Brands should become more consumer centric, and improve their ability to create data-driven personalized offerings.

In Africa today, consumer advocacy is becoming more and more important, with word-of-mouth recommendations spreading faster than ever before, and exerting more influence over buying decisions.

Consumer centricity is all about designing experiences from the consumer’s point of view and orienting the organization around the consumer.

A consumer-first mindset starts at the executive level and flows to all levels and areas in the organization. With access to data never before available, the best businesses to be in Africa will generate data-driven personalized offerings.

They will integrate all consumer data and translate that data into insights, then convert insights into personalized products and services and targeted methods of engagement. Already, leading global brands no longer view people only as consumers.

The most forward-thinking companies also see consumers in the role of co-producers.

In the past, with relatively limited consumer insights, it was sufficient for a brand to identify target consumers and determine their needs.

But Now, armed with a comprehensive—and dynamic—profile, brands have new missions, such as finding ways to stimulate consumer needs, identifying look-alike consumers and turning consumers into brand ambassadors who effectively co-create the brand.

In addition, products are advancing from commodities to become part of an integrated consumer experience.

Today, the best brands are determining how to integrate products into the overall customer experience—which includes not only shopping but learning about a product, using it and recommending it.

To keep the ‘fast lane’ and earn loyalty, winning brands will have to measure consumer outcomes through the Net Promoter System, a common gauge of customer advocacy that starts by asking one fundamental question: “How likely would you be to recommend our product to a friend or family?”

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