UK consumers are becoming more focused than ever on the values that brands hold. A massive 74% of customers have said they want to understand brand values of a business prior to making a purchase from them. Review platform Feefo has conducted a survey of over 2,000 consumers in the UK, and the results are invaluable to businesses and brands during this turbulent time. It is clear to see that people are paying more attention to the way businesses behave, and they are using this when making their purchasing decisions.
Positive Brand Values Can Increase Sales
Keith Povey, Marketing Director of Feefo says “It’s been an incredibly volatile 12 months for businesses, which has seen a seismic shift in consumer behaviour, some aspects of which will have a long-lasting effect on how buyers think, act and spend. That said, our research shows that for those businesses that are agile and realign their marketing strategies, there are many opportunities to improve brand awareness, perception and loyalty. Those that respond and act with the medium to long term in mind will see greater returns over the next few years than those that see this period as nothing more than a dip, due to external circumstances.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant shift in online and ecommerce sales. 99% of UK adults between the ages of 16 and 44 are recent internet users, and with multiple lockdowns taking place over the last 12 months, it is no surprise that online sales have soared. Older generations that were once likely to shy away from technology have been forced to embrace online sales, and as a generation with a more disposable income, the impact on brands has been significant.
The report from Feefo unveiled that 61% of UK consumers are willing to spend more money on brands which are socially responsible and that they have respect for. Showcasing positive brand values and an effective online presence can help businesses to increase sales, boost revenue and improve customer loyalty. Over three quarters (78%) of consumers believe a brand when they say they are socially responsible, so communicating this message is key.
Digital Experience Is Crucial
This shift in online retail has evolved the way customers interact and communicate with businesses. It isn’t just about how consumers make their purchases with brands, but also how they contact them. Customers expect real time communication with businesses, and more than one fifth (21%) of people value a brand more if they provide customer service through social media channels. Social media is an incredible tool for improving customer service with minimal cost, as well as communicating brand values with audiences.
Managing Director of Fishtank Agency, Damien Fisher, explained “The digital experience is scrutinised more than ever before, and depending on the sector, various touchpoints require consideration.
“Graphic real-estate and call-to-action touchpoints are crucial to the customer journey and ultimately deliver on results. The product is good, and the price point is enticing — so what will get the consumer over the line?
“When selling online, everyone is time-sensitive and with cyber-crime at an all-time high, visible trust recognition indicators such as Feemo are key validators to consumer perception and loyalty. Having chatbots visible 24/7 to answer any consumer queries without moving from page to page, as well as trigger points such as email/sales numbers, helps deliver buyer confidence as it suggests the online retailer is happy to take calls and values customer satisfaction.”
Influencer Marketing Is Not So Influential
Marketers have been adopting the trend of influencer marketing over the last few years, with it fast becoming one of the most popular advertising strategies around. The influencer marketing sector is predicted to be worth $5.5 billion and that is only expected to rise. Despite it being a strong growing trend, Feefo research reveals that influencer marketing might not be as influential as we think. 61% of people claimed that having a business associated with celebrities and influencers has no impact on how they perceive them. Just 12% of consumers said that if they are a fan of the celebrity or influencer than they will have a positive association with that brand. On the other hand, 17% revealed that if they do not like an influencer or celebrity then it will create a negative perception of the business.
Founder of Amplify, Jonathan Emmis says “It’s no surprise that the power of celebrity and influencer marketing has waned. Celebrity still has a role to play in marketing, in much the same way as bombarding audiences with advertising does. Both celebrities and advertising can help put a brand on the map and guarantee awareness. But we can’t automatically assume that being on the radar in this way translates into influence, affinity or propensity-to-purchase.
“The mask has dropped on ‘influencers’ as consumers are astute and can see whether the relationship between influencer and brand is authentic, deep and adds value to their lives. For this reason, many brands are stepping away or using celebrity and instead moving towards campaigns that work with real and more relatable talent; people who share the brand’s values, passions or interests. This gives brands authenticity and permission to play in the focus area, audience or sector. Plus, there’s an added benefit here: collaborations and co-creation campaigns with emerging talent don’t carry the same hefty price tag as top-tier celebrity advertising. This helps brands create a larger volume of more interesting, engaging and entertaining content which can be targeted at pockets of audience, rather than a one-size-fits-all strategy. Lots of ‘small’ quickly ladders up to a whole lot of big.”
The Brand Reception Report 2023 from Feefo demonstrates a clear opportunity for businesses to invest more time, effort and money into who they are and how they operate. Customers respond well to companies who are transparent, trustworthy and socially responsible in everything that they do. In future, brands need to focus on being purpose-led in order to develop strong customer relationships, generate more sales, and improve brand loyalty.