Consumer Sentiments and Perceived Brand ImageVineet Srivastava
As brand owners, the single most thought that keeps us engaged is – achieving ultimate consumer satisfaction and unwavering brand loyalty. This is probably closely associated with the nature of the consumer, who is not quite aware of his own expectations from a brand during sales and after sales. Thus, the consumer continues to function in a reactive mode even after the sale is done. One would expect a more integrated consumer engagement with brands during sales and after sales of the branded products, but unfortunately, that is not the case. A reactive response is possibly a typical behavior, but it adversely affects all – the owner and the consumer.
Quite often, the bad aspects are highlighted more than the good ones. This is largely responsible for creating the perceived image of brand. Shouldn’t consumers be engaged proactively by brands knowing very well that their sentiments immensely contribute to the image? I think the answer would be an overwhelming ‘Yes’ but the ‘How’ remains unsolved. It is not as straight forward as it may sound but not as complex too. Let me quote a personal instance to describe the situation a little more.
It is no big secret that there is nothing equivalent to experiencing the product, and the associated services & content before passing any judgment. I remember my very recent experience with 2-year-old plasma TV of a leading global brand that conked off; it could happen to anyone and is not surprising at all. However, the real story starts after that. Until date, there hasn’t been any follow-up or enquiry by the brand, even though the service engineer has visited twice to fix the problem albeit unsuccessfully. The brand has also shown little curiosity about the situation and my sentiments on it. Brands probably have no viable medium to dig deeper. And apparently, it nothing quite affects anyone until it concerns the topline & bottom line. Having said this, the underlying issue comes out on the surface with symptoms of eroded brand value and tons of sales metrics.
For achieving consumer satisfaction and loyalty, we as the brand makers must engage with consumers from the time he decides to own branded goods until the end of product life in a consistent and integrated manner. This sort of engagement is perhaps the only way of solving the ever-growing issues on consumer satisfaction, loyalty and brand value.
The day is not too far off when we can expect to get a ‘Welcome aboard’ call from the brand when we buy our favorite washing machine, the much-needed water purifier, the latest gadgets or a cool air conditioner! That would probably set the tone for true consumer satisfaction.
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