Three signals pointing towards changes in consumer behavioral, and what brands must do next.
Signal 1: Consumers are looking for community post COVID lockdown
The COVID veil has lifted for many Americans. The latest data from Forrester shows that overall consumer energy has rebounded by 11 points from 43 in December 2020 to 54 as of June 2021. It’s not just the rebound, but where it’s occurring that is important. This change is heavily driven by consumers’ intensifying sense of community.
*Forrester defines “consumer energy” as how the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is influencing consumer appetite for commercial exchange to capture how ready and willing consumers are to reach out to brands.
Signal 2: Limited Edition Products Drive Brand Purpose
Purpose is a hot topic among marketers. Yet, the number one reason brands choose not to go this route is fear of alienating consumers. If you were to blanket all consumers with a single message, you’re bound to offend someone.
Brands like Doritos are innovating new purpose driven stratagies which allow consumers to not only self select, but also co-create the outcome.
Enter the fresh new “Solid Black” initiative from Doritos to amplify the voices of and provide resources to Black creators. The first 1,000 people who donate $10 or more to the National Urban League, a civil rights and advocacy organization, will recieve a limited-edition pack of Doritos, featuring gorgeous art by Megan Lewis of the Black Women Period LLC series. Her work was previously featured by #AmplifyBlackVoices.
Signal 3: Facebook Gets into Newsletters with Bulletin
Newsletters come and go, and now they are back again. New players like Substack allowed publishers to create and monetize their audiences thus helping creators of all kinds to make a basic living. They have proven so successful that much larger players are now getting into the game. Facebook is the latest to join in with their new platform Bulletin. Bulletin is starting off with well known writers like Malcolm Gladwell and “Tuesdays With Morrie” author Mitch Albom, as well as Tan France, star of Netflix’s “Queer Eye.”
What It Means For Brands
“As we reimagine the future for our companies and for our people, we must act with agility, empathy, and purpose” -Michelle Peluso, SVP of Digital Sales and CMO at IBM
Move from Passive to Active experience
As the world moves towards the next normal, consumers are looking for community first and foremost. Community however doesn’t mean a website where they chat. It means a common connection with deep involvement. Newsletters are an easy way to do this, however the key here isn’t just consumers subscribing, it’s consumers paying for the content they want. These newsletters aren’t free, you are paying for that content. Consumers are taking ownership of the content, and co-creating the experience with their favorite creators.
Protect Your Brand By Making Purpose Personal
My previous research on purpose found that the number one reason brands do not engage in purpose driven marketing is fear of alienating their audience. This becomes a very real fear when your customer base is measured in the tens of millions. However, that fear can easily be thwarted by becoming a conduit rather than the decision maker.
Doritos didn’t make all of their product packages black, just a few. Rather than having a keystone purpose for your brand to find ways you can make purpose personal, as one size does not fit all. By allowing your consumer to choose who THEY want to support, you are turning your purpose driven programs into active experiences as well.