Reasons to be Cheerful - is our need for human connection something more marketing teams need to wake up to?

B2B - Brand Strategy
Campaign Planning
Consumer Public Relations
Consumer Market Research

Justin Stark, Director at ChargeBox, looks at the arguments. 

I think it’s fair to say that we are all wondering what our reasons to be cheerful are at the moment. The clocks change in a few weeks’ time, Brexit happens the week after (apparently), the rainforests are on fire. At least one of those will no doubt have made you feel a bit down. I certainly have had my moments.

And then if you’re employed or running a business, you’ll have no doubt been rattled by the news that productivity has fallen again. The party conferences were quick to remind us of this and put forward remedies. Labour’s bid included a four-day week to improve productivity. And Boris set out a plan that said fixing productivity would also fix the social care crisis.

But interestingly the Lib Dems had a different approach to things, putting forward the idea that we need a well-being budget, one that works for people and the planet.

It’s an interesting notion and probably one that all brands should consider. Fundamentally though it asks the question ‘What is it that makes people happy? What is it that helps us feel in control?’

Doing the things we love

For most of us it means doing the things we love, with the people we love. For others it’s leading an ‘instagrammable’ life full of experiences and beautiful things.

Both feel poles apart, but the one thing that unites them is a feeling of being connected either in the flesh or virtually. That’s a telling sign for brands. Helping people feel connected and helping them live the life they want to lead will be a differentiator.

Ethics and environmental concerns will certainly start to creep into the bracket of how they want to live their life. Consumers will scrutinise where things have come from, the wastage in production and what happens to a product at the end of its life.

The changing behaviour of shoppers

Today 58% of shoppers now look up product details and 56% price information while in a store. It’s a behaviour that is especially common in under 35s. If your strategy is to target this age group, then it’s a major consideration for your brand. While you may be focusing on the range and the experience in store, what’s on the label also needs to be a cause for concern.

This need to be in control of purchasing decision, even if it’s simply to know you are getting the best price, will drive more change in the way we shop and what we expect from a company. It also goes some way to explain why 76% of shoppers at Intu Lakeside admitted they felt anxious if their phone ran out of battery.

Consumers are effectively running their own quality and price checks to validate retailers’ claims. And they now have the power to do it in the shop. They don’t have to be at home tethered to a laptop. They can experience the endorphin highs of going shopping, and take advantage of fast mobile networks and free wifi to do all the research they need to meet their requirement – ethical, environmental, local, value - as they go from store to store.

It adds up to making their time pleasurable, and efficient. For retailers that’s very telling for growing loyalty. Your marketing messages have to be trusted and your store needs to have the facilities that support mobile services.

Retailers: adjusting advertising to support the customer experience

Retailers with the winning formula will be the ones that have thought through the whole supply chain, and offer the right range at the right price, and tell people they have a differentiated service.

Brands will therefore need to be clever in their selection of advertising vehicles. They need to be looking for ones that are permanent but not wallpaper. The only way to achieve that is with a service they want included. Taking the importance of connectivity as an example, it will be things like somewhere to plug a phone in if it’s dying – either in your store, or better still near to it so they can be reminded to visit your brand while getting a mobile charge.

I believe it’s marrying these details of how we want to live our life with access to free useful services that will lead us to happiness. When we are connected we are less stressed, less anxious and more in control. And for brands that wake up to this, the future will also be happy.