Brands must be “customer-committed, not customer-obsessed” in order to build meaningful relationships, an expert has stated.

According to Alistair Macrow, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s UK, knowing customers inside out is not a bad thing.

However, he believes it is “pointless if you don’t act on what you learn”.

“What matters is facing up to customer reality, dealing with the fact that it might not be what you want and taking action based on that reality.”

Indeed, he insisted that while brands should be modern and progressive, the speed at which they move needs to be determined by customers.

Mr Macrow said this means marketers must avoid being too distracted by “the next big thing”.

Instead, he stated that they must understand it and work out how relevant it may be to their business and its customers.

Mr Macrow went on to argue that being committed to customers means it is important to “get to the truth”.

This, he said, means it is the responsibility of senior marketers to have a hypothesis for every important issue within a business.

“Use every piece of information to test that hypothesis and be prepared to refine it and test it again,” he commented.

“Never stop asking why. Ask it often enough and you’ll have the best plans, based on the most meaningful insight, and you’ll execute them in the most motivating way.”

Mr Macrow stated that if brands only hear what they want instead of questioning what they hear, they might fool themselves but not their customers.

He added that it is very important for brands to be honest and authentic, with no discernible gap between thought, word and behaviour.

While he acknowledged that this does not guarantee popularity, it does display integrity and promotes trust.

“Do what you believe is right, treat people the way they deserve to be treated, say what needs to be said, trust your instincts,” Mr Macrow advised.

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