Should brands be pushing consumers?

Dan Smith - 13.02.2018

Technology has turned us into a nation seeking, and expecting, instant rewards. In fact, the Instant Gratification Nation report found that “an over reliance on technology to complete everyday life activities” has impacted our patience. Over half (52%) of millennial respondents admitted to being more impatient today than they were five years ago.

As a result, brands have been trying to exploit this increasingly short attention span.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph last year, head of consumer research at Deloitte, Ben Perkins, explained: “We are now at the stage where we have access to services instantly, stream videos and music and access news instantly, so the next step consumers crave is being able to have the products and goods when they want it.”

But has Deloitte got it wrong? Do consumers actually want more from brands?

The Drum argues that as work becomes less rewarding and increasingly automated, and the endless scrolling on our smartphones has made life feel repetitive, the role of brands could transform. It believes they could become “the principal purveyors of meaningful projects.”

And they might actually have a point…

When brands get convenience wrong

Consumers are encouraged to treat themselves, but can brands be too convenient? The Drum noted that Betty Crocker’s new ‘cake mix’ targeted at American housewives in the 1950s flopped as it got value wrong.

The baker only had to add water, mix, pop it in the oven and voila — cake is served. But the lack of effort involved in making the product took away the value of baking a cake. The solution? They removed the egg powder, and the simple act of having to add the egg themselves enabled the brand to strike the right balance between convenience and effort.

As Henry Ford once said: “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.”

Trade on effort and reward

If you’re looking for an example of a brand that understands how rewarding effort can be, look no further than Nike. The brand has gone beyond being a sportswear manufacturer and is now seen as being an “institution of self-betterment.”

Few other brands have been able to develop this relationship with their consumers, creating a “cult of effort”.

Consumer behaviours may constantly be in flux, but one thing remains — people will also be drawn to challenges, opportunities to test or better themselves, chances to help someone else. So perhaps brands can help to deliver convenience by providing these opportunities.

Like Betty Crocker, brands need to find the right balance. By offering two types of convenience — instant reward and earned reward — brands can meet the need for instant gratification but also provide consumers with more purpose, and enhance their customer experience.

Here at Fireworx, we love a marketing challenge. If you want to push your consumers beyond instant reward, get in touch with us today.