The Six Inches in Front of You | Dow Goodfolk, brand strategy, identity, packaging and digital design agency
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The Six Inches in Front of You

The Six Inches in Front of You image


March 28 2021

Don't make the mistake of not understanding your customers.

It’s the question on every business or brand owner’s mind. How do you maximise your brand performance? For me it’s straight-forward, it’s a “unique (think distinctive, authentic) message, executed consistently.” Sounds easy. Right? Well not really. For me the wild card in the deck is ‘consumer expectation’?

If you agree that expectation drives interpretation, then doesn’t consumer expectation define the way your brand message is received? And judged! And factor in that expectation is built up by the sum total of all your previous activity, actions and messaging. So your brand will be judged on everything it has said, not just the last thing. So consistent execution is key.

And even if your brand has consistently ‘behaved well’, it doesn’t necessarily mean consumers will trust you. A recent Customology study of more than 2,500 Australian consumers found that 74% of people believe that brands ‘lie to them’ in their marketing communications. Almost three-quarters. Wow. That’s a lot. Three in every four people who see your brand’s message start with the view that what you are saying isn’t true! So expectation is a biggie. Because it ultimately defines whether your brand performance is optimised.

Confused. No kidding. How can I possibly know what my consumer wants from my brand? Surely its easier than this? Well it’s not easy, but it’s also by no means rocket science. It’s a process. Which requires discipline. Because to ‘win’, you have to take it step by step.

First, you need to get to know your consumers. You need to talk to them, and ‘stand in their shoes’. This will help you better understand their expectations. Which in turn will help you define your ‘difference’, the message that is intuitively authentic to your brand or service, and ensure that it is designed to deliver against that expectation.

Then you can map out your steps to success, your roadmap if you like. Only then are you ready to execute …. one step at a time. And at each step, you need to ensure you are taking your customers with you. Too many times brands try to move too fast with their messaging, and get ahead of their consumer. Or worse, the message confuses them around what the brand or service is actually offering.

So don’t rush that first step. Getting to know your customer could be difference between good sales and great sales. As Al Pacino’s character (coach) Tony D'Amato famously said in the 1999 movie Any Given Sunday… “Football is a game of inches. It is won & lost on those inches. One inch at a time. Life, like football, is just a game of inches.”

Brands are like humans, they have a life of their own. In our human world, most people agree on the concept of six degrees of separation. In your brand world, the inches you need to succeed are everywhere. But the margin for error is small. You need to fight for every inch. So we like to talk about the six inches in front of you, when we talk about the six-step process we take clients through on the journey to better understanding their customer’s expectations.

Feel like it’s one inch forward and two back? Then please get in touch, and we can take you through our six-step process.

Inch by inch.


Customology 2020 Research: