Today we expect brands to stand for more than just their own self-interest. Much like with friends and family, we value a humane, personal connection with our brands. We’re not willing to be in a committed relationship with someone who is manipulative and self-centered. Similarly, the brands that win our trust listen to what consumers really want, know what values they stand for and have a good sense of humour when needed.
A second observation is that collectively we’re getting more and more tech-savvy. The amount of people who believe that technological advances will benefit their lives has grown. There’s also been an increase in the number of people that monitor their health and sports activities using smart devices and apps.
The Geometry of Love Triangles
We constantly find ourselves roped into love triangles. We buy Valmiera’s cottage cheese, but then top it up with Limbaži sour cream, because it’s tastier that way.
Maybe we even go as far as putting on a Nike top and Adidas bottoms, which is truly scandalous and not for the faint of heart.
There are categories where love triangles are less probable. For example, try to evade Google when you have to find something on the internet. Or if you want to use natural, Latvian-made beauty products that smell of pine trees - you won’t have many alternatives besides Madara.
And then there’s one love triangle that nearly never happens - the one between Apple and Android. People usually choose one and stay truly monogamous. Building this kind of loyalty in the free market is nearly impossible. In Latvia we see something similar in the telecommunications industry. People usually only have one provider and if you’re with LMT, you’re most likely to be a big fan and not secretly pining for Tele2.
Every year our so-called loyalty diminishes, because as consumers we have more and more instruments to calculate who to give our love to. We compare prices, read online reviews, ask for a discount on Twitter - we can’t be bamboozled into anymore.
Another thing - we don’t really want to choose anything that hasn’t been tried and tested - by an influencer, a cousin or an anyonymous internet commentator. Now tell me that’s not the definition of calculated love.
5 Recommendations for Brands in 2019
1. While you’re waging price wars, don’t forget to invest in your brand’s image.
Despite the growing economy, people still tend to choose the cheapest product in the category. At the same time, most people admit that if they have a preferred brand, they will buy that, regardless of better offers. Promo campaigns work, because we’ve been trained to scan for discounts, but a brand’s image has the final say.
2. Brands shouldn’t be afraid to embrace technology.
The amount of tech-savvy people is growing. There’s been a 7% increase in the amount of people that believe technology will significantly improve their lives in the future. Likewise, there’s been an 8% increase in the amount of grown-ups who use a smart device or app to monitor their health and sports habits. 54% of people believe that AI will help them lead better lives in the future.
3. Create ‘live’ content.
Live videos are the fastest growing online activity - up by 10%. The audience for live videos has already reached 72%. Use this effect of presence to your advantage and let people enjoy your brand in real-time.
4. Hep your employees and consumers achieve work-life balance.
The amount of people that view free time as being more important than success at work has grown by 6%. And 8% more people now travel abroad than they did a year before. More and more eomployees now wish to work remotely and choose their own daily schedule.
5. Use people’s date responsibly to achieve more.
The Data Protection Act has given society a larger sense of security. There’s been an 8% decrease in the amount of people who worry about their private information getting into the wrong hands. But next year, the winners will be those companies that will be able to responsibly obtain and interpret valuable private data.