13 May 2020

Is your brand living up to new expectations?

Almudena Clemente, Head of Strategy at Superunion Madrid, explains the steps brands should take to prepare for new consumer expectations.

The current global situation has brought about so much change in such a short time. two currents of thought have emerged from the social and structural changes we are seeing: those who believe that a better, more united and conscious society will emerge from this crisis; and those who think that nothing will change and we will forget everything we have suffered and learned - from protectionism or disbelief, to innovation, sustainability, solidarity and teamwork. 

But inevitably, this New Normal is having an emotional impact on our lives. We find ourselves with more time than ever: to take up new hobbies, to get bored, to bake a cake.

This has also been a time of reflection. In these last weeks, consumer expectations have changed, society has evolved and matured. We have discovered the true value of solidarity, collaboration, commitment and empathy. 

A large number of companies have already demonstrated this empathy, willingness to collaborate and commitment to society, which poses a new competitive context in all sectors. It implies that brands need to review their role and promise before an even more demanding society, against an even more complex and uncertain social and economic backdrop. 

However, if this crisis has taught businesses anything, it is that we are almost all the same. Most big companies have launched almost identical communication campaigns appealing to the difficult times we're facing and that we will get through this together. 

For this reason, it's important to articulate a narrative that allows businesses to highlight the positive contributions we've made during this crisis and which we aim to continue in the future. Whilst this exercise may have different derivatives or implications, there are specific steps we can take to ensure our brands are ready for new expectations.

Brand platform - Positioning, values, brand personality etc. We must ensure that this new social dimension is part of the DNA of our brand strategy. 

Purpose - For brands that don't have a clear purpose, this would be an ideal time to define it. It's important not to simply articulate it, but to activate a brand's purpose at the heart of the business. 

Brand narrative - That differentiates brand to connect with stakeholders and align internal and external communications. 

Internal culture - Inspire and promote the company culture and behaviours of employees. Imbue with renewed positioning and support internal engagement and attract talent. 

Ultimately, whatever a brand's position in the new climate, it is important to remain competitive. It's not about changing who we are or who we want to be, but about being more empathetic and proactive with the world around us, and authentically applying this new perspective to brands. Because society now expects it, and any brand will compete better in a healthy social context in which all brands and society, move towards the future together. 

First published in Foro de Marcas Renombradas Españolas