Create element of excitement

Despite people saying they are altering their lifestyles to counter the effects of the recession, Ruth Mortimer discovers that while price may have some effect on behaviour it is aspects that arouse consumers’ emotions that marketers must focus on

Reports suggest that consumers are seeking comfort from the recession in nostalgia by tucking into childhood treats, such as Birds Eye potato waffles and Heinz tomato ketchup. But the results of work by Research International suggests that far from being loyal to familiar, long established brands, consumers are trying out new products.

According to the research, just 5% of those surveyed agree strongly that they are relying on tried and trusted food and drink products at this time, with 26% agreeing overall. This compares with 13% who disagree strongly with this idea, and 44% who disagree overall that they are relying on old favourites.

Rather than being blindly loyal to their favourite brands, it appears that a recession may be a good time to get consumers experimenting. Phil Sutcliffe, head of research at Research International, says “There are multiple trends affecting how people buy at the moment. There is a bit of a return to nostalgia, with Birds Eye relaunching the Arctic Roll. But there are also other trends, such as own-label doing well and Aldi and Lidl gaining business as people spend less.”

Sutcliffe explains that when he started looking at this area, he expected to see price being the main reason for product switching. He points to “purchase intention” levels among the consumers polled in the research. This metric showed that before the recession, 8.6% of people were positive about the idea of buying a new product, while now 9.2% are keen.

“You might have thought that the purchase intention level would go down in a recession,” says Sutcliffe. “But it hasn’t. It seems that people are just as positive about new ideas at this time than they were before.”

Value for money

Nor do people seem to feel they need to get more value for money from products than they did before the credit crunch took hold. This has also remained fairly steady, with 50.8% citing value for money as coming across when they are evaluating a new product, compared with 52.3% now.

We’re working on a big project at the moment about entertainment and that’s all about creating excitement. So we are definitely big purveyors of that style of branding.

Mat Shepherd Trading director at Hastings Direct In the insurance industry, price appears to remain “king” for most consumers whatever the brand – and the lower the price the better. Historically we have seen that, pretty much, no matter which brand it is, if the insurance meets their basic needs, they will buy the cheapest. And this still seems to be true.

While I would not necessarily subscribe to “excitement” in the insurance sector as being a key consideration, I would absolutely agree that “relevance” is fundamental, especially for more mature audiences. Clearly, price sensitivity still reigns high but, in line with the research, it seems that increasingly, delivering a service that really matches a consumer need can give a brand an edge over competitors.

Helen Sears Group marketing manager at Tangerine Confectionery Excitement is an important factor in confectionery. Consumers are still buying sugar confectionery as it’s seen as an everyday luxury. Maintaining the excitement factor is important as buying and consuming confectionery should be a really enjoyable experience. We are maintaining excitement in our brands through new packaging and graphics, natural colours and flavours.

A major difference between this recession and previous ones is the internet. Consumers are used to searching out low prices and expect to get great deals. This has restricted the ability of many manufacturers to make major price reductions. This is not an issue for confectionery, but it has implications for the automotive and electrical goods markets.

thefrontline

We ask marketers on the frontline whether our ‘Trends’ research matches their experience on the ground

Matt O’Connor

Creative director at Fredericks Dairies

I think there has been a change in consumer mindsets in this recession. People are open to new ideas but then at the same time, they are also interested in that nostalgic element. I agree that there are lots of different stimuli going on.

For the supermarkets, there is a gut reaction to cut prices. They know it works. But it doesn’t bring an emotional response. We definitely think excitement is important. People do want affordable escapism at this point to counter the dark, depressing side of life.

We’re working on a big project at the moment about entertainment and that’s all about creating excitement. So we are definitely big purveyors of that style of branding.

Mat Shepherd

Trading director at Hastings Direct

In the insurance industry, price appears to remain “king” for most consumers whatever the brand – and the lower the price the better. Historically we have seen that, pretty much, no matter which brand it is, if the insurance meets their basic needs, they will buy the cheapest. And this still seems to be true.

While I would not necessarily subscribe to “excitement” in the insurance sector as being a key consideration, I would absolutely agree that “relevance” is fundamental, especially for more mature audiences. 

Clearly, price sensitivity still reigns high but, in line with the research, it seems that increasingly, delivering a service that really matches a consumer need can give a brand an edge over competitors.

Helen Sears

Group marketing manager at Tangerine Confectionery

Excitement is an important factor in confectionery. Consumers are still buying sugar confectionery as it’s seen as an everyday luxury. Maintaining the excitement factor is important as buying and consuming confectionery should be a really enjoyable experience. We are maintaining excitement in our brands through new packaging and graphics, natural colours and flavours.

A major difference between this recession and previous ones is the internet. Consumers are used to searching out low prices and expect to get great deals. This has restricted the ability of many manufacturers to make major price reductions. This is not an issue for confectionery, but it has implications for the automotive and electrical goods markets.

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