The ever-increasing amount of brand licensed products has severely shaken the customer loyalty retention. As fans are growing tired of conventional experiences, they become less likely to remain faithful to companies they once "forever" fell in love with that aren’t making any more efforts to integrate excitement into their shopping experience. As consumer loyalty is waning exponentially, brands start to realize that they are no longer in the position to keep on with the trivial ways of satisfying consumer demand. To retain its consumers, a brand needs to know exactly what to offer them, as well as when and how to do it. In this article, we’re listing what it takes to recognize the needs of brand's audience and enhance the customer experience.
With the rise of competitiveness of the brand licensing market, consumers find it harder to make the right purchasing decisions. On the one hand, brands are, by definition, designed to relieve customers' pains of having to make complex choices. However, the stiff market conditions reduce the opportunities for brands to rely on this inherent advantage. These days, to make their customers come back for more brands must match their unique value propositions to their needs, which often are emotional.
The ultimate idea behind establishing an emotional connection with consumers is to keep their interest towards the brand alive. To create this connection, a brand must learn to reflect on the consumers' lifestyles, sources of inspiration, and emotional values. With the help of this data, it can design unique and personalized consumer experiences at the points of sales. In exchange for the attention, customers will feel motivated to respond with their wallets and loyalty.
In licensing business, especially in international scope, there isn't a ‘one-size-fit-all’ strategy that can fit all industries and markets. This fact is primarily explained by the geographic and the cultural differences between different markets and the varying quality standards of production.
What unites fans of a particular brand across the globe is their love for that brand's products. Yet, certain distinctions inherent to specific countries and markets where the products have been made available affect the way local consumers perceive the brand's unique value proposition.
Under these circumstances, it’s imperative for brands to make strategic licensing or franchising plans for each new territory. These plans should consider cultural elements inherent to a territory, including language, lifestyle, special occasions, laws, customs, and traditions. If licensors overlook any of those, they risks not reaching the full potential in the new market(s). Tailoring licensing programs to specific consumer needs in different markets is beneficial for a brand’s long-term development.
Rapid changes in consumer behavior urge brands to evolve and adjust to new environments to keep the fans engaged. This brings forward a need for licensors to cooperate with retail. Enhancing this collaboration enables brands to make their way through the shelf competition and improve consumer loyalty.
The key R&D activity in brand licensing is ‘going out there’ and meeting the consumers. Typically, brand development teams go to the retail point-of-sales, conferences, and exhibitions to speak with licensees and retailers. These stakeholders are the key target in that they know the customers and the product the best. The mission assumes learning about current trends and demands of brand's audience. In addition, it is the time when brands verify that their licensed products are visible and relevant to their fans.
Fulfilling the above allows brands to measure the match between the needs of their customers and their actual offer and recognize. Moreover, it gives brands opportunity to capitalize on the possible market gaps. Design refreshment is frequently one of the options of embracing the change in the consumer perception. It may involve revising the range of product categories or the appeal of a particular product, or integrating new design graphics or existing styling features into new products.
As a brand's audience responds to its new efforts, a brand should remain prepared to adapt to the changing situation. Chances are, the development team will get to learn plenty of new things about the target group. They may discover that the brand’s products are more appreciated by tweens rather than teens, or that the gender-based perception of the brand’s licensed products is different than the team thought. These discoveries may change the brand’s licensing program strategy positioning.
Therefore, the top priority of licensors should always be responding to the needs of their target audience. When time to change the licensing tactics comes, a brand should collaborate with licensing partners on a new action plan. The methods are many - including refreshing the property design or overall style or eliminating or adding new properties. Alternatively, a brand can try expanding sales channels or capitalizing on marketing efforts
All in all, recognizing the needs of brand's audience is all about engaging in a conversation with them and discovering the existing product gaps based on their feedback. Ultimately, licensors bear juicier fruit by learning to change a tack and adjust licensing strategies against the audience's changing needs.