People remember how companies behave, particularly in times of economic and social crisis. In a society that demands more from companies, adapting brands to deliver relevance at scale isn’t just a good idea–it’s essential for future competitive advantage.
This means creating connections between brand, consumer and the wider community. And, when possible, it means developing collaborative new business ecosystems that bring together shoppers, special interest groups and other companies (often across multiple industries) to help solve society’s more challenging problems.
Brand response to the global pandemic has been inspiring to say the least. Many companies have manifested and reinforced commitment to brand purpose and sustainability through acts of philanthropy, education and restructuring. With global issues still very much at the forefront, expect to see even greater prioritization of purpose and sustainability as a strategic imperative, with purpose-driven brands elevating efforts to become “movement-driven” organizations.
In this new model, brand relationships will evolve from “direct-to,” to “direct-with,” with purpose becoming increasingly democratized and inclusive. Social media, interactive content and direct channels will serve to create communities of consumers united by a common purpose and action. Track-and-trace solutions, including blockchain and smart packaging, will provide consumers with greater transparency, reassurance and empowerment over purchase decisions. Also expect to see a greater emphasis on co-creation and consumer collaboration, with AI-enabled technology allowing customized connections that alert shoppers of their individual contribution–increasing one’s sense of identity, impact and empowerment.