Are consumers falling out of love with brands?
A new cultural trends study from WPP media shop Mindshare suggests that may be the case, despite all the new ways technology is enabling brands to connect with consumers.
In fact, the study suggests that technology could be a part of the problem. It concludes that consumers are finding technology to be a double-edged sword. While they’re infatuated with devices and social media on one hand, on the other, all the connectedness can be overwhelming for people, with 58% saying it makes the world “more complex” and perhaps not so easy to navigate.
In the latest so-called “Culture Vulture” report from the agency, less than half (47%) of respondents agreed that “When I see or hear something interesting about a brand I like to pass it on.” That’s down from the 66% of consumers who agreed with that statement four years ago.
Also, significantly more consumers -- 65% of those who responded -- said they would now purchase a generic product that is on sale instead of the branded version of the product they normally use. That compares to 57% who felt that way prior to the recession.
“Our findings show that a majority of brands are seeing their relationships with consumers weakening,” said Mark Potts, managing director, Mindshare North America. “This is clearly a huge issue for marketers, as we know that in this technology and social media age, consumers should be connecting with their favorite brands and sharing them.”
Brands may need to do a rethink about “how they’re adapting to new consumer expectations in order to better connect to their emotions and behaviors,” said Potts.
How consumers respond to whatever changes in approach marketers make remains to be seen. But generally, they seem to be in a more positive frame of mind, per the study. It found that overall, despite coming out of a difficult recession, people feel more positive, relaxed, mentally healthy and happier than in previous years. For example, 59% of those surveyed said they felt like they had a good work/life balance, versus 53% who felt that way in 2010. The takeaway for brands is that they should tap into that rising positive consumer mind-set, per the study.
Plus, they should use all the new marketing tools at their disposal to accomplish that, says Potts. “In 2014, brands can rekindle their relationship with consumers by creating unique content and experiences tailored for their specific interests, lifestyles and behaviors, which are embedded in science and real-time responsiveness.”