The Covid-19 pandemic fundamentally altered how brands and businesses establish trust with the public. This applies to e-commerce stores, affiliates, mom-and-pop shops, and more!
Given the severity of the health crisis, we’ve seen an understandable shift where consumers are choosing companies that demonstrate empathy, customer safety, and tangible value. These stand in contrast to the traditional factors people cared about, such as cost-effectiveness and the strength of endorsements.
Although building human connections has always been important in customer experience models, recent years have shown brands looking increasingly to personalised marketing as their primary approach to build engagement and loyalty.
In the wake of the pandemic, the rules for marketing have changed. If you want your business building trust after Covid-19, you’ll need to treat human beings as the target audience. Here’s why!
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What Is “Human-Centric” Marketing?
Data shows a new trend of consumers looking to human-centric marketing as a fundamental expectation for businesses.
In a March 2020 study conducted by Richard Edelman, as many as 71% of survey respondents claimed that “if they perceive that a brand is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that brand forever.”
(Image: Marketing Charts)
Although 2022 has posed many fresh financial challenges for consumers in the wake of record levels of inflation on a global scale and a subsequent cost of living crisis, we can see that perceptions towards brands have remained largely human-centric. Factors such as transparency, shared values, sustainability, and ethics all rank highly as consumer considerations today.
So how can businesses adapt their marketing strategies to cater to post-pandemic consumers who demand empathy and trust? Let’s take a deeper look at how the Covid-19 outbreak has transformed the way brands market themselves in the age of the ‘new normal.’
Consumers Demand Value-Driven Brands
According to Dr. Manto Gotsi, the pandemic has provided consumers with an opportunity to rethink our values, while the extensive lockdown events throughout the world allowed audiences the time to get familiar with the morals of their favourite brands.
“I think the pandemic has been like a midlife crisis for us all. It has brought to the surface all the anxiety that we had before, but our pace of life didn’t allow us to deal with,” noted Dr. Gotsi, a senior lecturer in the Department of Management at Birbeck, University of London.
“As consumers, it has also handed us the time to research and learn about the brands we interact with. Before Covid-19, people might not even have heard of Jeff Bezos. Now, they can tell you five facts about him, how Amazon treats its employees, and the challenges in global supply chain. Consumers are becoming experts and they’re sharing what they learn with their friends and family.”
Dr. Benedetta Crisafulli, a senior lecturer in marketing teaching in the areas of consumer behaviour and customer experience at Birbeck, echoed this sentiment.
“Responsible marketing and social innovations have long been considered a marketing fad by consumers – these have been associated with big statements and overpromising slogans,” Dr. Crisafulli added.
“But we, as consumers, now have access to so much information; that makes us more sceptical of, but equally capable of detecting anything that’s not genuine.”
Access to a wealth of information has helped to make brands more discoverable and accessible than ever before online, but it has also shone a spotlight into any perceived malpractice, too.
The pandemic has paved the way for a new era of hardship for countless people around the world. For those who weren’t directly impacted by the health crisis, the years that followed have been punctuated by steep financial instability – even in 2022, many nations are coming to terms with a deep upcoming recession.
With this in mind, businesses must work to understand what people are going through, and how they can sympathise with this throughout their marketing.
How to Build Consumer Trust
There are plenty of ways in which businesses can adapt their marketing strategies to build more consumer value. One popular approach for companies is to showcase their sustainability commitments within their marketing, or to declare support to worthy causes.
According to Trivium Packaging’s 2022 Global Buying Green Report, 77% of consumers have stated that they’re happy to pay more money for sustainable packaging.
One example of a company that’s repeatedly managed to go viral as a result of its strong value-driven stance on ethical matters is that of Ben and Jerry’s UK social media team. The ice cream company has repeatedly been vocal on matters of immigration and has received generally favourable responses from those who engage in their social media campaigns.
Reimagine Social Media Marketing
The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated just how quickly audience sentiment can change on social media. In 2020, as priorities quickly changed amidst the health crisis, CMOs increasingly considered the ‘ability to pivot as new priorities emerge’ a top skill for marketing talent!
When it comes to matters of social media, brands need to be fully agile in order to continue reaching the right audience at the right time. CMOs must work to guarantee that talent, processes, and agency partners are all fit to respond to and capitalise on a quickly changing landscape.
The businesses that are quick to re-evaluate their social media strategies within a rapidly changing landscape will be most resilient to risk factors, while leveraging the best possible opportunity to continue building value with consumers.
Embracing Digital Transformation
Just as consumer expectations for brands have fundamentally altered in the wake of the pandemic, so too have many businesses’ respective approaches to digital transformation.
Digital transformation measures have accelerated in the wake of Covid-19, and this has paved the way for greater consumer expectations and competition online.
In the age of the new normal, it’s not enough for marketers to simply build a presence online – it’s essential to have the right tools to create an unmissable user experience! With this in mind, there’s a growing popularity of Django for web developers in building an on-demand delivery platform. This has become a key tool for businesses looking to engage with their audience on a deeper level.
Although Django’s web framework, which has become widely popular for browser and smartphone-based applications, sits in the shadow of React.js, the tool is becoming an increasingly essential programming language.
Significantly, Django has become a vital tool for social media networks, government websites, on-demand delivery platforms, and online learning marketplaces. The language makes it easy to create booking engines, CMS for both internal and external use, comprehensive CRM systems, and communication platforms, as well as many other use cases. The framework also supports algorithm-based generators, emailing, filtering systems, machine learning applications, data analysis, complex calculations, and verification systems.
Essentially, Django stands as an example of how your business can build a more value-adding experience for customers who interact with your marketing campaigns, and through Django development services, it’s possible for decision makers to build loyalty schemes or wholly interactive campaigns that can generate trust among existing customers.
Some of the world’s largest interactive platforms like Instagram, Spotify, Pinterest and Disqus are all built on Django’s framework, and as customers have been found to crave more than traditional marketing in the wake of the pandemic, adopting the framework to build more engaging pages for leads to land on can pay dividends in the age of the new normal.
Life in the wake of Covid-19 has been unpredictable for businesses and consumers alike. Now, as we face up to 2022’s fresh challenges, it’s clear that the most successful online companies are the ones with the adaptability and values-driven approach wins customers and loyalty.
Although tomorrow will also be difficult to predict, agile marketing teams that have deeply researched the values of their target audience will be best placed to outmanoeuvre their rivals long into the future!