is ever constant. But let’s leave the big data talk for another time and go back to the main topic about making customers fall in love with your brand.

So how can we start building relationships with our customers? Here are 3 things you can start with

1. Know who your customers are.

In this age and time, identifying your target audience as the mass market will no longer work. Even if anyone and everyone can potentially buy your products or services. Consumers have evolved, advertising channels have evolved and brands need to evolve too. The process of identifying your target audience is more than just by merely age, gender and location.

For B2B companies, try segmenting your customers by product/service purchased, project size, decision making process or company size. And for B2C try segmenting by age, sales channel, marital status, occupation or average check out.

You can utilize any form of data about your customers and try to place them into groups that you think fall into the same category. These groups are therefore your customer segments.


2. Understand their needs and behaviour

Every human being is unique, but with a categorisation of traits for each customer segment, you get a little background about them that may affect their decision making. Find out more about these customer segments as a whole. Google is your best friend to gather insights from social media channels, online forums or news articles that may give you insights about consumers preferences and behavior. For B2B, utilise press releases or updates from companies, country or industry reports and even general economic news that impacts your customer segment.

From the research collected, create a profile for each segment and write down what you think their needs and worries are.


3. Communicate with them

Now comes the tedious part where brands need to establish the commitment to embark, which is supposed to be a constant communication process.

Every business is about solving a problem or a need. With that, being able to effectively communicate how your brand cares enough about their problem or need, to want to help them solve it, will get their attention. Being able to show care and concern to your customers is an ongoing process that should be fine-tuned every step of the way. Here are afew tips: constantly check in with customers to find out how they are doing, ask them what they think about the product or service, let them know that your business values their feedback and will take action if there are any issues, and finally, always take note of complaints.

That is how brand love is built.

If you are a customer of ride-hailing company Grab, you would probably know how they have evolved in their offerings and services and expanded their business since 2012. They are an example of a company that customers love. Starting out by offering only private hire cars, Grab grew their services to include ride pooling with other users, hitch rides with non full-time drivers and even to food delivery. Their app has evolved to provide so much more and all these new service introduction made many stakeholders happy which in turn build their brand loyalty.

During the course of their growth, they constantly kept in touch with their customers, requesting for feedback on their offerings and services and constantly communicating their intentions and updates via EDMs, in app updates and social platforms. If you open your Grab app now, you would also find a daily poll that asks simple questions that not only entertains consumers, but also gives them valuable insights about their customer’s preferences.

Grab also segments their customers and rewards their loyal and highest spenders with additional benefits and perks. They worked out a tiered reward system to ensure that customers who are at their highest tier receives the best deals and rewards. They have been evolving together with their customers, offering services that customers truly cared about.

As stated by Jack Ma, to be successful, we need IQ, EQ and LQ. That is the Love quotient. Brands should start to learn how to care about consumers’ needs and problems, to make the world a better place.


Summing Up

Before you dive into building brand love, you need to consider the context of your organisation’s purpose, values and product or service delivery. Taking time to understand your stakeholders, fine-tuning your proposition, considering the mechanics of delivery and adopting an insight driven approach will go a long way in helping you do this.

Read more about LQ here:


Check Piquant out on our social channels for more branding trends and marketing tips that may be relevant to you!



Knowing Your Millennial Consumers

Many established companies face problems attracting millennial consumers and are having difficulties convincing this segment to purchase. How can brands create marketing plans and strategies that work with this segment? Let’s start with trying to understand how millennials think. 


Millennials are defined as the generation born between 1980s to 1995. This group of people in Singapore grew up in an era where life was more comfortable than the previous generation, education was key and technology came into the picture. Thus, understanding them can help brands market better.


How does the spending behavior between various generations differ? 

Statistics show that millennials readily spend on restaurants and electronics more than Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers. However, a consumer spending index study done in 2016 revealed that millennials pay approximately 23% to 27% less than Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers respectively, despite a higher number of purchases on retail goods and dining. 


So how do millennials get a better bang for their buck as compared to Gen X and Baby boomers? 

Considering that millennials are well connected, it is not surprising that they do extensive research before making any purchase. Being such savvy consumers, businesses need to keep abreast with what millennials value, think and like in order to maintain a sustainable consumer base amongst them. 


Here are 3 insights we identified about millennials that would be valuable for businesses : 


#1 Millennials are digitally savvy 


As the generation that grew up along with technology, millennials are reported to spend an average range of 7 hours a day on the internet. Imagine the amount of information and content they are taking in at this rate! More than that, they are also the top users of social media. Both the internet and social media have made millennials very connected with their peers and brands, giving them access to a world of information at their fingertips. What impact does this have on brands and businesses? 


