Brand Behaviors That Bother Consumers Most

Rich Thomaselli

Brevity and contextual relevance are a business’ best friends.

Brands like to say they are heavily invested in customer relationship management, but for some, ‘CRM’ seems to stand for “can’t really market.”

Once again, it comes down to what brands do with the data that they collect. It can be turned into leads and sales opportunities, but businesses sometimes take a blanket approach to wooing customers, forgetting there are very real issues that explain why consumers feel let down by brands with whom they have formed relationships.


In previous posts, we’ve discussed the similarities between love and business with regard to brand-consumer relationships in the digital age, and how to avoid consumer breakups with brands.

The bottom line is: To keep any relationship alive and healthy, it must be nurtured.

Too much attention can be a bad thing

In many ways, we have become a ‘What have you done for me lately?’ society, a phenomenon exacerbated by the immediacy of social media and omnichannel marketing. However, as the numbers above show, consumers may desire instant gratification—just not at the expense of being overwhelmed by it, or alienated by messaging that isn’t personalized or intended for them.

Businesses should keep a key phrase in mind: Contextual relevance.

As the Harvard Business Review noted, consumers have an expectation level of what brands should know about them, and how businesses should use that knowledge – and an “information dump” of irrelevant direct marketing is not the answer.

HBR offered three classic case studies that highlight the problem of acquiring customer information but not knowing what to do with it:

  • A grocery store customer who emails suggestions to a grocery store on how to improve their new home delivery service, only to be met with stock promotional emails.
  • A women’s clothing line popular with plus-size customers shifted its advertising message to younger, thinner customers. It quickly realized it had estranged its long-established customer base.
  • A loyal customer of an online retailer tried to get some flexibility in the policy of requiring signatures for deliveries, which often arrive during the day, when she is at work. After fruitless exchanges with managers and supervisors, she was offered a $200 gift card, but not a solution to the problem.

Art+Marketing had an interesting article about how the fashion industry has been a late adopter to new consumer behaviors regarding technology and digitization. It was textbook reading on how not to let consumers down, including being available on multiple platforms to meet customer expectations, delivering when and where consumers want, and how to marry the in-store experience with the online experience.

As with all relationships, listening and replying appropriately are crucial to feeling appreciated and valued. Brand-consumer relationships are no different.

Keep your customers happy. Download the 2017 SAP Hybris Global Consumer Insights Report for free here.

This article originally appeared on Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce.