With the growing role digital plays in our shopping behaviours, many marketers have seen the traditional customer journey grow increasingly complex.

We now have to consider a whole range of additional touchpoints when planning marketing and advertising campaigns. 

As an agency working predominantly with below-the-line activations and digital touchpoints - effectively the last mile of the marketing funnel - we’ve increasingly come to the realisation that the old marketing model, with a clear separation between sales activations from brand marketing, is broken.

In fact, in the long term this disconnect between the two only helps dilute the brand and makes a sale less likely further down the line.

While a painful truth, it is one we clearly need to quickly accept and adapt to. If not, then we run the risk of facing diminishing budgets and increasingly higher expectations from clients.

When looking deeper into this, we found that with both new types of media consumption and consumer behaviours, consumers no longer distinguish between brand experiences and sales experiences.

We took up the challenge to find a new way of blending brand and commercial experiences. We call this new planning model Brand Commerce.

Based on heuristics - the mental shortcuts we all take when making decisions - we uncovered the key human behaviours that help drive both trial and sales.

This proprietary planning model then enables us to home in on the behaviours that are most pertinent to purchase decisions.

Effectively helping us convert into sales as soon as a customer is ready to buy. We call these behaviours Sales Triggers and there are nine in total.

visual planning model

For example, as a consumer have you ever ended up buying something just because a close friend was raving about it? Have you ever paid extra for what seemed like a more exclusive service or product?

Or, have your ever found yourself quickly choosing one product over other because it had one clear benefit or feature?

If any of these sound familiar, it is heuristics, the foundations of Brand Commerce, affecting your decision-making process and triggering you into making a purchase. 

While these hardwired behaviours are nothing new - Behavioural Economics has been successfully applied to advertising for decades - an ever decreasing consumer attention span will only make it harder reach out and interact with consumers.

This makes any time spent with your brand even more valuable.

There is now an increasing need to provide relevant, engaging and especially consistent messaging across touchpoints.

Earlier this year Coca-Cola released a new global campaign, unifying its different products under one new creative slogan: 'Taste the feeling'.

This bold move to a new single brand strategy was based on the diminishing returns from 'Open Happiness', Coke's earlier campaign used since 2009 which consumers felt was too emotional.

Ultimately when consumers are in the drinks aisle in their local supermarket, ‘happiness’ wasn’t the emotion that made them buy Coca-Cola products, or any soft drink for that matter.

Instead the new campaign will use "storytelling with the product at the heart" to try to bring balance to both functional and emotional messaging from TV ads all the way down to shopper materials.

Through this campaign, Coca-Cola is effectively tapping into the essence of Brand Commerce, combining the emotional power of brand marketing and commercial awareness of sales activations, to deliver consistent messaging across all its different touchpoints.

For this new Econsultancy exclusive blog series, we will present a selection of these Sales Triggers through real life examples, showcasing successful brands we believe are achieving just the right mixture of brand and commerce.

We will also show how your brand can mimic their success, driving traffic and turning interactions into transactions.

Ultimately making your brand their preferred brand of choice. 

Michael Sandstrom

Published 24 August, 2016 by Michael Sandstrom

Michael Sandstrom was formerly a Strategic Planner at KHWS, the Brand Commerce agency, and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can connect with him via LinkedIn.

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