By Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis
COO & Head of Insights, Retail Doctor Group

In the pre-social media era, every time a customer went away satisfied, they would tell on average 5 friends, who would each tell 5 friends, giving a reach of up to 25 people from one happy customer, however in the age of social media this is now 25 times higher with a potential reach of 17,000 people, making them a crucial part of your sales funnel. Why? Because these satisfied customers are your army of advocates and your key to building your brand. 

Like friendship, brand advocacy has to be earned. In a way, brands need to consider becoming the kind of friend they would like to have themselves in order to stimulate action.   

Friends have the uncanny ability to predict what you need 

Have you ever been told that a good friend knows you better than you know yourself? Indeed, they seem to be able to predict what you want even before you knew you needed it. Sound familiar? Steve Jobs once said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. But a truly fit brand will make the effort to know their customer so well that they can predict their needs. 

Given 85% of consumer decision-making is subconscious; the need to understand your consumer personalities and their subconscious drivers is paramount. Recognising the importance for retail brands in understanding consumer subconscious decision-making, we use a multi-science approach combining neuro scientific findings and psychology called Limbic Insights™.

This methodology helps you determine the personality groups who move towards your retail brand so that you can uncover these subconscious drivers:

Which products do they prefer? How do they shop? How do they interact with you before visiting a store or website? What store design stimulates them? Which visual merchandising techniques drive them to engage with you and to purchase? What multi-sensory enhancements can you add including the right textures, smell and colour to enhance their experience? What is their fashion style and how price sensitive and quality conscious is each personality type? How do they pre-research and buy across the multiple channel mix and what are their expectations? Imagine being able to fully cater to your right consumer personalities, thus giving them what they really want and expect. This is the act of a truly fit retail brand and guaranteed to build an army of brand advocates. 

Friends listen to you 

After experiencing your products or service, how many of you take the time to listen to your customers what they think and then act on their feedback? How many of you take the feedback and encourage brand advocacy and referrals? When you hand a customer their purchase – whether bricks and mortar or online – you have the ideal opportunity to check on their satisfaction and build an emotional connection with them. If done correctly these emotional connections will set the seeds for a long-term relationship between your customer and your brand.    

Friends make it clear they care about you 

The most important way to show you care about your customers is to ensure you meet their needs before they even reach the checkout. Being sensitive to their desires is a priority – whether it’s price, professional service, ease of shopping or product quality. Each customer is an individual and with different emotional drivers, by understanding these emotions you have a stronger ability to ensure they have an outstanding experience at every touchpoint with your brand. 

Friends are as loyal to you as you are to them 

No matter how busy you are as a business, you should always make the time to keep in touch with your customers and reward their loyalty by making them offers and keeping them informed in a way that’s most relevant to them. In return, your customers will respond and reward you with appropriate positive conversations, referrals and purchases. But remember in the new age of loyalty, this isn’t as simple as offering discounts and collecting points. 

Customers expect more from their brands in return for loyalty. Their expectations are based on their emotional needs and their personalities. The new breed of loyalty scheme tailors to consumers’ emotional drivers and their practical needs. Savvy retailers now look at their target segments’ personalities to understand what drives customers to get out of bed in the morning. These drivers can then be applied to entice them to return to a brand. RDG Insights division is frequently delving into consumers’ subconscious minds to understand their emotions, and how these emotions impact their loyalty to a retailer. This understanding helps retailers determine the influential triggers to increase customer frequency. Is your customer loyalty driven by status, scarcity, excitement, or security? This will have a substantial impact on their interactions with your loyalty program. 

Friends know the right way to keep in touch with you 

When you look at your own circle of friends, it becomes clear that each has their own preferred way of keeping in touch. Some by Facebook, some by Instagram, some by email and some by events or telephone catch-ups. The same is true of your customers. Understanding your audience and the best way to communicate individually with them allows you to build deeper and more meaningful relationships.   

As a brand, every customer you possess is individual and their need to have a deep connection with your brand is more important than ever before. If customers love you, they will shout it from the rooftops (or TikTok) and be your most effective source of marketing.   

Talk to our Insights team to find out more about how you can improve your business. To find out more, contact us on or call us on +61 2 9460 2882.