In 2020, nearly 55% of consumers used DTC channels to purchase CPG products or non-perishable items that they use regularly.
With fewer consumers strolling the aisles of their favorite big box stores to buy the products they use every day, brands have had the opportunity to create more engaging omnichannel experiences that help shoppers understand their brand and add more value to create for life.
Take soap as an example of a common CPG product. A soap brand, whose products are typically tracked during a customer’s weekly Target Run, can use social media advertising to engage with that customer on a deeper level.
For example, the soap brand could tell the customer that their products are good for the environment or safe for children and highlight special products like seasonal fragrances. This could inspire the customer to make small changes to their purchases. You could go for the other products from the soap brand, such as disinfectant wipes and laundry detergent.
Before long, customers start buying all of their household products from the soap brand – and all because the brand has had more storytelling space on social media.
Your brand story doesn’t fit on a product label
CPG is enjoying increasing online popularity across the board. After rising 5.2% to $ 19.4 billion in 2020, US digital advertising spending on CPG is projected to increase 16.4% to $ 22.58 billion in 2021.
CPG brands have more options than ever to create an online presence that will soften the race to the bottom with bargain hunters:
- Share what makes your brand unique
- Provide more information on how to use your product
- Provide personalized product recommendations
- Offer the fulfillment of a subscription to make life easier for the customer
An authentic engagement strategy helps customers feel confident buying products online that they traditionally bought in-store. It’s no longer just about having an eye-catching label on a shelf (although having strong digital creative resources will surely help you stand out) – it’s about deliberately giving customers a picture of what their life might be like if they buy your product.
How will you feel Will the product help them feel stronger, more creative, or more confident? An ad is no longer about promoting your product, it’s about creating a connection with the customer that shows how that product can improve their life.
How you can leverage brand authenticity through online storytelling
How do brands create experiences that evoke emotional responses and convince buyers to stay loyal – and on top of that, pay a premium?
Consumers have more choices than ever before and want to feel comfortable with the products in their homes. Many retail categories have used authenticity through online storytelling for years, but CPG brick and mortar brands have focused more on grabbing on-shelf attention.
As consumer behavior continues to change online, CPG brands now have the opportunity to master the art of attracting attention on the digital shelf as well.
1. Get to know your brand.
A marketer’s job is to understand what’s unique and different about their product and then deliver it to the right audience at the right time. However, 69% of consumers distrust traditional advertising.
Brands need to prioritize a strategy that will win consumer trust by being as genuine, transparent, and ethical as possible so that they can gain brand loyalty over the long term.
Think of your own brand. What’s your story What’s your worth How do you make life easier for your customers? Use digital channels to evangelize your message and ensure consumers have every opportunity to learn the answers to these questions.
It is important to remember that you must understand the story you are telling before you can share your authentic self.
2. Use social evidence to make your point.
Brands can shout their successes from the rooftops, but word of mouth advertising is second to none for gaining the trust of new customers. This type of social proof can take many forms today.
At the very least, a brand should have a review strategy that focuses on the intentional collection of reviews. These star ratings and personal reviews can help clean up the clutter of Google searches for high-intent customers, or they can pique the interest of passive prospects through ad channels like social media or programmatic advertising.
Influencer marketing can also be used as a lever for social evidence. Consumers know that the people they follow are being compensated for promoting a product. However, any interest from a favorite blogger who offers a recommendation in conjunction with a website full of satisfied customer reviews helps to gain trust with your customer and with this conversion.
The better you understand your audience, the more detailed you can define your influencer strategy. Don’t forget that niche audience micro-influencers can be incredibly valuable assets for getting the word out of your brand.
3. Use user-generated content.
In addition, there are creative ways to use User Generated Content (UGC) across different channels. For example, if a customer shares a photo or video about how much they love your product, sharing that photo on social media can help more new buyers trust your brand.
In fact, UGC is one of the most authentic forms of advertising your brand can curate. Deliberately asking your audience to share their own pictures of your product in action or the results of using your product will flood you with an abundance of creative resources to be found on your social media, in advertisements, on website product pages and can use email campaigns anywhere you represent your brand.
Authentic CPG brands increase customer loyalty and value for life
Winning a customer once is a win – but it’s a bigger win if he keeps coming back.
Think of the soap company that is also selling cleaning products again. These items will not be replenished until they are used up. Therefore, the brand can help customers with an email or blog with cleaning tips or cleaning reminders.
A product usage guide is also a great way to remind your customers of other product lines, and a way for you to sell more of your product line to add value to your customer longevity.
Think about how you will get involved in social media, emails, SMS and in your brick-and-mortar sales channels. As long as your content is helpful and authentic, and you understand how these channels work together, you can build loyalty to your customers by making their lives easier.
Today’s shoppers can see through spurious sales tactics, and with more choices, the brands that will continue to thrive in 2021 and beyond will be the brands that rule customer loyalty.
Your website should be a treasure trove of reasons for customers to love your products. So pull the right levers to take your audience on a journey of learning and loving your brand.