Circles.Life made headlines after launching an open letter to its big boy competitors Singtel and Starhub. Its confrontational yet refreshing message came as a surprise to consumers who began to notice Circles.Life where it was previously unheard of. While this one-off marketing stunt stirred up public attention, Circles.Life continued to maintain an open yet consistent marketing strategy by leveraging on social media platforms for social listening and customer engagement. Organic conversations, feedback and product requests are just some examples of interaction between Circles.Life and its millennial customers.

For businesses to stay connected with millennials, basic steps you can begin with will be to keep your digital platforms updated. For websites, the simple act of including descriptions of your service offerings or photography of the products for sale can help potential customers search for information easily. One thing to keep in mind is to allow consumers to contact the company directly via telephone or email and regularly check your enquiry inbox and respond to any enquiries.


Deploying social media marketing is another powerful way to reach out to digitally savvy millennials. If possible, businesses should update their social media channels with relevant content periodically and activate its messaging functions in order to connect and build relationships with millennial consumers. 


Social media has reportedly helped to nurture consumer relationships between businesses and millennial customers by serving as a digital touchpoint that allows instant communication flow. Social media has the power to engage consumers meaningfully and this serves as a catalyst to nurture potential and existing customer relationships. Thus, brands need to commit to maintaining their social media platforms and respond efficiently to any direct messaging. 


#2 Millennials value authenticity and credibility 


Consumers are exposed to advertising at every single moment. From traditional ads in the newspapers to digitalized advertising on Facebook, Google and influencer marketing, there is no shortage of content that is directed at millennial consumers. In response, millennials have learnt to desensitize themselves to these large amounts of stimulating content. As conscious consumers that know the power of marketing, they see through the superficial content and selectively pick out what they want to see or hear. Their heavy use of new media has conditioned them to be master fact-finders of information surrounding a brand, product or service. As such, most know enough to filter through the fluff and evaluate the authenticity and credibility of products and services. They tend to seek out information from a variety of sources and connect the data together with their experiences.

What is it about authenticity that millennials want? According to a study done in 2017, millennials were reported to associate authenticity with consistency. A company should feel consistent whether they are representing themselves in advertisements, in person or online. Any authentic brand should have a consistent identity throughout all that they do. Businesses should match their look and feel. What consumers see and hear about the business and what they experience must add up. In turn, this consistency translates into credibility for the business. 

Here is an example of how Nike successfully created this authentic and consistent brand experience for consumers: 


#3 Millennials tend to notice businesses that stand for certain social values

Millennials are a socially conscious bunch who look to steward social values. An article suggests that millennials see the brands they use as an extension of their personality and beliefs. By purchasing certain goods or services, millennials feel that they are supporting and furthering that particular social value. Compared to previous generations whose role as an activist was distinct from that as a consumer, millennials have combined these identities together. They have taken upon themselves the collective responsibility of fighting climate change, embracing sustainability and more. It is reported that millennials are willing to pay more for products and services that are dedicated to social good.

One perfect example is Nespresso, who successfully crafted a rewarding consumer journey for its coffee lovers with its recycling program. Beyond just drinking coffee, coffee lovers are now able to participate actively in recycling efforts when they return used aluminium capsules. These capsules are sent to specialist recycling plants where they are given a second lease of life. Nepresso paired up with Swiss brand Caran d’Ache to manufacture the 894 Nespresso Ballpoint, made out of its recycled aluminium. These ballpoint pens symbolise the successful integration of the values of sustainability and profitability, and the result is 

a satisfying experience for consumers who desire to contribute socially through their purchases. Such tangible results drive consumers to make repeated purchases, thereby boosting Nespresso’s brand value and reputation. 

What kind of social values are millennials looking out for? A good guide would be the ESG values, which can be broken down into values under Environmental, Social and Governance. 

Environmental: Carbon Emissions, Energy Efficiency, Water Scarcity

Social (Human Rights, Labor Standards, Diversity)

Governance (Corporate Governance, Management Compensations, Corruption and Instability)

These ESG values sit on four social impact pillars that millennials desire for brands and businesses to take on. They are: 

(1) to improve society by alleviating social problems,

(2) to prioritize social impact,

(3) be transparent and communicate to the public their efforts in doing so,

(4) to include their consumers in their social endeavours 

Even if your brand does not actively support or integrate a social value into the business process, it helps to showcase any CSR efforts that your brand is involved in, thereby providing a positive perception of your brand to consumers. If you are doing good, be proud about it!

To sum it up, millennials are not that hard to understand. They simply navigate today’s world with a set of different tools (new media) and live in a world of digital connectedness and inclusivity. Their social values remain good and intact, the only difference being that they are more vocal about it. Put together, business owners would gain a lot from putting themselves in the shoes of millennials and taking time to understand what they are really looking for. Of course, the journey to implementing what millennials want into businesses remain no mean feat, but with brands and businesses that have succeeded in doing so, it goes to show that its not an impossible task.