How Has COVID-19 Changed Brand Attitudes?
COVID-19 has flipped the retail industry on its head. Consumer behaviours have changed, forcing brands to adopt new methods to tackle the new retail climate.
Customers’ attitudes towards brands have also shifted to focus more on physical and mental health. The increased importance of empathy and transparency has inspired many brands to develop new and innovative marketing strategies.
In this article, we’ll explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown has changed consumer behaviour and altered brand attitudes. We’ll also investigate how some brands are successfully adapting to the new retail climate.
Adapting To New Consumer Habits and Brand Attitudes
As the pandemic hit, customers changed their shopping habits.
Research shows that there’s been a 27% increase in customers buying more healthcare products as physical health is at the forefront of customers’ minds. Many are also striving to limit food waste, shop more cost consciously and buy sustainable products.
Customers are also showing a desire to support smaller businesses and switch to local suppliers. According to research, 46% of consumers have started shopping more locally. This change in consumer behaviour offers excellent opportunities for brands to play on the locality of their products and suppliers.
It’s important for brands to make adjustments to support their customers’ new shopping habits. As part of this change, many brands are committed to promoting the health benefits of certain products and tailoring the brands’ approach to acknowledge customer concerns.
According to a recent KSF Global survey, brands have developed comprehensive contingency plans for the coming months. Of the surveyed brands, 50% are focusing on retail promotions, while 32% have increased advertising and 16% are establishing alternative supply chains (16%).
New Brand Attitudes Call For New Marketing
Aside from changing their shopping habits, customers are also prioritising their own physical and mental health. They want to feel like brands and companies acknowledge that things are no longer the same, and show they are making an effort for us all to transition into a ‘new normal’ together.
To build trust and loyalty with their customers, brands must shift their focus to help people and organisations weather the storm. As a result, 49% of consumers now expect marketing ads to make them feel warm or happy. So brands are required to find a balance between emotive and informative ads to appeal to their target audience.
For example, in May 2020, Lloyd’s Bank partnered with Mental Health UK and created a campaign video centred around supporting their customers. The caption reads:
“Whatever’s playing on your mind at the moment, Lloyds Bank, in partnership with Mental Health UK, can offer you support and advice.”
According to our survey, 83% of brands have developed new marketing plans to include further innovative strategies. Customer health is at the heart of most brands’ new marketing strategies but brands are also leveraging increased social media activity and mass marketing campaigns to distribute important information.
Research shows that 79% of consumers expect brands to demonstrate social commitment during this crisis. Many are prepared to abandon their current favourite brands if their values don’t align with their own.
How Brands Are Adapting to New Brand Attitudes
Brands that show they are part of the solution both inspire and build trust with their customers. The brands who adapt to new brand attitudes by showing their support and selflessness are the brands that will thrive in the new retail climate.
Here are some examples of brands that have taken the new brand attitudes to heart and innovated their services or products to give back to those who need it most:
In April, fashion brand Mulberry donated 8000 reusable gowns to the Bristol NHS Trust to support the protection of frontline workers. Mulberry posted the news on all their social media channels, including Instagram and Twitter.
Mulberry has also been running their #MulberryHeroes campaign on social media. Their followers can nominate people who have made a heroic contribution during the hard times past, inspiring a sense of hope and community among their followers.
Brewdog started making hand sanitiser at their distillery in Aberdeen in response to the national shortage, and since then, production has been running round the clock. They have now packed & donated over 50,000 units to the NHS and local charities.
Find Out How Brands Are Adapting to The New Normal
Do you want more information on how other brands are handling the new challenges facing the retail industry?
KSF Global reached out to our network of brands and retailers to find out how they are responding to new brand attitudes and a changing retail environment.