25th March | Sally Haywood back

From solid to fluid: adapting to changing consumer behaviours

We’ve already seen a large shift in typical consumer
behaviour as a result of the global pandemic COVID-19. Consumers are
bulk-buying food and toilet roll, there’s been an increase in low contact
commerce with several takeaway chains offering a ‘contactless delivery’ as the standard
and we’re being urged to practice social distancing. This new wave of consumer
behaviour places brands firmly in unchartered territory as to how they should
respond to the current world crisis.

In light of the challenging times the world is currently
experiencing, a report
by Ipsos discusses the impact of Coronavirus and consumer behaviour change,
and what this means for brands as a result.

This drastic change into the unknown means that brands have
lost their autonomy. We’re so familiar with ‘business as usual’ that our
entrenched behaviours become more automatic, which allows for a more simplified
decision-making process. In times of extreme uncertainty and instability,
‘business as usual’ is no longer an option and brands can’t adhere to their
familiar patterns and behaviours. This shifts us from a “solid” decision-making
process, to a “fluid” one.

According to Ipsos, how we navigate in a fluid time can no
longer depend on automatic behaviours, as they may reflect a mastery of a past
that no longer exists.

The report explains that within these unstable environments,
there is a role for brands to play, however, this must be carefully considered.
So far, we have seen brands show comradery during this time of uncertainty and
panic to make it clear they are there to help add value to consumers’ lives and
adapt to the new social norms and behaviours.

Before more recent announcements that cafes, bars and restaurants
must close, Pret was offering free hot drinks to all NHS staff and 50% off
food. Healthy fast-food brand Leon was offering NHS workers 50% off and free
food deliveries to hospitals.

Self-made brand ‘The Body Coach’ created by Joe Wicks used
his popularity on social media to encourage the nation’s children to take part
in PE lessons every weekday morning in light of school closures. With the first
session gaining a massive 806,000 households tuning in, it’s clear to see the
increased need and desire for brands to add value to consumers’ lives.

The Ipsos report provides some key take-outs for brands
looking to adapt to the shifting content and support consumer behavioural change:

Build long-lasting, trusting relationships by
investing in consumers
Be a source of truth and positive impact Show empathy / give comfort   Help people constructively use time and build
new routines at home
Go virtual Recognise and affirm new social norms Learn from the last ‘new normal’

14th October | Matt de Leon
Climate Change, Sustainability and Our Role In It

I’ve always worked in consumer PR and have been lucky enough to work with some of the world’s best brands, from Coca-Cola, Reebok and Samsung, to Shell, Ford and Estrella Damm. And I’ve worked with those brands in environments that many could only dream of, including the Olympic Games, UEFA… Read more

24th September | Richmond & Towers
Confused by media? For the uninitiated it’s about…

Ok, so pre-Covid it was clear that digital was king, print was on the way out, and Joe Wicks was among the UK’s most influential sources for advice on health. Read more

24th September | Anouska Leon
Celebrating Talent and Nurturing Careers – Richmond &…

Running a London PR & digital agency is a competitive business, and the one thing that keeps Richmond & Towers ahead of the rest, and makes us what we are, is our people. So, we’re thrilled to announce promotions to: Read more

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8th January | Sally Haywood back

Influencers: Like a pair of jeans, it’s all about the perfect fit

As a Business Management and Marketing
graduate, my studies provided a vast array of insights into the world of
business. A topic that piqued my interest in particular was digital
communications and marketing. As a result of this, I decided to write my final
year dissertation on the rise of Instagram influencers and whether their
perceived ‘influence’ actually impacts consumer purchasing decisions and
engagement with a brand.

My desk research revealed that Instagram users
perceive influencers as more stimulating and engaging than celebrities or
actors as they feel they can relate to them more[1]. As consumers, we’re increasingly using social media as a primary
source of information when researching a brand, therefore it’s essential for
brands to be able to connect with consumers through influencers they find the
most appealing and relatable.

And the interviews I conducted myself as part
of my research revealed three stand out themes regarding Instagram influencers:

Firstly, it’s vital for a brand to select an influencer who is relevant to and aligns with the brand. Choosing an influencer simply because they have a large following won’t cut it. If the influencer doesn’t align with the brand’s ethos and values, it’s more than likely just going to confuse consumers rather than interest them. Secondly, I examined the
credibility of influencers, and the factors that increase this in the eyes of
consumers. Previous research suggested there were three factors which affected
credibility – trustworthiness, attractiveness and expertise. I asked participants
to rate which factor they perceived to impact the influencers credibility the
most. Expertise came out on top, followed by the attractiveness of the individual
and finally their trustworthiness. Participants also revealed that the factors affecting their views
were also topic sensitive. For example, expertise tended to be the most
important factor that alluded to the influencer’s credibility among
participants who used Instagram for cooking, travelling or skin care, whilst
those who used Instagram for fashion, hair, and makeup inspiration (products
affecting physical appearance) were more likely to choose attractiveness as the
factor that equated to credibility.

Finally, I explored the “impact
on brand perception”, and what might happen if a brand works with an influencer
that isn’t “right” for them. My research revealed that most participants felt that
the use of an influencer they don’t like could deter them from shopping with
the brand, or at least tarnish their opinion of the brand. This demonstrates
the importance of creating a solid and well-thought out influencer campaign. My role at Richmond & Towers now allows me
to put these findings into practice, and I’m delighted that I’ve joined a team
that listens and uses the latest insights like these to recommend the right
strategy for clients. We also use our keen understanding of our clients’ brand
values and goals to select influencers who perfectly align with individual campaigns.

For example, for our skincare client Cetaphil
we’ve been working with dermatologists and keen skincare advocates to land the
message that it should be the brand of choice for Millennials. Likewise, for
our client Beyond the Box, we’ve worked with some of the UK’s highest profile
and most credible sustainability and lifestyle influencers to successfully promote
the benefits of cardboard to a mainstream audience, with some staggering
results and engagement rates well above industry norms.

If you’d like to learn more about how our
social and digital know how can help your brand, then drop us a line (a digital
one of course).

[1] Danesi,
M. (2015) Popular culture: Introductory perspectives. Rowman & Littlefield.

14th October | Matt de Leon
Climate Change, Sustainability and Our Role In It

I’ve always worked in consumer PR and have been lucky enough to work with some of the world’s best brands, from Coca-Cola, Reebok and Samsung, to Shell, Ford and Estrella Damm. And I’ve worked with those brands in environments that many could only dream of, including the Olympic Games, UEFA… Read more

24th September | Richmond & Towers
Confused by media? For the uninitiated it’s about…

Ok, so pre-Covid it was clear that digital was king, print was on the way out, and Joe Wicks was among the UK’s most influential sources for advice on health. Read more

24th September | Anouska Leon
Celebrating Talent and Nurturing Careers – Richmond &…

Running a London PR & digital agency is a competitive business, and the one thing that keeps Richmond & Towers ahead of the rest, and makes us what we are, is our people. So, we’re thrilled to announce promotions to: Read more

Load more
See our latest work
Visit our portfolio
Read our latest news
Visit all latest news