The science behind a competitive brand strategy

Ever wondered what consumers really think of your brand? This year Accenture released a Love Index report which pinned down precisely what makes the most popular brands so desirable and effective. We plucked and dissected the core insights that surfaced which every online retailer should be integrating into their brand strategy, as well as stumbled across a surprising discovery on what the most overlooked (yet has the most potential) channel is.

The report overview

27,000 global brands across the UK, USA and Brazil came under scrutiny over a period of 18 months and it turns out that there are five key dimensions which every consumer judges a brand on:

1.       Fun – Can you hold people’s attention in an entertaining way?

2.       Relevant - Are your providing clear and personalised information?

3.       Engaging – Are you identifying with your customer; their needs and desires?

4.       Social – Are you connecting people and ideas together?

5.       Helpful – Are your services efficient, easy and adapt with the times?

These dimensions were used to construct a model which brands were rated against leading to an overall score, further determining where performance excelled and where it lagged behind.

The key findings

The determined scores end up highlighting the shape of the opportunity that will be available to companies who are in that sector. Amidst this, the following three insights flagged up to pave way for where exactly these opportunities are hiding..

1.       Concentrate your strategy around your sector

It doesn’t matter which part of the world your business is operating in or what language your audience speaks (though helpful as that is for compiling campaigns), your follower’s behaviour is determined largely by the sector they are interacting in. Meaning, if you are in the eCommerce business, it doesn’t matter whether your online business is in the South Pole or the Netherlands, there are certain key behaviours that every person who is shopping online will display.

In this respect, creating personas and pinpointing the key online shopping personality traits isn’t something you can afford to skip. By being able to clearly define the key behavioural characteristics of online shoppers, you can then use that as a starting point to target shoppers in different regions. As you move further along your strategy, through trial and error and A/B testing, you should be left with a melting pot of the very best approaches that worked, ready to be combined together and unleashed.

2.     Concentrate on being Digital

Digital brands outperform traditional ones. Fact. Four out of the five most loved brands in the world turned out to be digital natives that being; Amazon, Google, YouTube and Whats App. And surprisingly the fifth most loved brand, Wallmart, though not inherently digital, was ranked due to its digital output. This means even if your company didn’t start within the digital realm, it is your integration in digital that will impact how your followers judge you. This may not sound like anything new, especially as there is already so much discourse around how everything has to eventually transition to digital, but companies are stepping up their game so much so that Coca cola has just hired its first chief digital marketing officer.

However, it should be a no brainer that before the technology, there should come the strategy. it’s important that you have a plan regarding how to increase eCommerce revenue before even embarking on deploying a variety of digital tools and processes.

Alternatively, this doesn’t mean by being seamlessly digital you overlook the humane element, quite the opposite. In fact, the more digital you are becoming, the bigger the priority to retain and communicate that humane touch through channels which aren’t intimate by design. To remain relevant and distinguishable, it is no longer enough to create a product or service that your audience will love, you need to concentrate on creating digital experiences that are lead by design and the user in mind.

3.       Concentrate on your Social approach

This is the number one key insight that you can start implementing now to topple your competition; your social media strategy. Even though being social has become an intrinsic part of the modern day marketing strategy, it turns out that it’s also the one dimension that most of those 28,000 brands aren’t as strong in as they should be - yes that also including Amazon. That’s largely down to some people equating a digital strategy to a social strategy (I hope you’re not one of those people). Your social channels is one strand amidst multiple other strands that contribute to the bigger picture. However, it’s also the channel that often gets overlooked, in particularly by high level professionals who question its output and yet, the reality is that it’s fast becoming a channel that businesses can’t survive without

If you’re in eCommerce, the need for a social strategy should be a natural fit into how you are already marketing online. Especially as 64% of people use social media as an inspiration for shopping. When implemented properly, the stats showing just how much of a profound impact a social strategy can make might make you reassess your social marketing. 


So science has spoken and all is not lost. Brands have a lot of scope to differentiate themselves from one or more dimensions. If one retailer starts implementing a super smooth user experience strategy which sky rockets engagement, that brand would own that particular dimension and in the process, possibly fall short on another (there’s yet to be a brand who has mastered every dimension). Overtaking the competition and becoming a thought leader in your sector requires identifying these gaps and stepping in.


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To catch the full report and further granular details on industry specific insights, check out the research here.