Annemarie Harte presents the second instalment of her coverage of the 6th Global DIY Summit in June, where she represented HAI and The Hardware Journal.
This year, I attended the 6th Global DIY Summit in Barcelona between the 12th and 14th June. This was my third time attending and – as a media partner to the Summit – The
Hardware Journal receives free registration and also receives the opportunity to display copies of our magazine to delegates. It proves a popular choice and extends our reach
into Europe and the globe with news and information about the Irish market. This year’s Summit theme was “DIY NEXT – Reinventing our industry”, and over the two days of the
formal programme delegates heard presentations on digital platforms as new business models worldwide, UK and global political and economic forecasts, how a company should
start its own digital transformation, new kinds of cooperation between suppliers and retailers, and an overview of home improvement stores around the world. The general
perception of the global economy was positive and most of the speakers forecast more innovation and growth to come in the near future.
In the afternoon of the first day, there was more focus on technology but not to the detriment of focusing on your customers – at last a bit of sense in a world that appears
to predict the downfall of bricks and mortar daily and that robots will soon take over the world. The focus on customers was how their expectations of your brand have
increased over a smaller period of time thanks to technology (see Figure 1 below), Figures 2 & 3 right.
Steve Jobs famously said ‘Start with the Customer Experience and work backwards’ so the
title of Steven van Belleghem’s presentation ‘Customers – The day after tomorrow’ was fitting. Since the birth of e-commerce, marketing experts have disagreed about the future role of brands. Some have predicted that digital technologies will hasten the demise of brands because customers will have ready access to information they need to make purchase decisions, and “brand” will therefore become less relevant. Others have prophesied an increasing importance of brand as a simple way to evaluate choices in an era of information overkill.
As the graph bracingly shows, brand valuations declined by nearly half (falling from 18% to 10%) while customer relationship values doubled (climbing from 9% to 18%) over a decade. All other categories of intangibles remained stable. These numbers reveal a dramatic shift in the strategic approach to marketing over the last 10 years. Acquirers have decisively moved from investing into businesses with strong brands to businesses with strong customer relationships.
That suggests that marketing resources now directed at brand building should be more fully integrated with those designed to reinforce relationships. The value of “brand” or “brand image” as an entity distinct from the offering itself, we think, will diminish. However, marketers should be careful not to take this too far and under-invest in classic branding. With brand messages becoming more and more individualized and diverse, brand equity needs to stay strong to perform its overall integrative role. Strong brand communications are and will remain important especially in attracting new customers and in enhancing desirability for higher price premiums.
Source: Steven van Bellegham (6th GlobalDIY Summit), Christof Binder, Dominique M. Hanssens (From Harvard Business Review).