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Lately I have had to deal with marketing in retail, in particular the highly localized shops. Although the sector specificity, also in this case the system most effective marketing is focusing on engagement. Because engagement ensures an emotional bond between consumer and brand so that conversations can flow between them about the brand. So all we need is love!

The purchase process, the so-called customer journey has been analyzed deeply in the past. Until 2011 the route was marked by the triad

Stimulus -> Store -> Purchase

In such a model the stimulus was solicited by advertising, led to a first contact with the product (Fmot, ie First moment of truth) normally in store, where preparation of staff, price policy, etc. counted to induce the purchase itself and get in the post-sale (SMOT, Second moment of truth) a loyal customer base.

In 2011, with the emergence of the internet Google introduced to the concept of ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) that moved the moment of contact of the consumer with a product before going to the store, when he needed to be informed about (mainly through internet search). With the progress of the digital experience customer journey has evolved into customer experience and ZMOT included other possible elements (beyond search) to get in touch with the brand and the product.

From this autumn Brian Solis has further refined the model by introducing the concept of Umot (Ultimate Moment of Truth) that arises at the end of the process as sharing experience by the consumers. This is because through social media and messaging platforms sharing product or brand experience becomes more important than search.

UMOTIn fact all of us are familiar seeking advice of fiends when we need something (“Do you know anyone good at …”). Facilitate, therefore, the consumer experience and its sharing capabilities become essential to achieve significant sales results. At this stage storytelling becomes an effective tool, together with availability of content; not only informative (especially useful during ZMOT), but these that generate an emotional bond with consumers.

Recently, the model has been further refined (but we should say revolutionized) by Graham Brown with the concept of Brand Experience. In this model at the center there is not the brand that looks the way consumer buying and tries to facilitate the process with his stories, but there is the consumer who observes the brand and lives only experience he shares with his stories, not those of the brand.

“Experience is the brand. Brands are no more than the stories we tell. Experiences are only real when shared. People buy on emotion and justify with logic.”

In this highly interconnected world the key factor becomes enabling consumers to recommend the brand in their stories. But to do this it is not enough like the product or the brand: it is necessary to love it! Because people only recommends brand they love. The only content that exist is that worth telling. So you have to create value, events, memories. Joining the dots, reconnecting communities, asking “what’s broken?” and fixing pain points, taking risks, creating touch points online and offline! Because your brand is what people say about you and you cannot always be in the room.

“They will soon forget what your brand said. But they’ll always remember how you made them feel.”

In our next article we will see how this applies to local businesses and how to create a brand experience that put the shop as a sharing tool. All we need is love!

Photo Credit [Brian Solis,]

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