Executive Summary

The Insights 2020 study identified 10 drivers of business growth that brands focused on customer-centricity generally exhibit.


I2020-logoMarketers today must tell their C-suites not only how advertising is driving sales, but also where marketing dollars should be spent in the future. As the traditional sources of competitive advantage between brands disappear, it is the marketers who have helped to build consumer-centric brands which are able to answer these questions successfully.

The Advertising Research Foundation and MB Vermeer partnered together on a survey to better understand why consumer-centric brands succeed. The Insights 2020 study, which covered 60 markets, included 337 in-depth interviews and more than 10,000 survey respondents (who represented a cross-industry, cross-functional sample). The survey identified 10 key drivers of business growth that brands which are more advanced when it comes to consumer relations are doing well. Brands that are not doing well in this area tend to be hampered by internal silos and legacy structures, while brands that are excelling are focusing on solutions that involve the entire organization.

Key drivers for success as it relates to customer centricity include:

  1. Purpose-led: Over 80 percent of over-performing organizations (i.e., brands that believe they are doing extremely well at customer centricity, according to the survey) said that everything they do is linked to a brand purpose.
  2. Data-driven customization: 73 percent of these over-performing organizations create experiences that are data-driven.
  3. Display consistent messaging across all media touchpoints.
  4. Consumer centricity is embraced by the entire organization at 79 percent of over-performing companies.
  5. Consumer centricity is a priority for senior leadership at 91 percent of over-performing companies, and at many, bonuses are based on related metrics.
  6. Be open to consumer collaboration.
  7. Be part of a culture that encourages experimentation and risk.
  8. Insights and analytics are part of all organizational decision making.
  9. Unlock the power of data: Over-performing companies have the ability to link and distill many disparate sources of data.
  10. Hire employees who possess critical capabilities such as whole brain thinking, being both an artist and scientist, and storytelling.

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