The buyer life cycle is the process by which a consumer decides to buy a brand. There is no one-size fits all: big brands will differ from small brands, status matters, categories vary. A new WARC Best Practice piece sheds light on the issue.

“Whatever your brand, its status and category, finding the most rewarding strategy for growing your brand’s market share demands investigating its status across the buyer life cycle and ensuring that every part of the cycle contributes to the brand’s overall sales momentum”, writes Nigel Hollis, chief global brand analyst at Kantar.

(For more, read WARC’s in-depth article: To grow, build momentum across the buyer life cycle.)

While paths to purchase are many and varied, three basic stages exist for any brand, that influence different stages of sales:

  • Exposure: influences future sales
  • Experience: influences repeat sales
  • Activation: influences immediate sales
None of this is new, but Hollis notes that it’s a fine balance between all three that leads to outsized growth. “In our analysis of 3,907 brands measured in BrandZ over a three-year time frame, we identified that the small group of brands which overperformed at all three stages grew by an average of 46%.”

Three key ideas:

  • Meet customer needs: “First, make sure you understand how well you are meeting existing customer needs and how likely they are to buy your brand again.”
  • Exposure: “Exposure is far more than just a media impression, it is all the different ways in which people encounter your brand as part of their everyday life: on the street, in the news, in conversation and in the media. Every encounter helps build people’s impressions of what your brand stands for and how it might be meaningful to them.”
  • Difference still matters: “All the evidence from Kantar’s brand equity research finds that brands which are meaningfully different grow faster than their competition. While much demeaned in marketing literature and sales pitches, creating a perceived difference is still the start point for growth.”

Sourced from WARC