In testing times, the pursuit of passions provide moments of joy

How brand can communicate with consumers during difficult economic times

Melissa Chapman

Co-CEO Jungle Creations


The year 2023 is kicking off with turbulence. The news cycle’s regular programming - featuring the cost of living and energy crisis, NHS turmoil and warnings of further union action - seem to only be broken by the constant stream of revelations from Prince Harry. Opportunity for optimism is few and far between, for both businesses and consumers.

Yet, a considerable lesson from our recent (tricky) history is the importance of moments of light relief and joy. Our recent survey of our audiences confirmed that, in spite of over half of people surveyed (54%) claiming to make significant reductions in household spending and 70% expressing worry over the cost of living crisis, 9 in 10 gen Z and millennials insist on continuing spending on passions and interests throughout the financial uncertainty.

Respondents to our survey indicated determination to keep up the hobbies which mean the most to them; this includes 95% continuing to spend on cosmetic products, 90% maintaining gym subscriptions and 89% allocating money to holidays.

Focus on what ways your product or service might improve a customer’s life. What does your brand bring to their day that others might not?

Melissa Chapman, Co-CEO at Jungle Creations

This inspired us to think about some of the ways brands can communicate best with consumers during difficult economic times, and how they can practically provide much needed relief and joy to their customers to help them live their best lives.


Any brand can offer a discount on their product to customers to up the sales numbers of a particular product. The temptation to push sales promotions becomes even greater when consumers’ purse strings are pulled so tightly but quick wins can actually do more damage than good.

Price volatility is no friend to brands or consumers. Rather, brands have an opportunity to focus on bringing genuine joy to consumers’ lives through building human connection; and this will help build loyalty in the long term. Use challenging times as an opportunity to truly support your consumer base; get to the root of customers’ emotional connection with the product. It’s important for brands to lean into this connection.

It’s crucial to not speak down to your customer base: remember they’re, more often than not, adults, and have access to the same news and information sources as you do. Rather than suggesting a snazzy cost hack, focus on what ways your product or service might improve a customer’s life. What does your brand bring to their day that others might not? Sometimes it’s as simple as providing a distraction from the struggles in people’s everyday lives.

New Balance has employed this ethos in their most recent campaign in collaboration with Strava, "Rewards Come to Those Who Run” which encourages runners of all abilities to “runlock” the benefits of exercise on mental and physical health benefits. An area which can often get overlooked in times of stress. The new campaign presents the brand as a vehicle for getting people outside in the fresh air, and focusing on mind and body. The campaign offers rewards to athletes who complete 30 km in 30 days.


It’s ok that your brand is not in a position to offer a solution to all the money worries of your consumers. This doesn’t prevent you, however, from offering some practical advice.

Take for example, Octopus energy, who have demonstrated recognition of the material role they play in the energy crisis. Accordingly, activating useful, sensitive and frank communications with customers, featuring real world advice on reducing energy consumption, for example. The response from their customers has been incredibly positive.

Not every brand can assume such a critical role in societal crises however, but most societal crises do impact every brand. So strong brands in these times will focus on what they’re good at and allow this to dictate how it offers help to consumers.

It’s impossible to ignore the challenges that we’re all faced with this year but audiences are still hopeful and eager to do things that bring them joy. It is however, important for brands to keep sight of the service it provides to consumers; if that is to bring joy, laughter and facilitate the pursuit of passion, then now is the time to double down and ensure we’re all able to enjoy moments of happiness.


Melissa Chapman is Co-Chief Executive Officer at Jungle Creations, setting the overall business vision, driving business growth and ensuring successful delivery of the business strategy. Melissa was previously Chief Content and Brand Officer at Jungle, where she was guardian of the company’s creative vision and was able to scale Jungle’s media brand audiences from 1 million followers to 140 million followers, launching new brands and new revenue streams in multiple territories. Melissa has been honoured by several prestigious industry bodies, including being featured in Ad Age’s Women to Watch, Management Today’s ‘35 Under 35 - Women in Business’, The Drum’s 50 Under 30, Talking Influence’s Influencer 50 and being named ‘Publishing Executive of the Year' at the Digiday Media Awards Europe. She also has a great fringe.”

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