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The race to own the home - part 2

In yesterday’s post, Jenna Law, our UX DIrector discussed the race to own the home and revealed which companies are currently leading the way and what that means for ‘true home brands.’ To cap off her post, she looks through the lens of the customer and what this means for the future of brands.

We live in a world where the visual and verbal noise is becoming unbearable. Brands fighting for consumer attention are in several cases causing fatigue. The brands that constantly listen, research and tailor their services and propositions to their customer’s individual needs are the ones who will remain relevant. And once a brand is relevant, it can be impossible to resist.

Customers need more relevance… not noise
In the home, relevance is even more vital. To some extent, customers today can shut out the world by closing their front door. The near future will bring us even more technology and solutions that are constantly monitoring our homes and activities by giving helpful insights into how to optimise our household spending, energy and food consumption. For more of these tools to exist and be welcomed into our homes, we must consciously invite brands in. Who we decide to do this with will be the brands who can:

• Be secure with our data
• Be authentic with their motives
• Be useful with their solutions

To win the hearts of the consumer, it will be increasingly important for brands to prove that they can get ‘their basics right’. Before investing time and energy in new technologies and lofty ambition, they must spend time addressing core services and products to seek out opportunities to refine and enhance underlying issues. Existing customers will be thankful – new customers will expect it. Once the foundation is set, permission to offer more to customers will no doubt quickly open up.

Competitor saturation is inevitable
Let’s imagine the near future, a world where brands now ‘own the home’? For the brands that didn’t make it in or for the brands that did and find themselves outweighed by others - what is the next step? Our advice - sit tight and get ready to react. Moving into a new territory, using new technology, into a world that is highly sensitive for consumers can be high risk all round. By monitoring competitors and reacting to their first [risky] move - there is potential to have the larger impact.

Recent trends in comparative advertising demonstrate that by creating these memorable moments in reaction to your competitors, can actually increase positive perception amongst your consumer base. Think back to Apple’s key turning point when they launched their now famous 1984 advert in response to IBM’s reign of the Personal Computer (PC) - this campaign resulted in $155 million worth of Macintoshes sales in the three months after the advert first aired. Or more recently, we can look to the supermarket wars and Lidl’s rather clever ‘reactive’ response to Morrison’s price match offer. Sometimes it pays to lead, but in a fast paced hectic industry, it can often pay to take heed.

Holy Grail
It’s important to be aware that competitors and non-competitors are all fighting for the same ‘holy grail’ – the home. If you think something is a good idea- its fair to say that your competitors have probably thought about it too. There is also a strong trend to tackle consumer engagements by targeting them in their most personal and precious spaces - this is high risk. Our advice - get to know your customers better, understand when and where exactly they want to be contacted, how often and why. Research, data and analytics can help uncover these truths to make your conversations richer.

At Wolff Olins, doing radical work is at the core of our objectives. We believe it is our duty to not only help clients meet their goals, but also steer them towards ultimately what their customers want and need whilst remaining unique and relevant in the marketplace. 'Owning the home’ might be the next big idea but for our clients, we’d rather partner with them to prove and understand if it’s the right idea for them and their customers.

Illustration by Vivian Yang

Jenna Law is UX Director at Wolff Olins London. You can follow her @plexusdesigner