How can brands of mass consumption win back the trust of consumers? Should they capitalize on their original purpose? At Logic Design’s, we are convinced that the consumers’ new expectations represent an opportunity for brands to reinvent themselves by capitalizing on their cornerstones in order to innovate.
Engage conversation with the consumers
We have gone through an era of top/down communication up to an era of conversation. The horizontality that characterizes the new relationship between consumers and brands implies for the latter to reinvent the way they communicate.
Social media is one way to do so. They redefine the rules of corporate communication by creating proximity through the use of the same channels and the same codes as the consumers and by offering a new way to talk about themselves according to their moods and daily adventures.
However, digital is only one way among others. Evian, for example, has engaged conversation with their consumers through the packaging of their range of fruity water: when the emblematic mountain becomes a mountain of fruit, the consumers identify the brand they know but the signs are renewed in a playful way.
Offer an experience
The new conversational mode of communication leads to a more personalized and individualized relationship: the consumer wants to be at the center of all attentions. This trend causes a “demassification” of mass consumption and generates real opportunities for smaller actors. Beyond the codes, products and services, the brand, to renew itself, must create an experience. Seduction is based on the scenography and the added value becomes the moment that the brand manages to create.
That is where uncertainty lies for major brands. The leeway they have in reinventing their key offers is limited. How then can they show their empathy and their understanding of the time? How then can they prove the consumers have been heard? To meet the expectations of those new consumers, the brand must adopt a more dynamic and creative stance. The founding base can then be fueled by alternative offers. Coca Cola’s limited editions in co-branding with designers and stylists allow the legendary brand to renew itself without becoming irrelevant nor undermining its original rationale.
Have a vision
At Logic Design’s, the brand’s rationale is a proteiform concept that can be found in the product, the service, the packaging, the price, the contact point and the communication. That is what brand leadership is about.
What made it possible for the leader in delicatessen to become the leader in vegetarian food in one year? Herta has managed to reassure the consumers by giving massive access to products until then confidential and out of reach, financially as well as psychologically. The brand has managed to create a trusting relationship and represents such a quality reference that it can expand into new markets without fear: from cookies to salted tarts, from ham to vegetarian food…
Service is the brand’s added value. Who would still make quiches without ready-made tart dough? Herta gives access, with its products as well as its pricing. Thanks to its capital of trust and to the total control of its founding base (“Let’s not miss simple things”), the brand can expand beyond its original territory while remaining a key player in every new market they invest in.
What is most important is to have a clear idea of the brand: a path is drawn and all the actions go in the same direction. The ideal is not always attained but the important thing is to show the intention and the improvement process in progress. For instance, it was impossible for Innocent to use 100% recycled plastic for their bottles (50% in 2017) but they tend to that goal and explain the process to their customers in all transparency. Likewise, the containers Herta are made with 20% of recycled plastic and, with pictograms on the packs, the brand encourages the consumers to sort waste. These brands have not attained their goal yet but they do not lose sight of their longterm goal.
Inform and reassure
If consumers expect quality, security, durability, environmental considerations and fair pricing, they are mostly counting on a commitment from the brand to always better meet their demands.
One risk in a million could seem acceptable, but for a big brand it is out of question. Bear in mind that Herta records one million acts of purchase a day! Beyond a sales discourse and the products or services quality, a real commitment is expected from brands.
Therefore, they have to widen their traditional expression territories in order to create a real relationship with their customers, inform them and reassure them. Pictograms flourish on packs, visits of factories are organised, labels and certifications multiply. The brands’ discourse goes beyond the product to become a narrative with a social commitment embodied in acts.
La Famille Michaud, for instance, has created a foundation to develop their relations with beekeepers, to dialogue with public authorities, to connect all the stakeholders in the honey sector. In doing so, the brand becomes a major actor of the field, with its products, but also with its intervention in society. This social interest is a sign of commitment and as such, of quality for consumers.
Innovation at the service of brands development
More than by narratives, corporate communication is built by acts. A brand’s ability to show empathy and meet consumers’ needs and preoccupations by detecting weak signals is a condition for survival in times of crisis. But a willingness to take action is also required! McDonald’s has reinvented its offer, retail spaces, consumer experience in France and that is how the brand has continued. The driver of innovation must be an accurate understanding of consumers translated into acts that is fit with the corporate discourse.
Wouldn’t innovation be the ultimate communication act? Whether it concerns the product, the service, the offer, or the packaging, it is a significant act, a statement on where the brand stands, a firm intention of consistency and a sign of respect for consumers.
Brands are required to always reinvent themselves and this reinvention must be based on a solid core. It is mandatory for them to know and control their founding base to build a vision that is clearly identifiable through encapsulated signs.
In order to find a balance between constant renewal and sustainability, brands have to consider their core rationales as a powerful driver. Enhancing a brand is knowing how to use its founding base as the start of new stories.
Jérôme Lanoy, CEO Logic Design
Juliette Raynaud, Communications consultant