Brands should be useful, not interesting

7 November 2014

GLOBAL: Digital is redefining the concept of brand loyalty, with consumers more likely to stick with a brand that doesn't waste their time, is useful and which rewards them for showing allegiance, according to a new report.

For Digital Dopamine, digital agency Razorfish surveyed more than over 1,680 online individuals in the US, UK, Brazil and China, as well as carrying out qualitative research, to discover how digital technology is altering traditional brand-consumer relationships.

It highlighted how consumers are increasingly going out of their way to avoid advertising – more than half of respondents in the US and UK and 69% in China said they would do anything they can to avoid seeing ads, skipping pre-rolls on YouTube or using a DVR to do the same with TV programming.

In this world, Razorfish noted, a funny commercial or amusing tweet isn't really going to be enough to hold people's attention. In fact, with a proliferation of channels and touchpoints there is a greater chance of consumers becoming irritated if they repeatedly see or hear the same ad across all media.

There was a widespread view that useful brands were preferable to interesting ones, particularly in China (88%) and the US (86%). Brazil (81%) and the UK (79%) were slightly more open to interesting brands.

Useful can take several forms, whether making life easier or offering some sort of value exchange. The former view was especially prevalent in Brazil, where 96% of respondents said it was important for brands to make their lives easier. This compared to 81% in the US, 81% in China and 77% in the UK.

As to value exchange, people didn't mind advertisements if they were getting something in return. So, for example, 70% of consumers in the US and UK and 77% in China were content to view advertising in order to access free content online.

Further down the consumer journey, the notion of value exchange becomes even more important, with customers expecting to be rewarded for showing loyalty. Almost all Brazilians (92%) thought it important brands should do this, and a significant majority also thought this in the US (72%), China (71%) and the UK (65%).

Data sourced from Razorfish; additional content by Warc staff