Brands have the ability to enable and empower significant change, and it will be the ones who take these steps that prosper in 2021 and beyond.
We see more and more people demanding that they help them co-create a more sustainable and human-centric future. This is the perfect opportunity for brands to rethink their customer experience and business commitments.
Our latest BrandAsset Valuator survey of 16,020 UK consumers showed that more than 60% place more faith in brands than in their governments when it comes to safeguarding society’s health and the natural world.
“Nine in 10 expect brands to continue to be a positive influence and support the public good”
And nearly nine in 10 expect brands to continue to be a positive influence and support the public good.
We’re seeing that people have the highest regard for brands they believe have been useful and reliable during the pandemic and economic downturn, from Boots to PayPal and from Royal Mail to Google. Top of the list, of course, is the NHS.
When brands listen to their consumers it amounts to trust, which is paramount in earning differentiation, a core factor for a successful customer experience, and ultimately growth.
But if brands can’t put into action how they’re benefiting people and society, they could be squandering brand love and leaving money on the table.
In retail this is particularly prevalent. The major trends that are reshaping the industry – ecommerce, physical spaces, community and customer promise – are all rooted in customer experience and consumers demanding the change.
People have most likely been emotionally and financially impacted in the last few months, so when designing new products and experiences, brands need to understand consumers’ context and go beyond the functional to consider these requirements.
“There is a huge opportunity for brands to differentiate on the experience they provide, thinking both before and beyond that buy button”
Despite the difficulty of the past six months, 84% are still keen to hear from brands. And there are so many ways brands can meet their customers where they are – in ways that are meaningful, drive long-term affinity and are about more than product.
There is a huge opportunity for brands to differentiate on the experience they provide, thinking both before and beyond that buy button.
These findings reinforce our belief that there is latent enthusiasm for brands. Companies can unlock this when they give people the ability to do what they couldn’t before and show their customers that they genuinely care.
To close on a positive note, there has never been a better time for change.
However, brands and businesses must move quickly – as agile as the most innovative companies, not just their competitors.
Being and thinking ‘human’ first will be the heartset and mindset of success. And if there is one place that is truer than anywhere else, it’s retail. People want to be heard and they want to be served.
Now is the time to step up, and step in.
To watch the RWRC Consumer 2021 session ‘Inside the mind of the new shopper’, click here.
Karen Boswell is chief experience officer EMEA at VMLY&R