The new normal finds consumers showing erratic behavior when choosing where to spend their money. Maintaining brand loyalty seems to be a thing of the past as consumers are likely to jump ship during a crisis. Here’s what you can do about that!

Consumer devotion has become much more supply dependent than any other loyalty measure. And, concerningly, consumers are likely to stick with the new brand they find. Or it can present an opportunity! Either way, brands need to be aware that crisis loyalty is different from traditional loyalty. And be ready to throw life jackets to consumers to lure them back in.

We’ll explore the key differences at play, as well as:

  • Supply, demand and how consumers aren’t waiting for restocks
  • The care and keeping of consumers
  • Purchasing in a pandemic – how to stay ahead

And we’ve uncovered some interesting statistics such as:

  • 83% of consumers believe behavior by a company during the pandemic will play a key role in whether they buy from that company later
  • 71% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies whose values align with theirs
  • 60% of small businesses cite repeat customers as the bloodline of the business

Now to brass tacks. And to kick if off with some harsh truth – supply-dependent loyalty is scary.

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Supply-dependent Loyalty is Scary

In March, Kraft Heinz began working three day shifts in order to meet demands. The grocery store shelves laid bare, left room for consumers to take other brands for a spin, possibly causing this giant of a brand to lose out.

And Hershey’s also experienced a high demand as chocolate became the number one comfort food of quarantine. They expressed concern over a possible decreased availability of its goods, and issues with the supply chain.

Again, leaving consumers to find comfort in the arms of another brand.

Since the pandemic, supply and demand has been unpredictable, poorly fulfilled (in some sectors) and keenly felt across many categories. The Social Media Marketing cluster (below) speaks to the interest brands have in this tactic to form the backbone of today’s advertising efforts.

brand-loyalty-marketing-intelligence-cluster

As the articles below illustrate:

brand-loyalty-articles

And it makes sense. As of 2019 91% of businesses used social media to create a better customer experience, and that’s wise as today’s shoppers want a more personalized feel. A Walker study found customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the end of 2020 –leaving brands to reassess their customer engagement.

Interestingly, a good part of the brand loyalty conversation in June is around the automotive study by JD Power that shared which brands are winning at the consumer loyalty game:

timeline-comparison-sharing-brand-loyalty-intel

We can click in the timeline and see that it is, in fact the reason for the surge in articles:

JD-Power-report-on-brand-loyalty-and-impacts-on-consumers-response-to-crisis

And further isolating the JD Powers’ Report conversation, we can see which articles are published the most and which are obtaining the most social engagement from consumers. We can also see how these conversations are connected:

social-engagement-shows-brand-loyalty  

Taking it even further, we can see who is writing these articles, to give us some insight around Reporters a brand may want to add to its media relations plan in this automotive, brand loyalty space!

reporters-sharing-most-articles-around-automotive-brand-loyalty-which-can-help-attract-consumers-during-a-crisis

Because, it’s all about loyalty after all! And what exactly keeps a consumer loyal?

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What Keeps Consumers Loyal to a Brand During a Crisis?

“Dance like no one’s watching” doesn’t apply here. Consumers have brands under a magnifying glass and are watching their every move – not only in the recent social issues, but responses to the pandemic as well. And all of this is a part of their customer experience. The stats tell all:

  •  81% of consumers say businesses have a responsibility to help solve social or policy issues
  • 83% of consumers believe behavior by a company during the pandemic will influence whether they buy from that company after COVID-19 subsides.

Brands acting now to raise their awareness in the consumer’s eye are more likely to weather the storm and find themselves on dry land when the waters subside.

And PepsiCo has been listening to consumers.

In May, Pepsi launched their Better Together campaign, allowing people to nominate essential workers to receive a care package worth $1,000.  Additionally, on their Instagram they posted their other works:

  • They funded PPE gear for healthcare workers
  • Financially supported out of work restaurant employees
  • Supported testing and screening sights

Pepsi-Covid19-crisis-communications-to-consumers-are-impactful

Being socially minded, PepsiCo is creating that personal connection and experience. And, as 71% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies whose values align with theirs, this makes Pepsi one smart cookie.

Beyond that, customer experience is critical since 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. And the pandemic has only emphasized this point with greater poignancy, as consumers are feeling isolated and making rash purchases.

Crisis Rewires Consumers’ Purchase Path

With the stress-reactive circuits in consumers’ emotional brains triggering a type of fight or flight syndrome, their purchases are all over the place. And marketers are gasping for breath as they try to keep up.

Brand names don’t hold the sway they used to. If you’re Crest Toothpaste and a newer brand puts out a product that does the same basic thing, consumers are likely to switch, especially if their message connects to the them personally.

And brands can’t afford to lose a single consumer during this time. 60% of small businesses cite repeat customers as the bread and butter of business. 

So, monitoring what consumers are tweeting about can give a company the insight it needs to change course. Adjusting marketing tactics to keep customers has become more important than ever. Being able to do so quickly, based on accurate data is essential.

Brands need to amplify good feelings around their products and services, while heading off panic buys in the future, that’s for sure. And by creating social analytics alerts combined with daily, targeted monitoring, they can do just that – and more! Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you the many, many ways this is possible.

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