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Jet Darisan
Jet Darisan 04 August 2022

Trust in challenging times: Building brand loyalty amid uncertainty

Get the lowdown on understanding your consumers and their preferences – to be the trusted brand they need in times of crisis.

Jet Darisan
Jet Darisan 04 August 2022

Get the lowdown on understanding your consumers and their preferences – to be the trusted brand they need in times of crisis.

When times get tough, so should strategies around engaging customers and maintaining brand confidence and loyalty.

As markets look ahead to post-pandemic recovery and the long wave of inflation, we’re faced with uncertain times that put customer loyalty and trust to the test. Shoppers are tightening their purse strings, spending on options within their budget, and swapping frequented brands with more affordable ones. For brands, this means doing more to meet their customers’ new challenges and identifying opportunities to continue providing value and staying front of mind.

While COVID-19 led to behavioural adjustments and new retail adoptions, the increasing cost of living is going to have a major impact on what, how and when consumers choose to purchase. Lockdowns and shortages have caused consumers to be more willing to try new products as alternatives. According to a McKinsey & Company survey, stock-outs during the pandemic were the biggest driver for shifting consumer behaviour in ASEAN countries. Inflation, meanwhile, has seen consumers substituting products for cheaper ones, while cutting spend on discretionary items.

At the same time, however, Kantar’s latest report on the world’s top 100 most valuable brands shows their total brand value increasing by 23% in 2021. Companies that have consistently invested in building strong and trusted brands, have continued to thrive despite facing unique challenges during uncertain times.

Faced with less loyal customers across the Asia Pacific markets, what can brands do to better understand and address the realities of the consumer experience – to achieve greater engagement, brand confidence and performance?

1. Real-time, omnichannel engagement

The customer journey continues to evolve amid increasing digitisation and more sophisticated consumer behaviour. Brands need to harmonise their strategies across both offline and online channels to continually delight and capture attention at all touchpoints. Crucially, brands need to understand the key moments from discovery, to purchase and trial, to post-purchase, to ensure sustained brand engagement and relevance. At Indicia Worldwide, we help our clients activate data and leverage valuable insights that cut through to connect with their customers wherever they may be in their purchase journey.

2. Hyper-localisation

Shopping in a mall in Bangkok can feel like shopping in a mall in Hong Kong. Similar stores, similar product lines. What brands may overlook, however, is that despite the similarities in many retail environments, consumers themselves differ. Many of the motivations that drive their shopping habits are influenced by geographical and cultural factors. Through the convergence of data, tech and creative, and by harnessing local insights, we make sure brands deliver hyper-localised, agile and resonant communications and experiences that continually engage – so that you stay top of mind in a saturated, yet diverse Asia Pacific market.

3. Lead with purpose

Modern consumers are more interested than ever in brands’ values, paying close attention to how organisations react in times of crisis and purpose-led brands that show empathy. Having a brand purpose geared towards helping the environment, people and community has shown to drive brand engagement.

The “Strength of Purpose” study by Zeno Group found that global consumers from countries including India, Singapore and Malaysia, are four to six times more likely to buy from, trust and champion purpose-driven companies. With consumer values being a key consideration in buying decisions, this creates opportunities for brands to set new benchmarks for meeting and exceeding their expectations – and building a loyal customer base in the long term.

4. Two-way communication

Consumers now expect brands to take more responsibility in living by their values, engaging in existing conversations, and responding to (if not anticipating) their wants and needs. When the brand effectively speaks to its audience and lets them know that they’re heard, this creates more trust and transparency. Maintaining lines of communication with your customers, even more so during difficult times, helps to foster even stronger relationships and loyalty that often translates into enhanced brand reputation, retention and ROI.

Want insights on how to build new standards of customer engagement by uniting intelligence-led marketing, technology and analytics? We’re here to help. 

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