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The Sync Up: An Interview with VP TJ Waldorf

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Why creating brand moments that consumers love, matters

Picture the scenario. Your family moves into a home in a new neighborhood. Immediately, all kinds of mailers, advertisements and coupons for local deals start collecting in your mailbox. You pick out the Costco Savings Booklet and start flipping through advertised deals and promoted savings on brand-name products the membership-only big-box retailer offers. Included are also competitive discounts on many of its private labeled, Kirkland Signature™ line of products. You visit its retail warehouse, sign your family up to have an annual membership, shop at discounted prices for bulk products, and you’re hooked. As a consumer, you’ve just had your first brand moment, and are well on your way to becoming Costco and Kirkland Signature™-brand loyal.

While price is a competitive factor in any consumer’s path to purchase, increasingly brands continue to realize that there are other aspects today’s educated and digital-savvy consumers rely on when making buying decisions.

Does the product subscription (whether online or in an at-home coupon mailer) provide enough detail to actually buy online, or physically navigate to a store for BOPIS? Is the product picture clear, compelling and does it properly depict the product a consumer may receive on their doorstep? Can it be scanned with a QR code and then used via Augmented Reality (AR) how it would look in your home or office space? The list goes on and on, but one thing remains clear—retailers and brands continue to step up their game around the value that compelling product content provides to help better influence and engage today’s shoppers. Read on as 1WorldSync’s Vice President of Marketing & Customer Success, TJ Waldorf, shares his passion around how brands can create positive brand moments that consumers love.

What exactly is a brand moment? What’s your definition?

Waldorf: A brand moment is really any and every touch point your consumer has with your brand. It’s everything from interactions with your customer support team, to when a product arrives at your doorstep, or when you open the package the first experience using the product. It’s also what your consumer sees on your product page when shopping on their favorite e-commerce site.

If we focus on that last point, which is what the consumer sees on a product detail page when shopping on e-commerce channels like Amazon.com or Walmart.com, what are some of the key elements a brand needs to consider to create that positive brand moment?

Waldorf: As a marketing guy, I love that question because there’s so much to unpack! I’d start by taking a step back to the moment the consumer has a need and begins the search for a product to fulfill that need. What’s the first thing they do? They either go to Google and type it into search, or they go to their favorite e-commerce store and search for it there. The ease and ability to find what they are looking for, and recognize they’ve found it by reading the product description, is really that first brand moment. It’s about being visible and accessible.

That makes a lot of sense. Depending on the analyst firm, anywhere from 81-90% of shoppers research products online before making a purchase. Once they find what they are looking for, how does the concept of a ‘loveable brand moment’ extend beyond the search?

Waldorf: Our attention spans are incredibly short and we’re easily distracted. Every day, we’re bombarded with thousands of messages and advertisements all vying for our attention (and dollars). Brands have a very short window of time to hook us and keep us on their product pages. Consider a recent purchase you’ve made online. Or perhaps you didn’t buy online, but you researched the product and then bought in-store. What’s going to hold your attention? Beautiful, hi-resolution imagery of that product. A clear and compelling description. Video of someone using the product in a real-life scenario. A bunch of great reviews. The answer is D, ‘All of the above.’ Brands have to get all of this right to stand out and create those brand moments consumers will love.

We hear a lot about omnichannel experiences these days. How do the best brands manage this and how should we think about brand moments across various channels, not just product pages?

Waldorf: It’s not easy! I regularly talk with a lot of brands, and this is something they always tell me they are grappling with and working to refine. In some cases, I’ve spoken with brands who didn’t even have an online presence prior to the pandemic. They solely sold in brick-and-mortar stores. Or if they were online to some degree, they either weren’t putting the effort into creating brand moments or they simply didn’t have the resources to. Most times it was the latter.

Now they have to think about selling direct-to-consumer, on Amazon, in-store, across mobile experiences, by incorporating the use of influencers and brand ambassadors into their marketing strategy, and a whole slew of other tactics and channels. And then they must make all of those work in harmony as best they can. The best brands are leveraging best-in-class technologies and talents, either in-house or through partnerships, to map all of this and execute with style and grace. At our #Powerof1 virtual-live hybrid event in May we hosted a panel on this exact topic. Some fantastic examples and tips were given by companies like Microsoft, Simple Mills, Sony Electronics and Colgate-Palmolive. These brands, to name a few, are getting the omnichannel game right!