Consumers see brands as extensions of themselves
According to Foresite Factory, consumers view their purchases and brand loyalties as an extension of themselves, so for brands to stay connected with their audience they need to cater for their changing needs. Consumers see brands as having a pivotal role to play, with 72% of consumers liking seeing brands help those in need and 62% of consumers thinking brands are just as responsible as the government when it comes to helping people.
Right now, brands need to adapt at pace. Long term plans need to be replaced by agility and flexibility. We’ve witnessed brands pivoting and unifying in their efforts to help governments and businesses, using a digital first approach to get their message out there quickly. One commendable example is Burger King releasing their ‘Order from McDonalds’ ad on Twitter in a bid to help restaurants survive the second surge of the pandemic.
My relationship advice: It’s not all about you and what you’re doing. It’s about who you can support. For your brand to be the best in its category, your competition needs to survive to drive you forward. So, instead of rolling your eyes at your partner’s mood, ask them if their mother is driving them up the wall with the COVID-19 numbers in London today.
The age of authenticity
Consumers are craving trust and authenticity, not just from their friends and family but also from brands; 43% of consumers prefer functional marketing at this time, with only 17% preferring emotional. The remaining 40% don’t mind.
However, over the last nine months we are seeing a shift in attitudes away from lone emotion. Empathy is still needed, with 77% of consumers wanting brands to show they’re aware of the crisis and the impact. But all words, no actions would be seen by consumers as a fail.
Making claims isn’t enough anymore. Brands have to show they’re capable of driving change to build trust. We’re seeing consumers be quick to do their research, challenge claims, and vote with their wallet by seeking alternatives.
My relationship advice: the future is an uncertain place. Many brands have had their core business seriously disrupted. You can’t seem out of touch. It’s not just about saying the right thing anymore. Which leads me to my final point.