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Guiding Consumers To New Heights
Arnold On explores cultural, brand and consumer trends that are directly impacting businesses today. Through a combination of cultural observation and proprietary qualitative and quantitative research, we aim to uncover meaningful shifts in attitudes and behaviors and provide marketers with ways to harness these trends to benefit their brands and businesses.
The Emergence of Sherpa Brands 3 The Role of a Sherpa Brand 9 Sherpa Brands Win 17 How to Become a Sherpa Brand 21
It’s been more than 50 years since Jean Nidetch from Queens, New York, invited a group of friends over to her apartment to confess her addiction to cookies. The positive reinforcement she received from them helped her overcome her weight issues and recognize that an essential component to losing weight and changing bad eating habits is the support and guidance of other like-minded people. This experience was also the catalyst to the creation of Weight Watchers, the company she founded, which has since helped millions of people in 30 countries navigate the path to healthier lifestyles.
Throughout the years, Weight Watchers has provided real guidance and support, given relevant, actionable advice about healthy options, and offered tools, like its points system, to make the journey easier. All the while, the brand has enabled program participants to celebrate and enjoy their progress and accomplishments over their journey. Weight Watchers, at its core, is a brand that guides customers to the right solution for them, and it’s a quintessential example of what Arnold Worldwide has identified as a “Sherpa brand.”
This edition of Arnold On focuses on Sherpa brands. As part of ongoing work and research with our clients, we have uncovered an emerging need for brands to provide increased guidance, empowerment, trust and emotional rewards. To better understand this need and to probe consumer attitudes, Arnold Worldwide conducted a survey of 2,400 respondents in the U.S., U.K., Brazil and China. In the following report, we’ll explore the definition of Sherpa brands and their significance in today’s consumer marketplace, as well as provide actionable ways in which all brands can build Sherpa qualities. These findings can help brands uncover a new way to build stronger relationships with their customers to drive brand affinity.
The emergence of sherpa brands
The Sherpa are a group of Tibetans who live in the high Himalayan mountain regions of Nepal. Because they have lived in the area for hundreds of years, the Sherpa people are experts when it comes to the local mountainous terrain. In fact, they are so skilled at their craft that the term “Sherpa” has become synonymous with any expert mountain guide anywhere in the world. Sherpas use their knowledge and experience to help mountaineers make better decisions as they navigate difficult terrain. They provide helpful information and tools to make the journey easier and act as a trusted resource along the mountaineers’ path. But the most interesting dynamic of Sherpas is that at these magnificent summits, they stand back and let mountaineers revel in their personal accomplishment.
With the “difficult terrain” that many consumers face today – conflicting opinions and overwhelming information and choices – brands have begun embracing the qualities of the Sherpa to help consumers sift through and make sense of it all. Sherpa brands are leveraging their category expertise to help consumers feel more informed, more in control and empowered, and to help these consumers celebrate their personal accomplishments.
POSITIVE WORLD OUTLOOK
FALL 2011 FALL 2012
68% 43% 18% 22% 49% 46%
External and Internal Forces Shaping Consumers’ Lives
In our survey, we found that while consumers’ outlook for the world around them is improving, they are still feeling external pressures, like economic uncertainty caused by the lingering effects of the global recession, as well as political instability, that are beyond their control. These factors are compounded by the overwhelming amount of information that exists today. Consumers are striving to strike a better balance and achieve well-being in their lives. They want to spend less time worrying and more time on personal fulfillment, such as connecting with friends and family, and making better, healthier decisions. One way Sherpa brands are responding to these shifts is by alleviating some of the stress. They’re guiding consumers to decisions in a multitude of areas, like financial management and healthcare. They also help people to be more productive and give them a sense of achievement, while saving them time and money that can be used on the things they really enjoy.
POSITIVE PERSONAL OUTLOOK
FALL 2011 FALL 2012
81% 52% 56%
66% 37% 41%
GLOBAL PRIORITIES FOR NEXT 12 MONTHS:
1 2 3
Have more financial stability and security
Focus on my health
Spend more time with friends and family
Q: How would you describe your outlook for the world around you in the next 12 months? Q: How would you describe your outlook for your life in the next 12 months? Q: Thinking about the next 12 months, what are your top priorities in life?
