Consumers have never been faced with so many failing companies that were once perceived as infallible industry leaders as they have in the last several years (at least not in our lifetimes). As a result, consumers have become less willing to believe marketing messages and have begun to rely more on word-of-mouth marketing to make buying decisions (particularly fueled by the social Web) than ever before.
We’re living in a time when consumers are looking for a sense of security. One of the most important factors of customer loyalty is creating a sense of security and sustainability — meaning the brand is perceived to be one that will be around for a long time, or at least a predetermined amount of time with a specific end. ( I’ve written about customer loyalty on Corporate Eye before, and you can read that post here for more information.)
It seems to me that the economic struggles of the world, the folding of major brands, and the prevailing sense of insecurity, distrust and fear is actually a huge opportunity for brands. In other words, now is the time to flood your market with messages of longevity, stability, trust, and honesty. These are the messages consumers are looking for, and if you can communicate them in a believable manner, you’re on your way to significant long-term success.
Brands that position themselves in a power position now, while times are still tough for consumers, will reap the benefits when our economies turn around and get back on track. Think of it this way — what can you do now that will get your customers to say, “I could really count on them when times were tough,” later?
It’s not often that the world around us gives us the perfect brand message. Take advantage of it, and deliver the messages people want to hear.
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