Now that businesses adapt to new post-pandemic realities, customer habits and branding experiences have changed a lot. Additionally, many businesses adopted new models of operation, communication channels, and practices that enable more efficient ‘brand-customer’ communication and more effective sales.

So, what one should take into account while building the brand image in 2022 so that it actually increases purchasing intent and boost sales?

New sales channels

Many companies were forced to close their offline stores due to the pandemic. Around 17000 chain store shops ceased their existence in 2021. One out of six small businesses in Arizona have closed their doors to visitors because of insufficient turnover and low profits as a result. The forecasts for economic development in Arizona in 2023 look brighter — there is great potential for new budding businesses in different industries, and for many of them shifting their sales online will become a new norm.

Many businesses today have to look for new ways to keep in touch with customers as the pandemic affected lots of commercial spheres. Some brands reacted quickly and adjusted their operation during 2020-2022 — for example, many restaurants shifted to delivery services and some brands embraced online purchases for the first time. A significant share of employees in Arizona is also currently working remotely (online).

As some businesses still adjust to the online functioning realms, they can investigate the best global branding practices to explore new sales channels. For example, some local beauty brands like Perfect Diary transitioned all consultants and makeup experts to interact with customers online and deployed over 10,000 WeChat groups for face-to-face consultations. Lancôme also uses WeChat for sales; the company has created an official corporate WeChat account to build direct connections with customers. These companies also create sales ratings for sales employees, which motivate them to work more efficiently and sell more.

The takeaway. Use social media, video calling, and chats as a new way to communicate with customers and make sales. Help employees adjust to the changes by developing new motivation programs.

The omnichannel approach in advertising

Now that people spend a lot of time near their gadgets, consumer habits changed a lot. For example, many people now work remotely, so the overall time for TV and CTV watching has drastically increased — 25 hours and 2 minutes per week. Additionally, people spend more time on mobile gaming and Internet browsing — around 4,5 hours per day.

No wonder mobile ad spending during the pandemic increased by 71%. CTV ad spending meanwhile is expected to grow by 14.4% by the end of 2023. As programmatic allows brands to effectively combine these channels and serve targeted ads to the users, the programmatic ad spending, in the US will reach 141.96 billion dollars.

Programmatic as the main tech that enables omnichannel advertising is a new must-use for brands. Thanks to the targeted advertising capabilities, brands reach only those audiences, whose characteristics fall within their campaign criteria. In other words, ads are only seen by people, who have the highest likelihood of converting.

The takeaway. Use programmatic advertising to access omnichannel reach and highly-targeted user experiences. The omnichannel approach helps the brand to unify all marketing communications across different channels. However, it’s even more than this. The omnichannel marketing approach should be based on the same principles that your business adopts in communication with clients — same assortment, same prices, and same customer support irrespective of the channel that your customers come from.

Better customer support

Increasing the quality of support will help you to save the loyalty of existing customers and gain the love of the new ones. Especially it is relevant in case your product, prices, or terms of service change and customers have a lot of questions. For example, during the period of March 2020-August 2021, companies saw a rise in processed support tickets — from 6% to 90%.

According to stats, today brands automate more than 85% of customer service interactions. With this, over 30% of consumers that can’t reach real humans during such interactions find this problem the most frustrating. McKinsey consulting advises brands to analyze user requests in order to make the support service more flexible and efficient. As well, they say it will be a good practice to segment and distribute support requests by channels so that the average request processing time would be significantly reduced. Use AI-based chatbots to enable customer consulting 24/7, even when your call centers are closed.

The takeaway. Use automation to streamline the customer support service. Review the support workflows, use dialog analytics, a knowledge base, and on-site chatbots to ease the work for call center operators.

More empathy

Studies show that 82% of customers are ready to share some type of personal data in exchange for a better customer experience. Around 86% of consumers say that when they need something to buy, they always think of the brand they are loyal to first, and 82% of them actually make the purchase. Discounts and rewards matter a lot as well when it comes to personalization — 48% of questioned people named discount as the most important factor why they stay loyal to the brand; the individual loyalty program at the place was important for 43% of questioned people, and easy access to the product was important for 22%. Among other factors for high user loyalty features are: “brand remembered my preferences”, “brand delivered the offer based on my customer’s information”, and “products picked just for me”.

Companies can show empathy and respect to their customers in a variety of ways. For example, brands can respond to customer inquiries in real time, ensuring that they don’t have to wait for too long. Brands can also use the information shared by consumers to improve their customer experiences or to provide them with additional benefits and discounts.

Finally, make your interaction more human — involve your customers in the promotion of your products or services. A good example of this is “Make Us a Taste”, the ad campaign launched by Lays. During the campaign, the customers were asked to submit their ideas regarding new flavors for the potato chips. As a result, people were actively sharing their tastes as a part of the campaign so the company received 3.8 million offers in 12 weeks, 1.2 billion Facebook impressions, and an 8.5% increase in sales.

The takeaway. Be personal in your communication with the customers — employ personal recommendations and technologies that personalize advertising for every user based on data. When consumers reach some significant milestones in their relationship with a company (for example, when their purchases exceed a certain amount), notice this and thank them with discounts. Be sure to “get personal” — ask your loyal customers for advice (and use social media to interact with them during these surveys or campaigns).

To sum up

Transition to online experiences and client servicing mechanisms were the main drivers for business transformations during the last couple of years. The global economy witnessed the revival, however, the ease and convenience of the new business practices coupled with remote work gave the push for even further changes.

New channels for sales and advertising communications, automatization of business routines and servicing — all of these approaches should be embraced by brands to drive better user experiences that translate into higher loyalty and sales.