We see a major shift in how consumers determine which brands to trust. According to a new EY study, consumers respond strongly to purposeful brands, with 62% saying they would be more likely to purchase from companies that they feel are doing good for society. And 29% would pay a premium for brands that contribute to the community. (EY, 2020)
It’s no longer about the product that is offered. Brands must stand for something, have a purpose, and share their expertise with consumers.
Over the years, the Sharing Economy has been a powerful economic model where consumers look to build a better world. But with recent events, we believe “sharing” is evolving to include “sharing of expertise” and will have a large role to play in the relationship between brand and consumer. Brands will utilize experts more and more to educate consumers on how to take care of products, to make them last, learn something new, and offer-up knowledge that they can’t get anywhere else. Building on the brand promise through expertise is the way forward.
Sharing brand expertise and knowledge transcends channel and will need to become on-demand and instantly connected. Brands will employ true experts that are available to answer all consumer questions—in-store, via social media, and online. Consumers need be able to connect directly with store/brand associates when they need answers, are seeking advice, and looking for inspiration. It’s time for brands to stretch their creative communication muscles and explore connections outside of the typical social media channels by venturing into new networks like TikTok and WhatsUp. It’s been reported that 82% of Gen Z increased use of smartphones during social distancing orders globally (GWI, 2020). Brands have the opportunity to offer up purposeful and unique content through social media networks that connect directly with these consumers.
Brands are getting creative with their on-demand reach. Bobbi Brown, Estée Lauder’s make-up darling, live streams weekly make-up topics on their Instagram Stories. They get their network involved and take content requests so they can tackle topics that are most of interest.
The key will be for brands to offer truly meaningful content—that special sauce only your brand can offer. This content could be tips and tricks for consumers that align with new established values, help users to become more self-sufficient, educate on product longevity, and provide added value in everyday life. A peak inside and behind the brand curtain will provide a new connection of useful information and a learning culture that consumers are seeking. It will also be important to simplify brand messaging. Authenticity cannot be contrived otherwise consumers will lose trust. Share the brand benefits without overtly complicated brand sentiments.
Travel and hospitality disrupter, AirBnB, has been hit hard with the effects of COVID-19. With travel and vacations on hold, AirBnB has shifted their content strategy. Their new Online Experiences, bring consumers video content from all over the world. Enjoy a wine tasting with a Sommier, take a college class with a Barcelona artist, or enjoy a jazz club happy hour, there’s something for everyone with AirBnB’s new content.