Micro-Moments and Branding

  • January 23, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

As technology continues to evolve and improve, how we live our lives is also constantly
changing. And because we live in a consumer orientated society, new technologies are
assuming a greater role in how we buy and consume goods and services, creating a
new paradigm in the process. In the “old days,” long before the internet and
smartphones, the yellow pages, TV ads, and print media were the standard means by
which consumers learned about products, but today’s tech savvy consumers do their
own research in a series of “micro-moments” that work in a circular process. Successful
brands that understand these micro-moments and how they relate to their consumers
are poised for even greater success as smartphones improve and wi-fi continues to

The term “micro-moment” was first coined in a 2011 e-book written by Jim Lecinski and
published by Google, titled, Winning in the Zero Moment of Truth. The book was
immediately a hit with those in the advertising, search, social, and marketing spaces,
whose goals were to connect with consumers when the consumers were beginning their
“discovery” of a brand. According to Lecinski, there are actually a series of micro-
moments, starting with the “zero moment of truth” (ZMOT), when the consumer decides
to look for a certain product or service. The ZMOT is then followed by the “first moment
of truth” (FMOT), when the consumer sees a brand’s product, the “second moment of
truth” (SMOT) follows when the consumer experiences the product. Finally the “ultimate
moment of truth” (UMOT) is when the consumer shares his or her experience of the

product and brand online with other potential consumers. In the years since Lecinski’s
book was first published, the concept and definition of micro-moments has evolved, but
its importance in the consumer landscape has only grown.

As the idea of micro-moments garners more attention and evolves in its own right,
consumers and brands that understand the trend will benefit. Because micro-moments
represent a non-linear journey through the costumer experience, consumers will have
more options to learn about and connect with brands, while at the same time brands will
have more opportunities to expand their consumer base resulting in more initial sales
and return sales in the form of brand loyalty.

Find the Right Moment

Tracing the background of the micro-moment phenomenon is not difficult, because
unlike many other modern marketing trends it’s almost entirely a product of the Internet
Age. Before the internet, brands had fewer options to connect with their potential
customers. TV ads, billboards, and print ads were the extent of pre-internet advertising,
and although they were effective at the time, the connection they made with the
consumer usually took much longer than a moment. After the consumer sat through or
read the ad, he or she would have to go to the brick and mortar store, and then they
would also often have to talk to a salesperson. Each step in the process obviously took
many moments.

As time consuming as this process was, it was about the only way brands connected
with potential or existing customers. For example, if an appliance or electronic
equipment malfunctioned, a consumer either had to call a professional, or worse, read
the owner’s manual, which was usually as arcane as hieroglyphs to most people. But
the emergence of the World Wide Web, and later smartphones, streamlined the
consumer process into a series of moments, where the average consumer has much
more control and brands have more opportunities.

Micro-Moments Today

The most recent evolutionary step in micro-moments involves the ubiquitous nature of
smartphones in modern society. It’s important to consider that when Winning in the Zero
Moment of Truth was first published, smartphones were relatively new. The iPhone was
first released in 2007 and the Android system came out in 2008, so when Winning was
published not everyone had a smartphone, and many who did still used them like an
earlier generation cell phone. But as smartphone technology improved, people became
more comfortable using them for many aspects of their lives, including research on
consumer products.

According to a Google study, 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take
immediate action when they encounter an unexpected problem, which creates micro-
moment possibilities for many brands. Another example of how smartphone use
influences micro-moments was demonstrated in a 2015 Google study. In that study, it
was revealed that 82% of smartphone users utilize their phones when making a

potential purchase at a brick-and-mortar store. Consumers are using their phones to
research products and in doing so they take immediate action, sometimes altering their
initial decisions. The disruption caused by smartphones in the consumer world has
made the concept of the micro-moment even more important for brands and has
redefined it in some ways.

Lecinski’s basic concept of the micro-moment still holds true today, but as micro-
moments have grown in importance thanks to smartphones and the growing popularity
of YouTube, the key moments are defined as “know,” “go,” “buy,” and “do,” but not
necessarily in that order. And because micro-moments are not linear, brands have
begun integrating multi-channel and omnichannel marketing campaigns with micro-
moments. Brands are now “mapping” each micro-moment of a consumer’s journey,
which can be done by creating personalized social media experiences, interactive
media, and purchases that are easier. A number of brands have been successfully
utilizing micro-moments for quite some time, so let’s take a look a couple that may
provide a roadmap for other brands.

Micro-moments in Action

As micro-moments become a more important element of the success of companies,
there are a few notable examples of those that know how to take advantage of key
moments. The pizza and food delivery business offers an interesting example of how
technology at first extended the number of moments in the consumer experience,
before the Domino’s brand shorted it to a series of micro-moments.

Some of you may remember back when you had to call Domino’s to order a pizza.
Many thought that the online ordering process would simplify things, but it instead
added an estimated 25 more steps. The executives at Domino’s knew that was just too
many moments for their consumers, which was confirmed by the low number of people
who were ordering online. Domino’s responded by reducing the number of steps and as
a result online orders increased by 60%.

Hyundai is another brand that has recently taken advantage of micro-moments, namely
the “know”/research moment. There are many micro-moments involved in the purchase
of a car, so Hyundai took advantage by bringing test drives to potential customers’
homes or by meeting them in neutral locations. This strategy eliminates steps in a
potential consumer’s journey while emphasizing the all important moment of knowing.

The Future of Micro-Moments

Among the micro-moment trends to watch out for in the future, perhaps the greatest will
be the increasing importance of social media. Most people today have some type of
social media account, and most brands are seeing this as a key way to connect with
their consumers at multiple moments. YouTube in particular has been a useful way for
brands to connect with their consumers at the “do” moment.

A good example of a brand connecting with consumers on YouTube would be a
company that sells cooking utensils. In order for the brand to take advantage of the

moment when consumers are cooking in the kitchen (do moment), they can create a
cooking channel on YouTube that feature’s the brand’s merchandise. This is a great
way for a company to create brand loyalty and create a cascade of more micro-
moments in the process. The numbers show that the nexus between YouTube and
other social media and micro-moments will continue, offering more opportunities for
brands and consumers.

As the younger generations become the key consumer demographic in the US,
statistics show that how brands reach them in a micro-moment will be vital. One study
shows that 67% of Millennials believe that they can find a YouTube video on most
subjects they want to learn (know). This is further bolstered by a Google study that
revealed “how to” videos are growing by 70% per year and more than 100 million hours
of “how to” content were watched in North America in 2015.

Live in the Moment

The future is clearly moving toward a “do it yourself” reality, where consumers have
increasingly more knowledge and power to research, purchase, use, repair, and
improve products in a series of micro-moments. As consumers take advantage of this
new economic reality, the most forward thinking brands will also be able to take
advantage by offering their customers the easiest path to access micro-moments during
their consumer journey.