We’re certainly not one size fits all when it comes to our attitudes towards brands. As you would expect, there are huge differences in customer behaviour amongst the developed nations globally but interestingly, Australians also have certain idiosyncrasies that further sets them apart from their Asian, European and American consumer counterparts. So if you’re in a business where the opinion and behaviour of customers has a strong impact – and when is this not the case – ignoring these notable idiosyncrasies could put your business at risk.
Here are the top three reasons why Australian consumers are unique.
1. We’re wary to share
Universally, social media users, all of whom are also consumers, engage regularly with the brands they use or support. Australians are far less likely to do so. According to SurveyMonkey, one in every four Australians on social media has never followed or liked (and therefore endorsed) a brand or product.
Globally, consumers often reference their great experiences on social media but down under, we’re not so keen to share the positives. Having said that though, we’ll shout it to the rooftops when we’ve had a negative customer service experience – ranking in the top five globally with 78% of disgruntled social sharers telling everyone else about it! As a business owner, this can be incredibly damaging. Aussies it seems, are frank and vocal. So here’s a tip, consistently provide a great customer experience.
2. We trust in-person recommendations over online
When it comes to branding, using a product is all well and good but recommending a product to family and friends is much more powerful. Australian sits somewhere in the middle here with Japan at one end of the spectrum (only 1% of consumers are ready to recommend) while Brazil sits at the other end with 42% of consumers ready to promote brands to others.
In developing countries, online recommendations have a significant impact on buying habits but in Australia, along with the US and UK, we much prefer our recommendations in-person. In fact, in Australia, we top the list with 52% of people trusting an in-person recommendation over an online one. When it comes to online brand suggestions we’re not interested – be it from an acquaintance or even a close friend and sit well below the global average.
3. Aussies love and hate the same brands
In countries such as the UK, US and Canada there are two very distinct lists when it comes to the brands social media users like to recommend and the brands they wouldn’t. In Australia, we have no such split between the ‘likely to recommend’ and ‘unlikely to recommend’ with many brands, particularly our home-grown brands appearing under both headings. Research tells us that Telstra, Coles, Woolworths, Apple, Samsung and Aldi are just some of the brands we have that love/ hate relationship with.
So, with the facts and stats telling us about the ways in which Australian consumers differ, what can business owners do to get them onside? Here are some handy hints;
Be authentic. Be original and inspiring. Australian consumers will not tolerate anything crass, intrusive or condescending. They appreciate humour and irreverence.
Determine your target market. Find the best ways to reach them and engage with them. Move away from the ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality. Customers/consumers are the key to a successful business or brand. Learn more about them from social media – communicate with them, get to know them and in doing so, you’ll build loyalty and trust.
Measure your efforts. Put more time, energy and money into the avenues that are working best.