The findings from Havas Group's Meaningful Brands Study 2021 should be a warning sign for all businesses as people feel they could easily replace the vast majority of brands. The argument for being relevant with consumers and customers doesn’t get any stronger than knowing these statistics. And this sentiment hasn’t changed much over the last several years, as 77% of consumers felt this way in 2019. What gives this an extra sense of urgency is the compounding factor is the how much consumption habits are being redefined coming out of the pandemic.
How should brands respond in a way that makes sense for their brand and keeps them grounded in their core company identity? Finding the balance between authenticity and relevancy is a key factor in ensuring brand resilience for years to come.
We at The Brand Evaluator are seeing 3 key trends that could positively impact how people evaluate brands for how they fit in their lives. First, people want to know the “why” behind every brand, what drives the company an how is it benefitting the collective good. Second, they're seeking control, ease and peace of mind to regain what was lost during the pandemic, which extends to their brand experience. Finally, they want to see themselves reflected by the brand, how they perceive the world today vs. the brand's interpretation.
Why a brand exists needs to be multi-faceted
As we shared in our previous blog, Leading with Purpose, customers care about more than what they buy, they care about what a company does to improve life. Demonstrating that your brand is bigger than just your product goes a long way in brand perception. The Havas Group measures emotional, functional and collective benefits to determine how meaningful a brand is. They found that consumers are prioritizing how a brand affects them personally and how it improves society because they realize the positive impact these benefits have on their well-being. Authenticity is key when it comes to execution. A business within the food industry that supports zero hunger and responsible waste reduction creates an intuitive link to what they do vs. a construction company for instance, who would be better served by supporting donating building materials to schools or committing to carbon emission reduction.
LEGO is exemplifying this in their commitment to children's play and a healthy planet through sustainable sourcing and carbon reductions. Actions such as these do not go unnoticed. Lego is the first, and only, toy company to be recognized as a World Wildlife Fund Climate Savers Partner.
Ensure your brand experience involves your customers
In times of uncertainty, consumers crave a sense of control over their lives and peace of mind. Brands can deliver solutions, information and engagement that people need to feel like they’re in the driver’s seat. Make their life easier across the purchase and usage journey by incorporating touchpoints where their input creates value for both themselves and the brand.
Zendesk is a great example for B2B companies looking to enhance their experience. The customer service software business engages their audience in a variety of content including self-directed evaluation tools, personalized reports, blog articles, webinars and branded entertainment. Check out their clever YouTube video for how they use use the analogy of married couple to describe how they can improve the relationship between customer and company.
"If a customer feels misunderstood or out of place, they are not afraid to leave your brand for another company that has the relevance factor that makes them feel a part of something valuable." Joyce Hrinya of A&R Strategy Partners, shared this insight in her LinkedIn article, "7 Reasons Why Relevance Is the Ultimate Marketing Goal." It's imperative that companies stay in step with their customers and employees on what they're seeking from a relationship and solution. People want to feel a part of a community and be reassured by the words and images they're seeing that your company understands them and their challenges.
Oak Street Health specializes in older adult health care with an emphasis on proactive health and wellbeing. Their offices including community gathering spaces to encourage socialization and connection and their support team helps manage medical and insurance paperwork to alleviate this common stressor.
Brands need to consistently pay attention to key shifts in preferences and behaviors to ensure their ongoing relevancy. Doing so in a way that is on-brand and consistent with their values will show people their authentic intentions.
The Brand Evaluator is a joint venture of independent brand builders – Michelle Thompson, BrandSpark Design and Christine Sech, Brave Oak Brand Building. We work with emerging businesses to clearly and meaningfully convey an organization’s value through brand building strategy, design and content that drives results.