ACCELERATING AND EMERGING PERSONAL VALUES
As part of this research, we identified an acceleration of several values – optimism, stability and prioritization – as well as emerging values – control and practicality. Consumers want to feel in charge of their personal journeys and Sherpa brands are making a significant impact in this area. Optimism: There’s no shortage of negative news weighing on consumers’ minds. However, they are responding positively by choosing to see the silver lining. They seek greater contentment and fulfillment in their lives and are adopting a brighter view about what’s to come. Stability: Following the financial and housing market collapses in 2007–08, consumers took a more conservative approach to spending. In today’s environment, financial stability means more than spending only on the essentials. Consumers are increasingly spending on the affordable indulgences that matter to them, provide them with value and make their lives better. Prioritization: People are looking to strike a better balance in their lives, but need to understand and manage the trade-offs. Ultimately, they are looking for help to prioritize what’s most important to them. In a world where you can’t have everything, people want to understand their choices and need to be guided to the decisions that are best for them. Control: With so much instability in the world, consumers want to gain a tighter grip on the things within their power. Consumers are seeking tools and resources to help them make informed decisions, but also want to remain in control of the decisionmaking process. Practicality: As the economy recovers, smart consumers remain thoughtful in their purchase decisions. While people want products that are well designed and provide them with a great experience, they are also seeking utility to ensure that they spend their money wisely and make the right decision.
Values in 2012–2013
Importance of Personal Values vs. Change in Importance over the Past Year
Importance of Values (Fall 2012)
30% 25% 20%
Prioritization Responsibility Honesty Fun Simplification Carpe Diem Control Practicality
15% 10% 5% 0%
–6% –4% –2% –0% +2%
+4% +6% +8%
Change in Importance (Fall 2012 vs. Fall 2011)
Q: Which values do you feel have become MORE IMPORTANT to you in the last few months? (choose top 3)
THE ROLE OF A SHERPA BRAND
Given external concerns and accelerating personal values, we have found a growing demand for guidance. Through our research, we found that 81% of consumers worldwide think it’s important for a brand to guide them to better decisions. This has resulted in the emergence of Sherpa brands. Sherpa brands help people see the path, inform them at key decision points, provide decision-making tools along the way and help people navigate through their journey. The goal is to guide the consumer through a process, whether it’s the path to better health, financial freedom, planning a vacation or buying a new car. But like a real Sherpa, who enables climbers to celebrate at the mountain summit, Sherpa brands help people celebrate their own accomplishments. Ultimately, Sherpa brands play a more meaningful role in consumers’ lives, achieving higher levels of trust and loyalty.
Q: How important is it for a brand to help guide you to the decisions or choices that make the best of your daily life?
Characteristics of a Sherpa Brand
While there are many characteristics that define a Sherpa brand, there are a few that reign supreme. By providing guidance – including helpful information and solutions to consumer problems – Sherpa brands help consumers navigate and make better decisions. They strike a balance between doing everything for the consumer and the consumer doing it all. Additionally, they make the decisionmaking process less complex, easier to understand and help consumers make the choices that are right for them. These elements lead consumers to feel empowered, providing them with greater satisfaction, confidence and sense of accomplishment. This is the formula for Sherpa brand success: ensuring that an individual feels emotionally rewarded at the end of their journey.
Q: How important is it for a Sherpa brand to have each of these characteristics? Q: Which of these characteristics are most important for a Sherpa brand? Q: Which of the following best describes how a brand that helps guide you to the decisions or choices that make the best of your daily life make you feel?
WHAT IS THE JOURNEY?
WHAT IS THE JOURNEY? Fidelity helps clients plan financially for their futures by connecting them with investment solutions that best fit their income, life stage and risk tolerance. It provides extensive information on the status of the financial sector and guidance on where consumers have opportunities to develop their specific portfolios. HOW DO THEY PROVIDE KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION? Fidelity provides investors with peace of mind and guidance at every level – from one-on-one conversations with investment professionals to powerful DIY financial planning tools and research. They guide investors to the appropriate investments depending on their shortand long-term goals and for their lives in general. The focus is on an individual’s “Personal Economy” because Fidelity recognizes that money management is just one part of the whole picture. WHAT ARE THE EMOTIONAL BENEFITS? The brand takes the overwhelming world of finances and breaks it down in a way that is understandable, providing support via investment professionals, online resources and calculators that help each user navigate his/her personal situation. Users are empowered with knowledge and the ability to take control of their investment choices.
sherpa brands in action
Navigating a supermarket has never been easier than with the SK Telecom Smart Cart, which provides up-to-theminute alerts on product availability and coupon information. Customers input their grocery lists at home on a corresponding smartphone app and sync the phone with the cart once in-store. After it is synced, the cart tailors a shopping experience and route to the customer’s list of needs. HOW DO THEY PROVIDE KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION?
