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When the path to purchase becomes the path to purpose - a selection of case studies

Wed, 09 Dec 2015

Digital platforms and social networks have changed the relationship between brands and consumers. Consumers of today use multiscreen media to make life easier, simpler, and more meaningful. What can brand advertisers do to connect with these new consumers? Google partnered with TNS and Ogilvy to answer this question. What we found is simple but transformative. It's all about purpose.

Today's consumers are spoiled for choice. With new technologies delivering more media on more devices than ever before, their options for content are limitless. Faced with this surplus, consumers are choosing to engage only with content that is personally relevant to them, their purpose and their passions. This new consumer mind-set has implications for their purchasing behavior—consumers shop with the same purpose that they consume content. To understand how to engage them on their "path to purpose," Ogilvy, TNS and Google surveyed recent purchasers of auto vehicles, beauty products and smartphones. The results uncovered three new opportunities for brand advertisers:

Purpose = Purchase. More than ever, brand purpose is critical to break through the clutter and drive purchases.

Power of Influence > Power of Time. Counterintuitive as it may be, our research shows very little correlation between media usage and media influence. We need to focus on influence over usage.

Experience > Exposure. Brands that provide consumers with deep experiences of their product—and manage to generate an emotional experience of ownership—win at the point of purchase.

It's all about purpose

Brand advertising has traditionally concerned itself with touching the hearts of audiences or tickling their funny bones. Advertising used that emotional—often entertaining—connection to bond consumers to the brands they grew to love, with the courtship carefully scheduled around television seasons, divided by the time of day and dependent on broadcast media consumption.

But today, digital platforms and social networks have changed the relationship between brands and consumers. Consumers have more choice than ever before and are engaged even in creating content. Reaching and engaging these new, active and connected consumers—Generation C, as we have called them before—is a constantly evolving challenge. However, for brands that embrace this challenge, it is also an opportunity to bond with people more strongly than ever.

What can brand advertisers do to connect with these new consumers? Google partnered with TNS and Ogilvy to answer this question. Over a span of six months, in two different waves, we surveyed 2,458 recent purchasers of products in three categories—auto vehicles, beauty products and smartphones.

What we found is simple but transformative. It's all about purpose.

New consumers are looking much more substantially than they have in the past to media to match the purpose with which they lead their lives. More than ever, this perspective helps them fulfill their needs, passions and interests. The degree to which purpose even drives their shopping and purchases is eye-opening. Consumers choose the brands that engage them on their passions and interests 42% more often than they do those that simply urge them to buy the product being advertised. As a result, their path to purchase is actually their path to purpose.

In our study, we have identified different reasons that consumers go online. Some primarily seek entertainment—viewing feel-good content or looking for a laugh—while others look, first and foremost, to connect. A third and fast-growing motivation for consumers to go online is to seek information on passions and interests. These consumers seek to enrich themselves and explore their interests so they can build and pursue their passions. For brands, these consumers are:

Better customers. They are 70% more likely to have purchased something online in the past month (versus consumers driven by entertainment or connection).

Word-of-mouth engines. They are 1.6x more likely to rate a product or service online at least once a week (versus consumers driven by entertainment or connection).

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