Covid-19 has shifted what is important to us,” explains Alison Whelan, co-founder of Blooming Visions, an ideas consultancy that helps brands align values with value. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Whelan, formerly with Burberry, and co- founders Mark Jackson, formerly with McCann, and Louise Richards, formerly with La Prairie, created Blooming Visions in response to consumers wanting more from brands about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals, brand behaviors aligned to those goals, and the need to be more mindful in a world suddenly under threat. “The world has changed irrevocably. Customers care about what you do and how you do it, now more than ever before,” Whelan explains.
According to global management consulting firm Bain & Company Inc., 45% of consumers appreciate brands that show social purpose in creative and sensitive ways, while 46% of consumers value honest communications about Covid-19 affecting service levels.
“As consumers, we are so much more in tune with what’s happening in the rest of the world. This time last year people would have sold their grandmothers for toilet paper—demonstrating the selfishness and greed at the core of our society at the time of lockdown,” Whelan says. “But by June or July we saw key workers in social media sobbing, asking ‘How can I take care of you, if I don’t have food?’ Now we are seeing a resonance of respect for others. We aren’t buying now for the sake of buying, but we are instead choosing carefully what we buy,” she explains.
“The pandemic has been the great accelerator—a never-before transformation that has brought sustainability programs and products forward.”
...Right Product, Right Message?
“The list of incidents of such self-inflicted brand damage has gotten a lot longer in the past couple of years,” says Greg Petro, CEO First Insight, an Experience Management (XM) platform that empowers companies to significantly incorporate the Voice of the Customer into the design, pricing, planning, and marketing of products and service offerings. Through the use of online consumer engagement tools, the First Insight platform gathers real-time consumer data and applies predictive analytic models to create actionable insights to power decisions which drive measurable value.
“A brand builds trust over a period of time but can lose that in a minute,” explains Gretchen Jezerc, SVP Marketing First Insight.
“And thanks to Twitter and all the other social media platforms, the damage is greater and is inflicted overnight,” says Petro. A short accessible video can reach millions of views within hours, educating people while pointing out flaws in well-established brands and quickly spreading from one social media channel such as TikTok to others such as Twitter and Instagram.