Brands that speak louder in times of crisis

Jul 26, 2022 | Publications

Crisis written on typewriter

Brands that speak louder in times of crisis can offer a meaningful coping system.

Quantum conducted a real time digital Consumer Watch Post of 100 homemakers which revealed thought provoking insights into how and why people engage with brand communication during crisis. The panel captured the Western Province, Middle-class consumer, who is classified as SEC A, B & C1 households, accounting for 28% of the population. The middle-class is a great barometer for determining the direction of sentiment and mood movements. This panel consisted of both working and non-working women between the ages of 28-40yrs. Data collection took place in the last 2 weeks of May 2022.

In the first of its series of engagements regarding marketing during the current economic crisis, the Global Insights and Design Strategy firm communicated that brands must engage their audience purposefully in the context of current times in order to strengthen their relationship with consumers.

The Watch Post pyramid revealed three compelling reasons for engagement. They cited prudence at the root of their reason for engagement, with smart and positive living dominating the second tear, and communication that speaks to the need for an emotional support system resonated most with the selected group.

In times of crisis, the most important need is for emotional security. There are multiple source points for emotional security such as the immediate family being the first haven of security, from where one draws empathy, comfort, and support. Hence, brands that capture family dynamics such as father believing in the child or where a mother knows the pain a child’s face before it is spoken create impact at the subliminal level. Other important sources include the community as an interdependent support system which is a fundamental cultural tenant that gets more pronounced during crisis and garnering one’s own inner strength and confidence as a higher level of reinforcement.

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The next stage that brands can appeal to this homemaker is to encourage smart and positive living. Communication can encourage both emotional and functional returns, such as being able to energize and refresh everyday life and alleviating the feeling of restrictions that fence consumers in. Or, provide smart solutions that enable consumers to make the best choices in a constrained environment and attain a seemingly more progressive life during this time of crisis.

Furthermore, there is a great concern for health and nutrition during economic turmoil and brands must invest in products or focus communication on offering proactive health benefits. Consumers justify in such situations, a premium is considered worthwhile, given the health benefit that is derived or illness avoided.

At the lower end of the Watch post Pyramid, consumers displayed prudence to economise and secure supply. Engaging to economize is a more inherent and fundamental activity during a time of crisis. It is always on their minds to save, stretch, obtain cost-effective options, and find economy in using products and brands. They seek roots and tradition as means for security and reducing the risk where the triggered crisis psyche causes them to opt for safe choices and guaranteed supply.

In times of crisis, consumers seek brands that step in as a powerful support system. Having empathy in the context of the impact of the crisis upon her life enables the brand to gain trust and confidence through genuine intensions and engage the consumer with deeper meaning.  

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