As the cost of living continues to increase, consumers are starting to look at ways to cut back on their monthly spending. The industries hit the hardest so far have been hospitality and retail as they’re ultimately seen as the least priority when it comes to budgeting. With price climbs showing no immediate signs of slowing down, the consumer confidence index has fallen to a low since 1974 in the UK. How can brands continue to operate successfully amid the current struggles? We take a further look..
Focus on your values
It’s now more important than ever to differentiate yourselves from competitors and leave no doubt in a consumers’ mind as to which brand they should stand by and continue to use. Instead of making reactive decisions in terms of slashing prices, increasing advertising budgets or changing your strategy, understand why your customers are with you in the first place.
Remind yourselves of what makes your particular brand unique and run with it. When it comes to business ethics and CSR, they’re likely to stick with you if you continue to match your initial values. Customers love brand stories and feel connected to reasons why the brand started in the first instance, show them this is still your priority.
Consider deals and promotions
Although we touched upon slashing prices previously, if done right, deals and promotions can be a success. This could be a way of enticing new customers rather than retaining existing customers. You may already show your love and support to your customers, but consider offering them a loyalty program or a way of building up credit for discounts or a freebie. During economic struggles, this will help customers stick with you. Who doesn’t love a freebie?
Be reachable for current customers
Whilst brands are rushing to acquire new customers, some are forgetting to nurture their existing customers. It’s much harder to acquire new customers in this financial crisis, so when they’re on board with your brand, cherish them and reward them for their loyalty.
Find unique ways in which your brand can add value to a customer, this doesn’t always necessarily have to be in the form of discounts or loyalty schemes. Brainstorm ideas surrounding the interactions brand users have with each other. There’s plenty of competitions you can hold on social media platforms.
Competitions will get your brand talked about more under hashtags and this will naturally lead to more exposure and sense of fun behind your brand. Make sure you’re always there for current customers in regards to answering any issues they may run into. The customers that have been there from the start are there to be cherished, and are the reason your brand still operates.
Communicate with your audience
Communicate honestly with your customers as to why you’re making changes to any product or service. The data you can build up from feedback, will allow your brand to develop a better marketing strategy to help meet their needs in this economic uncertainty. Customers may begin to expect more if prices are increasing, so be prepared to explain the reasons for this and continue to develop healthy relationships within your business to customer framework.
For now, the future is uncertain. But what we do know is that brands need to stick to their values and communicate these to their audience if they want to emerge from the crisis with brand advocates by their side.