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Motif (This is Motif Limited) – 18 June 2020



Brand loyalty is going to become an even more precious commodity in a world where we’re living with Covid for the long-term or we’re recovering from the pandemic. A host of commentators have highlighted the increased need to build emotional connections with consumers – and they’re right – but more practical drivers of loyalty will also be vital.

You can’t move for reports that the pandemic has shaken up the world more than any event since the second world war and this disruption is forcing a reappraisal of the relationships consumers have with brands. There has been a lot of coverage of the ‘soft, fluffy’ side of things – brands’ support of customers, suppliers and the broader community during the pandemic has been highly visible. Kantar have reported that over ¾ of consumers expect brands to demonstrate what they are doing to support people in the crisis. And many experts have correctly pointed-out the long-term impact this could have on consumer/brand relationships. Brands which share values with their customers and make an effort to connect are being touted to have an advantage in the months ahead. A recent survey by Loyalty Lion indicated that nearly 70% of consumers claim that their loyalty is motivated by the knowledge that a brand shares their values and beliefs. At Motif, we whole-heartedly agree. We’ve been beating the drum about the importance of getting close to customers and building brand magnetism in driving loyalty since long before Covid – its central to every project we do.

But we don’t yet know what the long or even medium-term impact will be. Consumers might feel warm and fuzzy about a brand that supports the NHS in the dark days of lockdown, but as the crisis fades into memory and people adjust to the ‘new normal’, getting the basics right is likely to return to the fore. A recent article in Campaign demonstrates that the jury is still very much out on this one.

Whatever the lasting impact of brands’ efforts to ‘do the right thing’, brands need to keep in mind that it is imperative to excel in delivering the tangible, day-to-day parts of the customer experience too. With so much around them changing and circumstances forcing trial of new brands, consumers are re-evaluating the brands they use in a cool-headed, objective way. Factors including convenience, quality of service and critically, value are coming under scrutiny – and this focus could well intensify in the widely anticipated deep post-Covid recession.

We’ve also heard from commentators who highlight the growing importance of trust in consumers’ decisions to choose to buy from a brand. In an uncertain world, consumers become more conservative and turn to brands they can rely on. This is clearly an emotional response from consumers, but in many ways the considerations it drives are far more rational – a brand I can trust to provide good customer service, have good product availability or give good value for money.

So, whilst its going to be important for businesses to build their brands and nurture deeper relationships with customers, the need to ensure that they seamlessly and affordably deliver the core products and services consumers want could be even more critical.


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