by Ana Cahuas
Whether we like it or not, life as we know it is not returning to the pre-2020 routine. Where is the evidence? Consumer behavior. Much has happened globally to shape emerging purchasing attitudes, from working from home to rising inflation. While consumer spending isn’t expected to die down, we can expect it to be pickier. As we enter a new era of consumerism, it’s critical to take a closer look at where consumers are headed and how they assess value. We know the importance of regularly updating customer personas, so here are our top 5 tips for adapting to changes in consumer expectations:
1. Take a stance
We’re talking socially, politically, and environmentally. Consumers are more conscious of their dollar’s impact and want to know what brands stand for and what they do to make a difference in the world. According to Attest consumer trend data, nearly 80% of consumers want brands to represent a cause. Take Barbie’s role model campaign for women’s history month as an example. Sustainability is set to be another deciding factor as consumers are looking for sustainable products/packaging and companies that are transparent about their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Modern consumers are looking to make decisions that are aligned with their values.
2. Demonstrate radical empathy
A touch of empathy can go a long way in today’s uncertain climate. Companies must listen to their consumers and understand what matters to them to create relevant product solutions. While technological advancements have streamlined processes such as self-checkout at the grocery store, the trade-off is human connection. Empathy will be a differentiator – even in the face of mistakes. For example, when CPG olive oil start-up Graza’s holiday orders were delivered late and poorly packaged, founder and CEO Andrew Benin emailed over 35,000 customers who experienced the complications to apologize. With the subject line, “Learning from our mistakes,” Mr. Benin’s empathetic email was refreshingly honest. Consumers want to feel seen and heard, and practicing radical empathy is a leap toward brand loyalty.
3. Curate personalized experiences
Consumers are seeking personalized experiences. Whether it’s addressing your customers by their first names in your email marketing or using AI to suggest relevant products for your consumers, data from McKinsey reveals that faster-growing companies generate 40% more revenue from personalization. To personalize effectively, data collection and performance measurement are the first steps. Take the lesson from Netflix, whose personalized recommendations generate 80% of viewer activity. Consumers are also eager to leave the house, leaving an opportunity for brands to personalize events. If you’re looking to generate buzz at your next event, or plan a successful influencer event, we’ve got you covered. When you anticipate your consumers’ wants and deliver them in a unique and personalized way, you’ll leave them feeling like part of the family.
4. Make healthy decisions easy
Perhaps the only positive effect of a certain virus wreaking havoc across the globe was that consumers are more aware of how important their health is. According to an Accenture survey, 80% of consumers expect to maintain or increase spending on health and fitness, a market expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025. Consumers are willing to invest in their health and want it to be personalized and convenient. From mindfulness apps to CPG products that boost your gut, brain, and immunity health, consumers are exploring ways to prioritize health in their daily routines.
5. Develop a consistent and authentic digital presence
Your presence across multiple channels will become paramount as new apps shift consumer attention and habits. Content on one platform must be consistent with content on other platforms, mainly in tone and visual style. Consistency and storytelling are two of the most essential variables in keeping customers connected and engaged. Inconsistency in posting frequency can hurt your product’s and brand’s visibility and awareness, but nobody likes to be bombarded. This is where storytelling comes in: you need to tell a story that your customers care about, whether it’s shedding light on the purpose and deeper values of your brand or providing value in the form of actionable tips or insights. Talk with your audience, not at them. If you don’t treat them like a commodity, they won’t treat you like one.
What relevance does this information have to those involved in consumer-facing functions? The bottom line is that people are looking for more from brands than they were before COVID. Expectations have grown, and we need to rise to meet them. We’re stepping away from transactional consumer interactions and moving into an era where human connection sits at high importance. Consumers no longer view a product as just a product. Instead, they are evaluating what kind of company you are, beyond just the packaging and social feeds. What are your values? How do you treat your employees and partners? What do you stand for, and do you care about more than just dollar signs? Your answers to these questions, and others like them, will be the deciding factor in brand loyalty. Will you have customers, or will you have a community of avid devotees? The choice is yours.