Brands Should Focus on ‘Pull’ Strategies to Attract Consumers

Brands Should Focus on ‘Pull’ Strategies to Attract Consumers

Interview by Nikola Djuric
Published: April 03, 2024

In 2024, people spend about seven hours a day on average connected to the internet – that’s largely where you’re going to meet your customers and shape their impressions of your brand.

The big evolution comes when you start looking at this environment as a place where people experience your products and services in all stages. 

You have to view your brand the way customers will view it – as an extension of how you serve them in every environment.

This adds additional value to your customers in their search for:

  • Finding your product
  • Buying the product
  • Using & sharing it

According to Steve Fine, managing partner at FINE Design Group, businesses should be twice as clear about what their brand is in 2024.


Who Is Steve Fine?

As FINE's strategist, Steve partners with executive management and marketing teams to drive digital transformation for his clients. He's helped shape the marketing strategy of numerous businesses through the brand-led business building that FINE has refined over the last three decades. Helping companies be their best selves is Steve's go-to strategy.

Digital is an extremely distracting world of touch points and channels viewed through various devices.

To enable your customers to avoid obstacles, it always goes back to having a solid “compass” for your brand and business.

Decision-makers should be methodical in orchestrating all three types of media and how they feed into each other, Steve tells DesignRush:

  1. Owned media in which you have full control and where you can shape an ideal customer experience
  2. Earned media where you influence as an active participant in a balanced conversation
  3. Paid media where you have to understand where and when people look for you so you convert the ROI of loyal customers

"Analytics play a key role in measuring the whole orbit. The expectation is that you have the data and the technology to adapt, update, and evolve in real time," Steve explains.

All Tech Tools You Use Should Serve Your Brand

Billions of U.S. dollars are spent to build and sell competing martech platforms that all purport to be the all-in-one solution that will connect you with customers.

"It's easy to get sucked into a “cart before the horse” mentality, where you’re picking platforms based on abundant shiny features, and then find yourself feeding the machine you’ve plugged into instead of enjoying its benefits."

"The tools and technology you choose are essential, but they are the means, not the ends. Make the technology match the experience you’re creating for customers," Steve says.

Check the Rebranding Story of EU's HR Giant

On the technical side, there has to be constant integration and evolution – you need to think about how everything fits together – this is a continuous, long-term task for every business.

"FINE’s core brand-building approach is building the company that attracts avid customers today, and the rise of digital is a big driver because we’re now in a time where the customer has the power."

Brands have to focus on "pull" strategies to attract consumers:

  • It begins with a vision that’s a unifying direction and purpose for articulating your company’s values, distinctions, and positioning
  • Then, you deliver a product or a service experience that makes sure what you do in operation lives up to what you say. This inspires a compelling expression that plays out everywhere your brand goes and helps build market traction
  • Digital presence is where you have to align it all – the vision, experience, expression, and traction – to create brand synergy

It Takes Less Than a Second to Get the First Impression

Steve argues that it all comes down to "One Split Second. Zero Second Chance” regarding the impact of website design and UX:

  • 50 milliseconds is the time it takes users to decide if they like your website
  • 94% of users say you’ll lose if your website design is low-quality
  • 88% of them don't return to a website after a poor UX

"20% of all website visits usually land on the homepage, with the majority of traffic coming through some other page as part of more specific research."

"Therefore, it’s key to think of what happens after your customer comes in contact with your brand, and how to make it easy for them to get engaged."

Here's more data to back this claim:

  • It takes 5-7 impressions for someone to just remember your brand
  • For high-involvement purchases, expect customers to use a minimum of 200 online touchpoints during their research (think of long buying cycles)
  • 6-20 impressions are necessary to drive a purchase decision

Use AI, Stay Cool and Embrace Visual Content

Discussing the biggest branding trends of 2024, Steve says they're the things driving conversations and shifting expectations.

These are the top three branding trends in 2024:

  • AI is on everyone’s mind

"It may be an ally, an enemy, or both."

"The coolest thing generative AI is generating is a greater understanding of its limits in replacing human creativity and potential in enhancing it."

"The trend is how to help level up human creativity, not squash it."

  • Generation Stitching

"We see 'generation stitching' where the population continues getting older on paper, but gaps close online, and workplaces are becoming multi-generational."

"Old folks want to be cool, and Gen X through Alpha likes to meld eras. Some get along better than others, but they can all hang out together online."

  • Embracing visual & verbal balance

"We’re looking to shy away from 'extra' mindsets and embrace visual and verbal balance and coexistence. Don’t let noisy social media fool you – whatever your POV, if it’s extreme, people are getting pretty tired of it."

Tips for Making Your Content More Engaging

  1. Gamify your website to drive faster customer choices and make UX more engaging and fun
  2. Think of AI as "assisting intuitively" and it’ll raise the bar for recommended content, pre-filled forms, improved chat plugins, and relevant information served wherever your brand is
  3. Infusing your content with real thought leadership, original visuals, and information gain is how to stand out in SERPs and minds against AI-generated content overload

"Over my 30 years, I tend to feel like no effort is wasted if you stay focused on the core human expectations of your customers and employees, not shifting sands of industries and technologies," Steve argues.

"The intentional storytelling hasn’t changed – You just have to be faster and more selective."

"Make sure all the owned, earned, and paid places where you interact with people are in sync because everyone can connect the dots easily."

Conclusion – Be Very Clear About Your Why, What, and How

"Customers don’t care who the company's VP of marketing is, whether you have a Chief Digital Officer, or what database you store their information in," Steve insists.

"The key part of digital branding in 2024 will be the branding part – the ability to interpret customer wants, needs, and impressions, and translate that across all the places they encounter your brand."

While FINE Design Group already uses generative AI selectively to augment its capabilities, it's important to remember what we’re all trying to generate – an emotional, tangible, and active response.

A human connection.

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