Monday 3 February 2014

Rebuilding consumer confidence - the brand role

Nielsen's latest Global Survey of Consumer Confidence reveals that in Q4 2013, 60% of Britons are seeking to reduce their electricity bills, 58% have cut back on expanding their wardrobes, 57% have cut out takeaways and 55% are switching to cheaper brands in the supermarket.

As reported in The Guardian, the poll of 30,000 people has uncovered the first dip in consumers' confidence since 2011. Chris Morley, managing director of Nielsen UK and Ireland, said: "British consumers are increasingly recognising improvements in the economy, but they are still cautious and likely to continue to modify their buying and consumption habits to save money"

It is obviously impossible and inappropriate for brands to attempt to shift the mood of the entire population, that being a job for the politicians (!). Better for brand owners to focus on that pool of loyal users, the ones that have remained loyal despite the pressures and blows to credibility (horsemeat etc), the consumers that continue to believe in your brand, albeit at reduced consumption levels.

Working from what you know works, it can be easier to encourage existing users to consume more, rather than trying to attract new users to the brand.
  • A key first step is to reassess latest consumer needs vs. brand attributes
  • ...and checking that the brand delivers more than it says on the tin, every time....
  • Check post-consumption delight -who needs satisfaction...?
  • Optimise consumption levels by ensuring 100% onshelf and multichannel availability 24/7 - why take a chance on preventing any potential consumer from accessing your greatest asset?
  • Share with consumers other uses of the brand revealed by regular users
  • Then begin to encourage existing users of your current brand to try another brand in your portfolio, capitalising on your mutual knowledge and emerging confidence in the relationship
When loyal consumers have experienced and have confidence in your offering on these two levels - existing and new products - it is time to build on the ability of satisfied, savvy consumers to tell their friends....

A slow approach?
Then how about taking a chance on delivery vs. promise, and allowing the other half of the 'tell a friend' mechanism to kick-in, whereby a delighted consumer tells one friend, whereas a complaining consumer tells ten eager listeners, via every medium available...much, much faster! 

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