Advertising is all about communicating and messaging. It should be used similarly to having an intimate conversation with a friend — someone you know, like and trust. Experts continually talk about the ability to target consumers. They all have different ideas on what works best.

The brands and retailers who capture and keep our attention remain relevant and top of mind. Consumers want to be talked to — not at!

Some natural brands and retailers have adopted social selling capabilities that rival their mainstream counterparts. They have the greatest opportunity to build personal relationships with customers and their networks. The key is to always remain close to them. In social lingo, you need to create loyal raving fans!

Large mainstream brands and retailers spend most of their effort pushing content that typically talks at and beyond their audience. This is their Achilles heel and the greatest opportunity for natural brands and retailers. Shoppers want to know how products will best meet their needs on a personal level, from their perspective. This is key!

Retailers and brands must shift their messaging from being transactional-based to a communication strategy that is more empowering, educational and conversational. Shoppers today research products and prices online thus creating their own personal supply chains. Retailers and brands who don’t make those connections will be overlooked.

Natural brands and retailers need to stay relevant in today’s ever-changing world if they hope to effectively compete and survive. A strong digital strategy can provide a significant and sustainable competitive advantage. The impact can be great, including delivering a much higher ROI than traditional advertising.

An effective digital strategy develops and maintains a one-on-one trust relationship between the brand and the shopper. It has the greatest capability of influencing a shopper’s network of friends and family.

Shoppers are bombarded by an overwhelming amount of information. Everyone is trying to get our attention. The marketplace is extremely overcrowded, and our attention spans increasingly shorter. Yesterday’s news is continually eclipsed by today’s “overnight successes” or the flavor of the moment.

Today’s shoppers are armed with more information than at any time before in history. In many cases, shoppers are better educated than the retailers themselves because they have quick and easy access to a tremendous amount of information, typically through their smart phones.

This creates a greater need for personalization. Retailers and brands need to work together to provide educational content that makes shopping easier and more friendly. They should leverage their mutual social influence to best meet the needs of their shoppers. Effective digital solution selling can increase transaction size while driving sales and shopper loyalty.

Brands and retailers must build online communities where they can share relevant stories that help to personalize the relationships they cultivate with new and existing shoppers. Natural brands and retailers should put social into everything they do to speak to consumers where they are and in terms they understand, the same way you would talk to a close personal friend.

©2017 Category Management Solutions All rights reserved.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine September 2017