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The customer in the ‘Age of I’

By   /  January 17, 2017  /  No Comments

A new report by Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) aims to shine a light on the paradoxical nature of today’s consumer.

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IHG addresses the needs of customers in the ‘Age of I’

The report provides six best practices for dealing with the uncompromising nature of today’s customers who increasingly expect brands to deliver experiences that satisfy contradictory needs.

IHG’s 2017 trends report, The Uncompromising Customer: Addressing the Paradoxes of the ‘Age of I’, identifies four paradoxes that are driving the decisions customers make today:

  • The paradox of separate but connected: Seeking a constant belonging with people, brands and places, while also seeking individuality and the desire to communicate uniqueness of self
  • The paradox of abundant rarity: A desire for luxury to be both scarce and available
  • The paradox of seeking a better me and a better we: Seeking personal self-improvement, while seeking public, civic or global improvement
  • Do it myself and do it for me in my way: A desire to be in control while not being the controller.

IHG CEO Richard Solomons said technology has changed the way people behave, which has had a “direct, and fundamental, impact on business”.

“Global brands need to address the complex, sometimes opposing needs of today’s customers in order to fulfil their expectations,” he said.

To address these paradoxes, IHG has identified six best practices through which brands can create experiences that strengthen customer relationships and grow brand loyalty:

  • Aim for integration rather than balance: Balancing conflicting customer needs is not enough; a better holistic experience needs to be created through the integration of these opposing needs
  • Use needs-driven occasion-based segmentation for superior business management: Segmentation is not solely a marketing tool, but needs to be a core part of a company’s thinking
  • Communicate with conversation: Brands must listen to customers to understand their needs and communicate with them in a way that makes the experience more meaningful to them as individuals
  • Manage the brand’s multi-dimensionality:  A brand must include relevant and differentiating features as well as functional, emotional and social benefits. The combination of these builds a distinctive brand character
  • Develop ambidextrous brand-business teams: A brand needs teams that include divergent thinkers, with individual strengths and passions, who can also work in an integrated manner to create the cohesive initiatives that drive brand success
  • Address the paradox of brand control: Businesses must not give up control of the brand to the external world, yet they must allow the consumers have their say and help influence the brand’s reputation.

Read the full report here.

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