In 2011, Korean telecommunications company SK Telecom launched a pilot program in China that features a geo-tagged “smart” shopping cart that simplifies the often arduous chore of grocery shopping. It streamlines the process by helping consumers map out the most efficient way to check things off their list and provides special offers in real time.
Along with location-based technology that shows consumers special offers based on where they are in-store, the app and tablet on the cart offer tips and product information. WHAT ARE THE EMOTIONAL BENEFITS? The combination of the mobile app and in-store Smart Cart help make shopping a less stressful and time-consuming process. They empower the consumer to take control of the experience, feel satisfied with their purchases and focus on other priorities.
Fidelity Investments is among the most diversified financial services companies in the world, offering a full range of investment solutions for individual investors, employers, institutions and intermediaries. Their mission is to help guide customers and clients to achieve their financial objectives, as manifested by “the green line.”
Source: SK Telecom Press Release
Source: Fidelity Website
WHAT IS THE JOURNEY? The job search journey can be overwhelming given the multitude of ways to connect with companies and get information. Monster helps individuals home in on their goals and map out clear steps to get to their dream job from where they are now.
How Sherpa Brands Are Delivering Across Industries
HOW DO THEY PROVIDE KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION? “Career Mapping” is a tool that enables users to visually see the steps that lead from their current role to the career they want. The tool also provides information on turnover statistics in specific industries and the backgrounds of people who work in them. “Career Snapshots” is another offering that supplies in-depth information about what careers in different fields look like. “Career Benchmarking” is a social tool that lets users compare themselves to others in their industry and career stage.
“They help tailor a plan that is in my budget and gives me the coverage that I need.”
“Provide clear and concise information about what their product is, the ingredients, and how to use products.”
“Recommend from knowledge and experience the products that are best for me on a personal level and allow me the choice to make the final decision after hearing their advice.”
Monster allows people to find job listings that fit their interests and career goals by consolidating all the listings in one place and making them easily searchable. What sets Monster apart as a Sherpa brand is its “Career Mapping” tool, which provides step-by-step guidance for users on how to get to their ideal career.
EDUCATION “Empowers me with knowledge that leads me down the right path.”
“They provide the choice and professional suggestions.”
WHAT ARE THE EMOTIONAL BENEFITS? Users experience not only the satisfaction of finding an opportunity that matches their experience and interests, but also a sense of accomplishment every time they get a step closer to their goal on the path that Monster helped them build.
”They have trained professionals who give us the information we need.“
Q: What are brands doing well?
SHERPA BRANDS WIN
Sherpa brands offer benefits that make consumers’ lives easier, which ultimately drives stronger affinity, loyalty and business. Most consumers are more likely to trust and be loyal to brands that guide them to decisions that make the most of their time.
Q: How much do you trust brands that help guide you to the decisions or choices that make the best of your daily life? Q: How does a brand that helps guide you to the decisions or choices that make the best of your daily life affect your relationship with the brand?
According to Lowe’s, since it launched MyLowes in 2011:
a winning sherpa brand
OVER 14.5 MILLION CARDS
By living up to its motto, “Improving Home Improvement,” Lowe’s proves why Sherpa brands win. Geared primarily to the do-it-yourself home renovator, Lowe’s success is contingent upon its ability not only to offer quality products at good value, but also to be a trusted advisor throughout the home renovation process, from start to finish. To help achieve this, the company has created a wide-ranging series of tools, including MyLowes, which is a personalized online utility that aids in the planning of future projects and pinpoints specific products needed to complete the job. It also provides a history of purchases, making it easy to track everything bought in one location. Lowe’s is enhancing the brand experience by expanding its service, while providing customers with a sense of accomplishment as they get the right products to successfully complete home improvement projects. From a business perspective, the brand has also increased the average basket size of customers and the number of times they shop at the store. Lowe’s actions as a Sherpa translate to concrete, tangible increases in the bottom line.
