As the economy continues to recover, marketers face new challenges in relating to consumers in the post-recession era. Consumers have revised their priorities and advertising needs to speak differently to these consumers if brands are to survive and thrive. So said Benoit Tranzer of the research firm Millward Brown.
A survey released in 2010 by the Pew Research Center reported 71% of Americans said they have switched to less expensive brands as a result of the recession. A study by Deloitte found that 84% of shoppers were examining their grocery purchases, looking for ways to save money and 75% said the need to reduce spending had made them understand which brands were really important to them.
While consumer priorities have changed, the basic challenge for advertisers is the same: Deliver a relevant message in a creative way. But advertisers need to meet that challenge using new approaches, Millward Brown said. They must make their communications relevant to the current concerns of the “new” consumers, who are now selecting brands for different reasons, which include their own moral principles, their loyalties to their local communities and their sense of responsibility for the environment.
Here are some examples of how companies have been capitalizing on this new consumer:
•Many people have chosen to reduce their expenditure on gourmet coffee purchased at shops outside the home. Nespresso has tapped into people’s desire to pamper and indulge themselves by offering that same high-quality drink brewed at home.
•Another example of a brand that has capitalized on people’s need to find new and less costly ways to achieve gratification is McDonald’s. A recent campaign in France called “Come as You Are” is based on the idea that there are not enough places where we can go to truly relax and be ourselves. This campaign added an emotional layer to the functional benefits McDonald’s offers. You not only get good food at a reasonable price, but you can eat what you like, stay as long as you wish and simply be yourself.
•Another way for brands to distinguish themselves is to empower people. Pepsi received positive attention for its “Do Good for the Gulf” initiative. The company invited the public to submit ideas that could help “refresh” the U.S. states affected by the BP oil disaster and pledged $1.3 million in grants to support the winning ideas.
The lesson to be drawn from these successful campaigns is the concepts originated from a sense of brand purpose rather than an unrelated creative idea. Instead of simply investing in mere advertising, these brands chose to commit to causes that transcend a brand’s functional purpose and capture their customers’ hearts as well as their minds. The campaigns depict a brand experience that inspires and resonates with the ideals people are choosing to live by.
Food for thought.