The old saying, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better”, was meant for the last few years of COVID.  Surely it was going to get better once we got through the worst of this virus.?

But now we are heading into a cost of living increase, energy and food hikes, new government turmoil and the pound dropping to its worst levels since 1971. So is the saying now that “it has to get worse and worse before it gets better?”

As a direct result, consumers are worried. We know they are cutting back -12.1% of consumers have less to spend on non essentials (according to Retail Economics - HyperJar Cost of Living Tracker in July 2022) and that is surely only going to rise.   And when there are financial struggles, consumers cut back or switch to cheaper, more affordable options. As brands, we have to be conscious of the strain our customers are under and meet them where they are, but how best do we go about this, and still remain relevant?

What drives loyalty in the middle of an impending recession?

The DMA’s Customer Engagement Conference last month shed some light on this.  In their 'How to Win Trust and Loyalty' report 2022, they have uncovered the following: 

●     Loyalty mindsets remain the consumer default but the feelings of disloyalty have increased - 41% of consumers claim they feel less loyal to brands and companies than they did a year ago. 

●     Sensitivity towards deals have also increased - 51% of consumers agree they often change their minds about what brands or shops to use as a result of deals or offers, which goes to say, functional and financial drivers of loyalty remain relevant.

●     But over half of consumers agree that both personal and societal drivers make them loyal to their favourite brands.

On top of this, there are trust factors at play.

Within the context of deciding what brands to choose the report uncovered that over half of consumerism 2022 find it difficult to know which brands are trustworthy.

So, how best do we go about this, remain relevant and stay on top?

As a marketer how do I ensure I’m keeping my customers and still attracting new ones when there is so much at play? 

●     Be in the now - show up with solutions for our members that offer real help and the value you bring. As an example, at WW, we are providing recipes on a budget - showing families they can make healthy and tasty meals under a fiver.

●     Go beyond your product - if societal drivers make consumers more loyal to their favourite brands, ensure you find a cause that aligns with your brand and mission.  We have a partnership with The Trussell Trust where our members can redeem their Wellness Wins to donate to help provide food to families in need.

●     Lean on your community to exemplify trust in your brand - Reviews and ratings are great to build trust but nothing is better than the voice of your members. We have a rich community of advocates that speak on our behalf, talking about their highs and lows, emphasising progress over perfection.  Members meet up weekly (virtually or physically) helping each other succeed.  These communities become a vital point of connection; not only to keep people accountable to their weight loss goals but also offer much needed conversation and respite for mental well being.

Brands have ridden these storms before and we can ride this one through too. Keep your seatbelts tight and stay focused on your strategy, stay true to your brand, and stay genuine to your customers.

Tony will be writing a column for the MAD//Fest Insight regularly throughout the year.