HAVE BEEN ACTIVATED
In fact, they transact more often and the spend per transaction is greater than that of those not registered.
CARDHOLDERS HAVE REGISTERED
THEIR CARDS ON MYLOWES.
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
REGISTERED USERS SPEND MORE WITH LOWE’S OVERALL
REGISTERED NOT REGISTERED
Source: Lowe’s Earnings Call, 2012
HOW TO BECOME A SHERPA BRAND
Understand the Customer’s Journey
There are seven actions that a brand can take to become a Sherpa brand. From understanding the customer’s journey, to providing them with the right tools and support that exceeds their expectations, to enabling them to celebrate their achievements, Sherpa brands must act not only as a guide, but as a trusted partner and champion as well.
Offer Functional and Emotional Support
Enable Customers to Celebrate Their Achievements
Live up to Your Promise
Establish Your Expertise Empower Customers with the Right Tools Exceed Customer Service Expectations
The sHERPA bRAND TOOLKIT
UNDERSTAND THE CUSTOMER’S JOURNEY
Before your brand can truly guide, you must understand your customer’s journey or path. Where are they trying to go? Ensure that you understand the customer’s journey in order to answer these questions and provide meaningful solutions.
years of experience understanding the journey of new moms
Source: SMA Nutrition Website
U.K. breastmilk replacement brand SMA Nutrition understands what new moms are going through. SMA provides emotional support regarding concerns about the use of substitutes for breastmilk and helpful guidance and advice on baby care at key stages. Additionally, customers can access extensive resources for each phase of their journey, including a live hotline, mobile app and know-how help sheets and videos.
ESTABLISH YOUR EXPERTISE
Once the journey is identified, reflect on the value and expertise that your brand provides when guiding that journey. Position yourself as a thought leader in that area and offer information that can help educate consumers and demystify the process.
of Genius Bar customers are satisfied with the service
Source: NPD Group, 2012
of consumers overall would return to a store after a positive customer service experience
Apple “geniuses” are knowledgeable problemsolvers for customers in the process of purchasing, using or maintaining the brand’s products. By providing accessible information about complex questions related to technology and troubleshooting, the “geniuses” offer understandable solutions that put consumers’ minds at ease every step of the way.
The sHERPA bRAND TOOLKIT
EMPOWER CUSTOMERS WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS
Greater value is something consumers look for in any brand. However, from our survey, we also found that consumers prioritize more information, solutions and expertise from brands to help guide decision making. In addition, while Sherpa brands help guide consumers, it’s important to remember that consumers want to remain firmly in the driver’s seat. A good Sherpa brand helps consumers navigate through decisions and encourages them along their journey, but also allows them to revel in their achievements.
people have tried Progressive’s Snapshot tool
Source: Progressive Website
Progressive provides effective and easy-to-use guidance for customers through an array of online and mobile tools that compare prices on insurance and offer discounts for good driving. These tools simplify the confusing process of understanding and choosing car insurance.
in the first month alone
Source: Hellman’s Press Release
After purchasing a Hellman’s product at a St. Marche grocery store in Brazil, customers receive a personalized recipe at the bottom of their receipt that uses what they purchased that day as ingredients for the dish. These suggestions enable Hellman’s to promote usage of its products while guiding the customer to cooking decisions that take advantage of resources they already have.
The sHERPA bRAND TOOLKIT
OFFER FUNCTIONAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Your brand needs to do more than fill a need; it must also connect on a deeper, more meaningful level. Sherpa brands are considered trustworthy, high quality and reliable, and consumers who interact with them feel satisfied, confident, rewarded and empowered by their purchase. Weight Watchers customers lose
the weight of a person in a self-help program People who lose weight with other people are likely to lose more weight than on their own
Source: JAMA, 2003 and Obesity Journal, 2012
Weight Watchers, at its core, understands the often difficult journey of weight loss. The program recognizes the need for a trusted partner along the path, and, above all, aims to ensure its customers know they have a strong support system that they can engage via group meetings, a point-based weight-loss toolkit and versatile apps.
