It was not long ago that brands launched product after product at huge or exclusive events. No one could foresee what was around the corner. And although we are the first to admit we miss the community and glamour of our PR events, there are some positive things to note about a consumer’s relationship to a brand that popped out of this last year.
During this time, people started paying attention to what matters beyond the products or the services being offered. How are the companies managing their employees? Are the big brands doing something to help other small businesses that were struggling? This newfound awareness changed the way consumers perceive the brands they support.
And with no known end date, marketers had to reconsider their strategies. Influencers became more crucial than ever, and PR agencies played a critical role in support their clients, showing them how to navigate in new waters. The main focus was to align strategies to the fact that buyers are paying close attention to how their favourite brands respond to the pandemic.
In a recent report released by Deloitte, consumers showed that in a time of crisis, like the one we are facing now, they expect the brands to respond to it. Four out of five informed that when a brand reacted positively to the pandemic, it increased brand loyalty on their part. On the other hand, more than 25% walked away when they noticed the brand was acting in their self-interest.
People became more aware and vigilant of how companies are true to their values, and companies confronted the fact that it’s their values that ultimately drive human emotions and actions. Companies that weren’t true to their values were largely affected, and many got cancelled because of it.
“Humanity and transparency reflect a brand’s intentions, while capability and reliability demonstrate its competency in fulfilling those intentions. For marketers seeking to build and strengthen brand reputation, this can be translated into messaging (intentions) and delivery (competence). Brand messaging should maintain transparency in its intentions and reflect its humanity. At the same time, the delivery of its experiences and products needs to be consistently reliable and capable of doing what is promised.” DI 2021 Global Marketing Trends
The image below represents how core values drive the human experience and reflect the purchase decision process.
THE VALUE OF INFLUENCERS
When the pandemic hit worldwide, brands were forced to adjust to keep connected with their audience. The use of influencer marketing – which for many times was discredited – became, to many companies, the primary (and sometimes only) way to showcase their products. And because this was the year that consumers paid attention to how their brands responded to large movements, like Black Lives Matter, they could not sit on the fence. People wanted them to publically share their stance, or they would walk away.
For this reason, choosing the right influencer goes beyond statistics of engagement, hits, and the number of followers. Followers need to feel a connection between them and the brand to believe in what is being offered. At FAULHABER, we work closely to ensure a perfect match between the company and influencers values to bring positive and impactful results to our clients.
The pandemic showed how fragile the relations between brands and consumers are. Being ready to face unknown challenges, taking a public stand in social (and political) movements, and being held accountable for their actions reflecting their values, are all permanent things moving forward that brands will need to have at their core. You can read more about how this staying true to our values helped us during this time here.