When BodyShop recently launched their new Oils of Life and Spa of the World product lines, the launch event comprised of beauty editors, bloggers and beauty influencers. Social Media has become a game changer. Companies now rely on influencers to spread the word for them. The chances of a consumer buying a product are higher when it has been endorsed by influencers that they follow vs. the company itself talking about their own new products. Celebrity endorsements have always been popular for product promotion. Influencers are now the new celebrities!
The influencers, more often than not, go back and blog/vlog about the product/brand and their experience with it. These reviews sometimes have a greater impact than a self-promotional advertisement issued by a company, as they communicate your brand more effectively than any other marketing activity. Reviews are the single most effective way to improve a brand’s digital marketing.
In fact, the experience that a customer has with a brand is such a key factor that it has given rise to a relatively new position in the C-suite, the Chief Experience Officer, who oversees all of a firm’s interactions with customers.
Let’s take the instance of L’Oreal. They introduced The Makeup Genius app last year, which allows users to virtually test makeup, and it has been downloaded 14 million times since its launch. It has driven more than 250 million virtual product trials.
Makeup Genius allows customers to try on makeup virtually and delivers real time responses. It photographs a customer’s face, analyses more than 60 characteristics and then displays images showing how various products and shade mixes achieve different looks. Customers can select a look they like and instantly order the right products online or pick them up in a store. When the order arrives, and you reopen the app, it is proactively reconfigured to give you instructions on applying the makeup. The app also sends periodic recommendations for other looks. Because the app is simple and useful, it drives customer loyalty and the customer also act as advocates sending app links to friends with similar interests.
By making experimenting, sharing and purchasing seamless and fun, the company is rolling out a highly sticky journey that builds loyalty to L’Oreal products.
Ultimately, the proof of the pudding really lies in repurchases or repeat purchases. With the plethora of options available, the differentiator lies in being able to bring the customer back for more. The brands that will succeed are the ones that build customer loyalty.
Competing on customer Journey – David C Edelman and Marc Singer (Harvard Business Review South Asia, November 2015)