The Economy: Consumer Reflections & Brand Implications

Recent market research we've been conducting with consumers has uncovered some interesting insights into the current economic climate. Not only is the situation ‘shaking’ many consumer bank accounts, but it’s also starting to ‘shake’ their thinking.

For the past few years, families have made significant sacrifices in order to squirrel away their assets and wealth. Seeing it disappear is sparking some serious reflection - if all of our effort led to a net financial loss, perhaps we’d be better off focusing on a net emotional gain?

Here’s a neat quote from a father we interviewed illustrating the point: 

“Look at this economic crisis – there are people who can no longer look in the mirror and get a good feeling. People bought into this whole lifestyle thing, where what you have is what you buy. They become a slave to the dollar…It’s a money wheel, we’re like hamsters on a wheel. That’s the analogy for today’s life!! When you gotta have what’s new and best, you end up getting on that money wheel.” - Male (2009)

This same idea was illustrated a few years ago by JWT London in a TVC for Kit Kat

So what happens next? What are the implications for a brand?

Whilst people don’t seem to be abandoning the money wheel, they’re starting to reflect on their situation. This same course of action would be a good idea for many brands too. Reflecting and responding to shifts in consumer sentiment is the key to survival and success for a brand. In fact, to quote one of our clients: 

“Tough times are when great brands are built; what companies do now will determine their future in the market. This crash has turned the market into a muddy field and washed away a lot of competitive advantage. The brands that make their mark now will have a footprint for a very long time to come.” 

From what we are seeing, this current economic crisis may represent a turning point for many consumers and an opportunity for many companies. Ultimately big ideas often emerge from adversity – and a big shift in consumer sentiment creates a platform for these ideas. The question is, which great leaders and great brands will emerge?