Consumers are placing increasing importance on authentic connections with brands – so much so, in fact, that emotionally connected customers are twice as valuable to brands as those that were perfectly satisfied but emotionally uninvolved.

Retailers are seizing this opportunity to drive more foot traffic, revenue and five-star reviews with authentic consumer-brand connections. We recently sat down with Sam Fisher, Operations Director of award-winning sales and retail marketing agency, REL Field Marketing, to discuss this trend, how it’s shaping the gig economy and how REL leverages retail insight tools to encourage brand connection.

Hi Sam, how is REL incorporating brand-connection efforts into its strategies? 

REL creates meaningful customer-brand relationships by encouraging its field reps to be brand ambassadors or extensions of the companies they represent. That change in field rep knowledge and presentation immediately creates a more relatable and authentic customer experience. For instance, ambassadors create very positive impressions when they introduce themselves as experts on the brand they’re representing rather than as REL employees. Surprising? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely.

How is this shift changing the role of the brand ambassador?

Brand ambassadors are becoming product experts – not just cheerleaders. They need in-depth knowledge so they can give qualified, expert product advice in the field. That knowledge also helps them connect with customers as they model the brand’s image. That’s why skilled, repeat-employment gig employees are the favorite for developing a working relationship with the brand. 

That being said, all gig workers can be brand ambassadors too. Ambassadorship incentivizes their efforts to move from gig work to a longer engagement, since knowledgeable and engaged staff are the gold standard of customer service. The catch is trying to sort the casual freelancer from the gig worker whose experience equates to a leg up in brand knowledge. (More about that later.)

What are some trends driving successful brand connections?

In-depth reporting and in-store data gathering are a huge force behind the success of brand connections. That data supports holistic refinement of a brand’s messaging and marketing. Also, uniting in-store experience data, field team data, regional differences and customer information is the short path to creating new, engaging merchandising and sales campaigns. 

How is REL providing clients with these high-demand services?

REL uses Natural Insight to deliver clear, thorough reports on client customer data. This helps clients create brand experiences that resonate with their customer base, drive brand value and sales. Also, with Natural Insight, we can easily find repeat gig workers—ideal candidates for becoming brand ambassadors for clients.

What sold us on Natural Insight was its customizability and flexibility; you can perform an action a number of different ways in order to get the optimal outcome for each client. Customer data? No problem. Foot traffic? No sweat. And the platform has scaled with us as we’ve grown. Natural Insight is a key system for REL and its clients. 

Thanks Sam!

Learn how leveraging Natural Insight’s field execution software can drive brand value and overall sales in our infographic, New Rules for Success in Retail: How Experiential Marketing Fits into the Evolving Customer Experience.

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Caroline Lane is the Director of Marketing at Natural Insight. Prior to joining Natural Insight, Lane was a senior marketing manager with Aquicore, an energy management software system for real estate portfolios. Lane was one of the company’s first ten employees hired and was responsible for building Aquicore’s marketing strategy from the ground up. Lane also previously worked at Renault - Nissan where she helped the automobile manufacturer penetrate more than 14 Asian and African countries. She has a Masters of Science in Management from EMLYON, one of Europe’s top ranking business schools located in France.