The Savoir-Faire Consumer

Today's consumers have no resemblance to those of the past. Instead of listening to and following brands, consumers have turned the tables, expecting these brands to listen to them. These new-age consumers have the know-how; they are highly adaptable and competent with a better understanding of what to do in almost any purchasing situation. These savoir-faire consumers have become the revered leaders of the market, replacing brand-driven purchasing by demanding to be heard.

But what does this mean to brands? It quite simply means that brands must begin to recognise consumers as their "mentors" and "guides". It is therefore vital that brands are careful not to become arrogant towards these consumers and should aim to reach a level of deeper understanding of and respect for them in light of these changing times.

Brands need to develop heightened listening skills so that they can give these consumers not only what they want but what they expect. Brands therefore have the added challenge of decoding the consumer voice by listening to what they are hearing and moulding it to meet the expectations of their target market. When brands are successful in this regard, they are not only able to create superior engagement opportunities with their consumers but also participation opportunities. An engaging consumer, although valuable, only goes as far as Liking your brand on Facebook or mentioning your brand on their Twitter feed, but participatory consumers go much further than just engaging. If listened to, these consumers will love and care about your brand as much you do and will feel compelled to take your brand to the next level.

These consumers can effectively become your product development specialists, designers or even financial directors with more brands inviting consumers to "co-create" their new product lines. For example, they might feel so passionately about your brand that they will go as far as posting a video on how to best use your product on YouTube, while the link to the video might be shared on various social networks, reaching an audience of millions. Publicity such as this is hugely beneficial to brands as the advent of popular bloggers, social network and YouTube personalities are quickly proving to have some of the most prominent and significant followers who might also want to promote your brand.

Action Ambro's believes that at the heartbeat of better brands lies the participatory or savoir-faire consumer. It is our job to develop new ways of refining strategic and creative solutions, giving brands the opportunity to evolve with these ever-evolving consumers.

The outcome to us is clear; listen, learn and leverage!