September 2022 - Creating a Higher Purpose

How to achieve brand loyalty in a post pandemic world.

Representation of Brand Loyalty

What do consumers want in this constantly shifting economy? New research examines how customer behavior has shifted during the pandemic and how the past 26 months have reshaped the retail landscape. Analysts and economists have been put into overdrive trying to understand how consumer behavior has adapted and shifted during the pandemic. What was once accepted and taught as truths about shoppers’ habits have been disrupted; and understanding what this means for big or small retailers is paramount as we begin to head into the holiday season.

Much of the research from this year discusses how the “conscious consumer” is becoming more commonplace. For example, in a study done by Capgemini Research Institute (CRI) earlier this year, they specifically call out that consumers are being “more conscious of natural resources and that sustainability will be more important to them when deciding which retailers and brands to shop with.”

CRI found that as consumers are pivoting towards more sustainable products, many are willing to pay a premium for them. “Gen Z and Millennials lead all other age groups in this respect. When shopping for groceries, 72% of Gen Z and 66% of Millennials say they are willing to pay more for organic foods and in fact did so the last time they were grocery shopping, compared to 56% of Boomers. Similarly, 64% of Gen Z and 54% of Millennials are willing and have paid more for groceries in sustainable packaging versus only 30% of Boomers.” This research demonstrates that this large change worldwide has younger generations thinking about how their purchasing decisions can create an impact. Gen Z is specifically making decisions based on sustainability and is beginning to act on it.

There is also an increased “pressure to be purposeful” from consumers who want to hold companies accountable for their commitments. Research continues to demonstrate that “consumers want companies not only to demonstrate a sense of wider social purpose (i.e. acting beyond their own self-interest), they want to see positive action today in terms of contributing to social well-being.”

While purpose-driven consumers are not new, there was something about the pandemic that made many consumers rethink how they interact with brands and how they make purchasing decisions.  Accenture’s recent survey of more than 25,000 consumers across 22 countries, with follow-up focus groups in five countries, bears this out: A full 50% of consumers say that the pandemic caused them to rethink their personal purpose and re-evaluate what’s important to them in life. Forty-two percent say the pandemic made them realize they need to focus on others more than themselves. These consumers, Accenture calls them the “Reimagined”, are changing their buying habits, and in doing so, they’re creating enormous opportunities for companies that respond by resetting strategies and setting new standards for meeting and exceeding their expectations.

While price and quality have long been, and remain, the dominant motivations in consumers’ choice rationale, they have lessened in influence among Reimagined consumers. Among the Reimagined, 66% said they now expect brands to take more responsibility in motivating them to live by their values and to make them feel more relevant in the world, versus 16% of Traditional consumers.

In today’s market, consumers know what they want and they expect many things from the businesses they buy from. While the ethos and ethical standing of not only the product but the company is extremely important to them, consumers expect companies to pursue a higher purpose in addition to profit. Here are 4 other areas that companies must hit to achieve brand loyalty.

  1. Aligned values and higher purpose with all stakeholders
  2. Consumers want convenience- while consumers return to in-store shopping, eCommerce has remained strong.
  3. Easy delivery and fulfillment of orders- in addition to this, straightforward, multi-payment options
  4. Consumer’s top priority is healthy, sustainable living and the need to conserve natural resources

The key to success in 2023 will be recognizing that these demands exist, and plotting a course to not only meet expectations, but exceed them in ways that build trust and loyalty.

Jonathan Liebert, CEO/Co-Founder 

September 29th, 2022