• Transform magazine
  • April 16, 2024


Inertia is the ultimate enemy for any brand

EF Daniel Wade (1)

Daniel Wade, co-founder of creative agency EveryFriday, argues that consumers are rethinking their spending habits during these economically difficult times. He discusses how brands can move their audiences into action.

The cost-of-living crisis and the dark clouds of a looming recession are forcing consumers to rethink, reconsider and review their spending habits and the brands they consume.

In this age of economic uncertainty and rapidly changing consumer habits, the challenge for brands is how they remain front of mind. But in a world full of noise, how do brands stand out and cut through, without adding to the noise?

Experts will tell brands they need to spend their way out of a recession, increase their share of voice and be more front of mind than ever before. However, the reality is that marketing budgets are often one of the first to be cut when an economic downturn hits. 

A new study by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and Ebiquity assessed the intentions of 43 multinational companies, including five of the world’s top 10 advertisers by spend. Almost a third (29%) plan to reduce spend in 2023, while three quarters of those surveyed agreed that 2023 budgets are under intense scrutiny, with marketers being asked to justify investment.

With every marketing penny being scrutinised, what could be worse than spending that marketing money and then your audience not even noticing you? Not turning their heads. Not engaging with you. Not clicking the link. Not spending their valuable pound. Becoming indifferent to your brand.  

The simple truth is, inertia is the ultimate enemy for any brand and therefore maintaining momentum is vital for a brand’s survival – and success.

This is something Pret a Manger has done successfully by driving consumers into action with the introduction of subscription coffee, which fundamentally changed the habits of consumers through their daily coffee purchase. The initiative, which was the UK’s first in-shop coffee subscription, saw 16,500 customers sign up on the day of launch.

Purplebricks is another example of a brand that has moved consumers into action, shaking up the housing market by empowering homeowners to take control of the sale of their home. The online estate agent successfully topped the agency market share league table in April this year.

And let’s not forget Tesco, which spearheaded customer loyalty within retail with the launch of the Tesco Clubcard, enabling a greater awareness amongst customers of what was in their shopping basket and encouraging loyalty and repeat purchases through deals and value savings on goods. Last year, Tesco reported 20 million households had signed up to Clubcard, with 6.6 million regularly using the app.

So in this new era of rising inflation and increased caution when it comes to consumer spend, how can brands succeed when others are failing, and move people from inertia into action?

First things first, brands must give their audience a reason to care. Whether it’s about nurturing a sense of belonging, of purpose, or to meet a very real want or need, it’s important to stir some form of emotion that instils a belief in the brand.  But at the same time, brands must add genuine value to the lives of their customers.

If inertia is your enemy, it’s important for brands to drive campaigns that counter indifference and ultimately make things happen. Continually push for new ideas that resonate with your audience, do not sit still until you’ve found them, and crucially, protect those ideas at all costs.

Finally, brands need to accept and champion the notion of feeling comfortable in feeling uncomfortable. Yes, new ideas can make us feel uneasy, awkward or embarrassed, but that’s ok – in fact that’s the ultimate goal. Because it’s when we feel at our most uncomfortable that we are driven to take action.