Customer behaviour and brand belief

Consumer behaviourist Amanda Stevens shares her tailored stories and insights on how to make customer behaviours work for your brand.

Author

Anne-Maree Brown

Amanda Stevens
Consumer behaviourist expert Amanda Stevens is a keynote speaker at the HIA 2019 National Conference from 23 – 25 May.

Energetic, engaging, funny, relatable. These are just a few of the reactions keynote speaker Amanda Stevens has evoked during her career as a public speaker. 

Amanda is seen today as a thought leader in the space of customer behaviour, trends, insights and brand strategies – and how to convert clients into all important advocates. She’s truly passionate about the subject – she talks about it, teaches it, and writes books and blogs about it.

But it all came from a bumpy start. 

When the former Young Australian of the Year (Career Achievement in NSW 2002), was first asked to stand up in front of her peers and speak about her business success, Amanda is the first to acknowledge it was a pretty lacklustre start. 

‘I was shaky, I was nervous, I didn’t enjoy it at all,’ she says. ‘I had a great message, but not so great delivery. I decided if I wanted to impact audiences I needed to be really good at it and inspire people.’ 

So she set about to school herself on how to be the best presenter she could be.

Fast forward to today, and Amanda has shared the stage with such dignitaries as Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Richard Branson and Condoleezza Rice. She was also awarded Keynote Speaker of the Year by her peers last year. 

 

Who are you?

One of the first things Amanda advises is that businesses, large or small, need to understand who they are, and what their ‘brand’ is.

‘Don’t be afraid to use who you really are in your marketing,’ she says. ‘This builds your personal brand, creating a competitive advantage by being authentic and sharing what it is about your business that your competitors don’t bring to the table.’ 

Then, once you focus on what anyone else can replicate, Amanda suggests avoiding a mass appeal approach with your business offering.

‘Whether you are a family-run cabinetry business or a large home builder, deciding who you are is the first step to working out who your ideal customer is,’ she says. ‘Go for specialisation, work out who you best serve, [and] that will lead you to deciding where to spend your energy.

‘But don’t forget your customer will mostly choose you because of who you are, not just what you do.’

The long lead to loyalty

For members of the residential building industry, Amanda says it’s important not to disregard one-off clients, but to look at ways to cultivate long-term relationships with them instead.

‘If you can turn your customers into advocates, you are a step ahead of your competitor,’ she says.

‘Sometimes, in industries like building and construction, the lead time is a lengthy one. The long sales cycle has a danger of being seen as only a transaction. 

‘Remember that the outstanding work you do will lead to more than repeat business. It will lead to referrals to friends and family, and repeat business for many years to come, ensuring the future of your business.’

 

Technology with a human touch

When it comes to wider-scale thoughts on the future, Amanda acknowledges that being overwhelmed by the speed of change and tech-lead innovation is understandable.

Ultimately, for Amanda, the future will still be about building trust on the human side and leveraging innovation.

‘Dramatic reports that robots will take over 70 per cent of jobs is just not true; it’s not the reality. But this is a chance to find a way to be both high tech and high touch,’ she says. ‘Consumers and expectations are changing faster than ever before. Sure, it is about what do they want today, but it’s also about what do they need tomorrow.’ 

Amanda believes that the organisations that combine the best of ‘high tech’ (automation, artificial intelligence and virtual reality) with the best of ‘high touch’ (personalised, human experiences) will win the battle for relevance in the next three to five years.

But she cautions businesses against spending too much time looking at the past, and being afraid of the future: ‘You can look in the rear vision mirror but you are not allowed to stare,’ she laughs.   

When it comes to finding a way to deal with the influx of future focused ideas, information and technology, Amanda also says it’s crucial to balance all the material with mindfulness. 

‘If you can build a better you, you can build a better business which is easier said than done. Business should be fun, it should be enjoyable, and it should mean something to you. By working too hard, are you trading time in a transaction where, ultimately, it’s not worth?’

When it comes to her chance for her own mindful moments in Perth, Amanda laughs ’I’d like to hopefully pop over to Rottnest Island for a selfie with a quokka.’ Now that is relatable.

Amanda Stevens will be presenting at the Building Business Sessions for the HIA 2019 National Conference from 23 – 25 May.

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