LIVE UP TO YOUR PROMISE
When it comes to values that consumers look for in brands, trustworthiness, reliability and functionality are most important. Your brand must deliver on all three in order to win consumers’ loyalty. Trustworthiness is especially important, as every mountaineer wants to feel confident in their guide before starting the ascent.
personal financial service provider with
users since launching in 2007
As an online financial services provider, Mint.com handles millions of people’s sensitive account information and has built a strong reputation for protecting this data, solidifying consumer trust. The service aggregates all of a user’s accounts into one place, analyzes spending to help identify opportunities for savings and provides tools for setting goals.
The sHERPA bRAND TOOLKIT
Grew at 3% CAGR from 2009–2011 to have
EXCEED CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPECTATIONS
Your brand needs to have a strong foundation of knowledgeable staff and accessible customer service along with open channels of communication. How a brand interacts directly with a customer is often a “make or break” moment in consumers’ minds.
business accounts in the U.K.
Source: Barclays Annual Report
The “Barclays Connector” tool enables small business owners to talk to others in the same position and get authentic guidance from a peer who has gone through the same process. Through this feature, the company is crowdsourcing quality customer service that is relevant to its account holders.
in customer satisfaction among all U.S. credit card companies in 2012 for the 6th straight year by J.D. Power and Associates
Source: J.D. Power and Associates
The card company has tapped into extensive data about its customers to provide the best and most tailored service possible worldwide, 24/7. When a customer calls, the service representative sees deep background information on the customer, including payment patterns, in order to identify unscripted, personalized solutions on the spot.
The sHERPA bRAND TOOLKIT
Participating in Nicorette’s Committed Quitters program and using the product
ENABLE customers TO CELEBRATE THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS
The best Sherpas guide people up the mountain, but let them enjoy their achievement once the summit is reached. Your brand should do the same. Empower and reward consumers along the way, but emphasize that the goal was achieved by them alone.
chances of success
Source: Nicorette Website
Nicorette emphasizes celebration of the little steps that enable people to quit smoking one cigarette at a time. The brand celebrates achievement by chronicling every smoke-free day and every dollar saved throughout the journey. It also offers personalized advice and support to quitters during the process.
downloads, with 5% less fuel used
Source: Volkswagen Website
VW is helping consumers in China celebrate reducing their carbon footprints via the “Blue Mobility” smartphone app. The app makes it easy for users to track and analyze their driving behavior, access tips on curtailing fuel usage and earn points toward an “eco-score” for eco-friendly driving. When the app was first launched, users could also compete via points earned to win a trip to Los Angeles.
Today, we see a number of values on the rise. People are looking for more control, prioritization, practicality, optimism and stability. But in today’s complex world, with its overwhelming amount of information and choices, people are demanding more guidance to help them achieve control, focus on their priorities and make better decisions for themselves that ultimately make them feel happier and more stable. This demand for guidance has resulted in the emergence of Sherpa brands. Sherpa brands go further than just helping people navigate and simplify the decisionmaking process. Equally as important, they help people celebrate their accomplishments and goals throughout their journeys. This allows brands to play a more meaningful role in the lives of their customers, which results in greater brand trust and loyalty. In a world where brands are trying to differentiate themselves and create stronger relationships with consumers, Sherpa brands are both the trusted partners that consumers rely on as they navigate through their journeys and the champions that celebrate consumer accomplishments along the trek.
ARNOLD STRATEGIC INSIGHTS GROUP
Arnold On is brought to you by the Arnold Strategic Insights Group. This edition is based
S T R AT E
on the results of a global online survey of 2,400 adults conducted in December 2012 on general attitudes and behavior, as well as on secondary research.
I NS IGHT
The Arnold On series provides analysis and consumer insights across a variety of topics, and discusses their impact on how marketers communicate with consumers.
The content of this edition of Arnold On was developed by Laurie Pocher, VP, Director, Business Strategy; Li Zhou, Analyst, Business Strategy; Sean O’Neill, VP, Director of Business Strategy; Neela Pal, Managing Partner, Global Director of Brand and Business Strategy; and Brad Woodard, Lead Designer.
If interested in further discussion or a workshop, please contact us:
Lisa Unsworth Chief Marketing Officer email@example.com 617.587.8242