Ever since Covid-19 first struck, the resulting economic recession and latent market saturation has called for a renewal in our attitudes around trust. Consumers’ expectations now stipulate that businesses participate in tackling our various shared crises. As such, they choose to buy and invest exclusively in the brands that do their part.
Brands have an opportunity to recognise and gain this sought-after trust through authenticity, a key purchasing driver in the future consumer landscape. Knowing how customers value authenticity enables brands to both plan for and take action around possible emerging needs or expectations, thus building a deeper relationship and connection in the long run. Recent studies show that trust is a key driver for the Z and Boomer Generations. Additionally, reports point out that the consumer of the future, namely the Alpha Generation, will only buy from transparent, honest companies, trusting solely in purpose-driven brands.
Building a strong connection with customers is a must if you want to stand out and set your brand apart. According to the trend forecasting company WSGN, there are four key pillars that compose consumer trust, each of which will drive loyalty and purchasing decisions in the aftermath of Covid-19:
Consumers are seeking honest and transparent experiences of consumption. They want to feel that they are getting back the sense of control over their lives. Brands need to come up with new ways of communicating transparency via their business model. Expectations are driving a shift towards a more simple and minimal labelling system, one which communicates not only every step throughout the supply chain, but also freely imparts the origin of the raw materials used in the process.
Brands should embrace radical transparency, taking responsibility for every commitment, promise and action they may be responsible for. They need to start to track both the social and environmental footprint of their economic activity, which ought to be coupled with the adoption of a more holistic labelling profile.
The growing consumer need for engagement provides a huge chance for companies to rethink and enhance their values. Listening to their brand community’s opinions and thoughts can help them switch gears. Investing in charitable activities is also a good option. The key is to show your audience that you will stay true to what you have said, because you truly care about the values you share with them.
Companies need to be clear about what they stand for and where they yearn to see change. As consumers credit integrity, brands ought to stay true to their values. Alongside these efforts, they should also collaborate with customers to achieve their values, creating a community that shares the same views and will take their thoughts and opinions into consideration.
Brands need to encourage and celebrate uniqueness. They must embrace the quirkiness of each of their customers. Companies that allow their customers to express themselves will communicate a sense of authenticity, allowing them to establish an even deeper connection. The key is to empower customers to express their unique personality, without taking from the brand’s sense of community.
In order to achieve that, brands must fight against stereotypes and social injustices. They must enable their customers by providing channels where they can freely express themselves, with a view to creating a unique and loyal community.
According to 2021 research, 57% of 10,000 US consumers believe brand authenticity is more important after the pandemic, while 77% say they prefer to purchase from a brand that they perceive as being authentic. That said, we encourage you to make a quick stop and think about what you want your brand to represent in the future.
At Pointbleu Design, we look forward to hearing from you.