Cristina Campos, Managing Director, Brand Dialogue Spain elaborates on how brands can continue to innovate their communications strategies to connect with new consumers.
New consumers value ethics over profit
In 2021, transparency and communication proved essential in garnering the interests of key brand stakeholders, especially in a society where uncertainty reigned. However, if we have learnt anything from the last year, it’s that companies need to demonstrate humility and communicate the essence of their brand and ethos. Looking forward, a key theme throughout 2022 is set to be solidarity and ethics in communications.
The current international climate has highlighted the importance of ethical brands, specifically, demonstrating ethical values over business profits. During the pandemic, consumers sought to educate themselves and demanded that brands can no longer stand idly by during periods of conflict. The ongoing conflict in Europe continues to advocate for this and appears to be a communications trend that is here to stay.
Brands are a driving force that can influence nations and consumers need to see that influence. They want to identify with the brands they consume and value those that both think and act like them. Communicating brand identity is vital to engage a younger, more ethically-conscious generation.
The massive influx of information consumers receive through the media changes their perceptions, essentially forcing them to listen to their conscience when consuming or advocating for brands. As expected, brands are responding to this without caution in an attempt to empathise with their consumer. It is therefore essential for brand communicators to remain cautious in their assessments to avoid potential missteps in their communications strategy.
During periods of extreme tension, companies are forced to re-evaluate their media and social media strategies to ensure they are not bombarding consumers with content and forcing them to adapt to the new climate. This can be done by first publicly stating their position, and secondly, holding back on local and international communications investments and strategies.
Creating a narrative to connect with new consumers
Any brand aiming to connect with the new generation should stop, analyse, and ask themselves a few key questions.
· How are you presenting yourself to your audiences?
· Are audiences perceiving you as you are?
· Are you changing and improving your brand, but failing to connect with your stakeholders?
Brands need to learn what is important to their consumers instead of doing things for the sake of doing them, innovating for the sake of innovating, or investing in new products and services before researching their audience. Corporate communications must adapt to its consumers but also evolve with the new generation, therefore focusing on taste and trends rather than age. They are looking for unfiltered communications, immediacy, reality, and naturalness, in other words, the opposite of traditional corporate communications.
This is not only seen in new generations such as millennials, Gen Zs and Generation Alphas, but is also apparent in older generations, namely those who were influenced by the former and more demanding expectations of brands. We have become much more non-conformist and more demanding and as a society are looking for companies with a moral compass who are more sustainable, more committed, and in short, more human. These factors and characteristics can increase your brand’s familiarity, relevance, and most importantly, reputation.