Consumer and brand goals: What are they, and why should you care?
The amazingly effective campaigns that have surfaced through the annals of advertising history almost all have this common element: They operate in a way where consumer and brand goals around the campaign are highly aligned.
What is a consumer goal?
When someone comes in contact with information about your company, there is something they are looking for. Whether it’s reading an email you sent a few weeks ago (are they looking for coupons before coming by later today?) or searching “good hair dressers near me” (are they looking to read some reviews?) they have a goal. Even if they are passively being shown information (a billboard with your advertisement) they have a goal (and it might be “get this out of my face”… but hopefully not).
It is important to understand: Consumers have goals that influence how they interact with anything you produce.
What is a brand goal?
Whenever your company exerts effort to engage with consumers and potential customers, there is a goal (whether spoken or unspoken) that justifies the effort. If you send out a postcard mailer, you may be trying to inform customers about your presence in the community. If you create a social media page, your goal may be to get feedback from current customers and have a channel for engaging in real time.
Think through the things you’ve done lately: All of the goals are ultimately to make sales; but what are the more proximate goals in your effort? It is a valuable exercise to enumerate all the major areas where you are exerting marketing effort (either time or money) and what the primary proximate goal is for the effort. Without spending the effort to review this, you have no metric to determine whether something is working for you.
Identifying your brand goals
It may be hard to determine if a given effort is driving sales for your business, and it can take a lot of work to get to the point of determining this; but if you instead ask if it meets the proximate goal that will usually give you a fairly measurable metric.
In the above example of creating and maintaining a social media page, if your goal is to get feed back and engage in real time, after a few months it should be fairly easy to see if you’re doing this. If no one posts to your page, gives you no reviews, and you carry on no conversations, its fairly safe to say you haven’t met your goal. If this was the case, you’d either need to 1) shift your goal, 2) change what you’re doing to meet your goal, or 3) stop spending time and money on this channel since it isn’t working.
The big take away? Figure out what your goals are. They might not always be exactly the right goals; but at least get something down so that in a few months, you can looks back and ask if you’re meeting your goals.
Figuring out consumer goals
The other piece of the puzzle that we mentioned earlier is the consumer goal. This may be the same as the brand goal, but it may not. For example, if you run a restaurant, you may publish your menu on your website. As a brand, your objective in doing so may be to give potential customers and idea of the type of food you serve, and the approximate price point. However, a consumer looking up your menu may have the goal of trying to figure out if you sell vegetarian options.
The consumer goal is the purpose that a consumer is engaging with information about your business. Given that one person may look at a menu for prices, another may look at a menu for information about dishes that align with their dietary restrictions, for a single piece of information there may be a variety of consumer goals that give people reasons for engaging with it.
Try to enumerate all the potential consumer goals with your major assets. This is a little more guess work than the brand goals (since you set the brand goals, but the consumers will determine their own consumer goals.) Do your best to try and figure out what people are looking for when engaging with your content, whether its a physical promotional piece in their mailbox, your website, or any other marketing channel you may employ.
Here your worksheet will probably have multiple entries about “consumer goals”. You won’t be able to get every goal that someone would have, but see if you can determine the top 3 or 4 reasons a consumer may be looking at something you’ve produced, you’ll be well on your way to getting to know your customers and potential customers better.
Finding overlap to drive sales
Often a brand’s goal for producing a piece may be different (even dramatically so) from a consumer’s goal in engaging with that particular piece. In those cases, it’s a struggle to fulfill the brand goal, especially if it is in contradiction to the consumer goal. If you find that the goals for producing something are so different from why a consumer would engage, consider if that is an area you want to continue with.
When a brand’s goal and a consumer’s goal are in alignment there usually is a great return on your investment. If you’re publishing coupons to lower your price point to a place where someone who hasn’t tried your business will try it, and a consumer is looking for new businesses like yours to try out but doesn’t want to commit to a full-price purchase until they know if you’re worth it, you will likely have a positive interaction. This would be an example where the goals are very closely aligned.