WE's latest 'Brands in Motion' study calls to attention what WE global CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin calls a 'collective wave of demand from consumers.' Never have consumers been more demanding of what they want a brand to stand for. While a great product and service are table stakes, consumers also expect brands to take stands on issues they care about and show real action while doing so.
The multi-nation study was conducted in partnership with YouGov.
Consumers want brands to take a stand on issues
The study showed that 86% of respondents in India say that they expect brands to take a stand on important issues.
In order for brands to thrive, in what the report terms as a consumer revolution, and build a new definition of brand loyalty; brands need to focus on three things.
These are, as per the report, find an authentic sense of purpose, aim for true mutual respect and tie local action to important issues, even if those issues are global.
Melissa Waggener Zorkin says this means offering consumers 360-degree respect and defining an authentic source of purpose. This model of respect, Zorkin explained, can be applied by understanding in a comprehensive way what respect means to all stakeholders for a brand.
Marketeers at the launch of the study in India pointed out that for CEOs looking for ROI, brand purpose and respect could be a challenging proposition. However, Zorkin said that while for some companies may have a longer tail for demonstrating their purpose and human side, the fact is that customers are demanding it.
"It's also good for business", said Zorkin. A start needs to made in the direction of brand authenticity with consumers, Zorkin concluded.
Brand use of technology and consumer concerns
It's a given that technology is now deeply integrated into our daily lives and is enabling us to alter lifestyles across India. This also means that consumers have strong expectations of how brands use technology. While consumers in India believe it's helping them do things faster and safer, there are also concerns about the quick changes it's bringing.
Consumer response to technology :
Interestingly there is a high belief in brands ability to provide stability with 86% of respondents in India agreeing with this statement. 97% of consumers surveyed also said consumers themselves have a responsibility to use technology ethically.
With this sweeping change in customer attitudes, Nitin Mantri, group CEO, Avian WE says brands have an opportunity to demonstrate their human core.
Adds Mantri, " The challenge is to go beyond the customer journey and dig deeper. It's about people. Not customers, not users-people."
Demonstrate local action first
Consumers in India want brands to show local action on global issues. On environment issues, 59% of respondents in India said they want brands to address local communities first. Any environment campaign should, therefore, be aimed at working with regional populations.
Drivers for brand motion
The study asked respondents what were their top emotional and rational drivers. Among emotional top drivers were customer experience, overall impression, defend or shame the brand and social impact. The rational drivers identified by respondents as key were executive behaviour, intent to purchase, innovation and how necessary the product or service was.