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How Brands Can Win Over Shoppers in Not-So-Normal Times

Three core ways that brands can win over shoppers today.

Identifying what shoppers want can be challenging at the best of times. But, what about during a time where consumer confidence in the U.K. remains ‘severely depressed’ according to GfK? Through some of our own research with partner agency, Shopper Media Group (SMG), alongside some of Kantar’s recent findings, we have identified three core ways that brands can win over shoppers today. 1. Clear Communication Recent research from Kantar has suggested that shoppers are starting to get fed up by ads from brands that look and feel the same, and that don’t have anything specific to say about themselves. The feeling from shoppers is that they are fed up of seeing brands jump on the bandwagon, serving to be constantly reminded about the pandemic. And, I’m sure anyone reading this can immediately think of a brand ad they’ve seen recently talking about ‘togetherness’ with a reflective backing track to accompany its message. On the other hand, brands who have done a brilliant job at communicating to people during the not-so-normal time we’re in, are those that have pursed a creative and distinctive means of communication. Those who communicate their unique brand vision or purpose; and those who communicate through a powerful and original human insight that resonates deeply.

Tesco, Aldi and Heinz have all been the most effective so far, according to Kantar, having communicated what they are actively doing to help. Heinz’s press ads have focused on the 12 million breakfasts provided for vulnerable children, scoring 98 / 100 for consumers’ long-term return potential and brand memorability. And, knowing that Heinz have provided 12 million breakfasts so far is quite frankly, something to celebrate. It’s no wonder that their campaign is so memorable – it’s a fantastic initiative which they’ve supported through clear communication. Via our own research at SMG, nearly 37% of shoppers surveyed have tried new brands. If brands are unable to communicate with their shoppers now, irrespective of any ‘natural connections’ there might be, shoppers will continue to fall away in the short term, and perhaps even the long term, having discovered new brands that clearly resonate with them. 2. An Answer to Curiosity With more time to think and to do, the not-so-normal time has allowed shoppers to have more time to try new things and be curious in ways that were previously restricted. SMG research has noted that 69.7% of us have actively searched for new recipes – 45.5% of which have been online, predominantly via the likes of the BBC, Instagram, blogs, and Google. In turn, more than 50% of those surveyed are planning grocery trips and a third are shopping with a list.

If we, as shoppers, can’t go out to our favourite restaurant on a Friday or if we simply don’t feel as healthy as we were a few months ago because we’re sitting down an awful lot more, it makes absolute sense that people want to help themselves by conducting more research. And help themselves by establishing a sense of normality during a not-so-normal environment. Brands have a huge opportunity to inspire and fuel shoppers’ curiosity now. All it takes, is to be helpful and position yourself as exactly that. 3. Authenticity Having previously discussed how brands have been perceived to jump on the bandwagon; really, all brands should be doing is carrying on with their brand narrative. Carry on contributing to local communities, to food banks, to those who are vulnerable; carry on because it fits with your existing narrative. Pivoting your final message last minute is OK if it could be misinterpreted now vs. two months ago, but make sure it still fits authentically with what you were trying to do before. Morrisons, McColl’s and Aldi have all recently partnered with Deliveroo in a bid to help their shoppers. And, what do they all have in common? All of their values are focused on serving customers and local communities. A partnership with the likes of Deliveroo is therefore not interpreted as another way each of these retailers can make more money – it’s a brilliant solution to help shoppers during a time in which they might not be able to get hold of the essentials.

During these not-so-normal times, shoppers are craving constants where they can. And, if your message doesn’t match up to what you were doing a few months ago, shoppers won’t be afraid to call you out on it for inauthenticity. While something relatively simple, being authentic is the best way to win over shoppers right now. While everyone’s sense of ‘normal’ is slightly different, one thing is clear: Shoppers have become bored since moving inside. They want straight communication from brands in the same way they always have. Authentically. After all, answers everywhere else are understandably changing all the time. And, if brands can do all of this while fuelling the curiosity shoppers have while they have additional time on their hands, brands can start to win over their shoppers.


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