Mapping The Consumer Path Throughout The 5A’s

Last week we looked at how the shifting consumer path has been impacted by the Connected World. Today we are going to look at mapping this path throughout the 5A’s – appeal, aware, ask, act & advocate.

The stages in the five A’s are not always straightforward and are sometimes even spiral, similar to the way women buy. With attention deficit, consumers might skip a certain phase along the consumer path. For instance, a consumer might not be attracted to a brand at first, but a recommendation from a friend drives the consumer to eventually purchase the brand. It means that the consumer skips appeal and goes directly from aware to ask.

On the other hand, it is also possible that some consumers skip ask and impulsively act solely based on the initial awareness and appeal.

In other cases (e.g., in scarce and highly popular categories), loyal advocates might not necessarily be actual buyers. Tesla products, for example, are well advocated by non-buyers. This means that consumers skip act and go directly to advocate.

The new consumer path is not necessarily a fixed consumer funnel, and consumers do not necessarily go through all the five A’s. Thus, from aware to advocate, the path might expand or narrow in terms of the number of consumers going through each stage.

The new consumer path might also be a spiral, in which consumers return to previous stages, creating a feedback loop. A consumer who asks questions might add new brands to the “awareness list” or find a particular brand much more appealing. A consumer who encounters product issues during usage might research more about the product before deciding whether to keep using it or to switch to another. Since the path might be a spiral, the number of brands considered throughout the consumer path might also fluctuate across the five A’s.

The time consumers spend on their path to purchase also varies across industry categories depending on the perceived importance of the categories.

In consumer goods categories, for example, aware and appeal occur almost simultaneously. Thus, strong brand awareness without equally strong brand appeal in those categories usually leads to nothing. The time spent on ask is also typically very short. Spontaneous discovery is very common. Consumers instantly and impulsively decide which brands to choose as they stroll down the grocery aisles. Most consumers catch only a glimpse of each considered brand in-store and typically do not research further.

Click on Billie – No Hair project to see how a razor brand has disrupted the 5A’s

For big-ticket items such as real estate and cars, on the other hand, consumers are willing to spend more time asking questions and doing extensive research before purchasing the items.

The five A’s framework is a flexible tool that is applicable to all industries. When used to describe consumer behavior, it draws a picture that is closer to the actual consumer path. It allows for cross-industry comparisons, which reveal insights into industry characteristics. It also provides insights into a company’s relationship with consumers in comparison with its competitors.

When a company, for example, finds that the most common path its consumers often take is very different from the typical consumer path in its industry, the company might discover either an authentic differentiation or a hidden consumer experience problem.

CMO Perspective: Georgina Gooley – Billie

The terrifying reality that women actually need to have body hair to be able to shave it off has been one of advertising’s best kept secrets for decades. Until this year, most people would have been forgiven for thinking that women were born smooth and just like to shave for the hell of it.

But not any more, thanks to one female shaving brand which has jumped on to the scene – hairy legs, armpits and all – and waxed off those stubborn hairy stereotypes.

Bored of adverts only showing razors gliding over smooth, hairless legs, this year Billie claimed to be the first women’s razor brand to show actual hair. How it’s taken until 2018 for this to happen, we’ll never know.

To coincide with this, Billie launched Project Body Hair in the summer: a celebration of female body hair “wherever it is…or isn’t”.

“For the past 100 years, women’s razor brands haven’t acknowledged female body hair,” the brand says. “Commercials show women ‘shaving’ perfectly smooth, airbrushed legs. Strange, huh? But everyone has short stubble, long strands, or something in between. What you do with yours is up to you – grow it, get rid of it, or comb it. It’s your hair, after all.”

It’s about time too. For too long have women been conditioned to feel ashamed of what is entirely natural as brands capitalise on the expectation that women must be permanently smooth and hair-free.

Project Body Hair is not a campaign against shaving; it is a campaign against big brands promoting unrealistic portrayals of women. Billie’s honest and realistic approach is refreshing and more brands should look to make it clear that female body hair is – whatever Procter & Gamble’s Venus might want you to think – completely normal.

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