Customer loyalty and your brand in post referendum Britain.
The way in which consumers make decisions has never been more vital to understand. Smart brands will protect and reassure their loyal customers and recruit new customers from competitors who have been caught napping.
It’s all about climbing inside the mind of the consumer and understanding how post referendum Britain may be affecting them.
For decades now, consumer psychology research has been spelling out the ways decisions and attitudes are formulated and acted upon.
Right now, the four key areas we recommend that all brands examine in a post-referendum light are:
Brand Laziness • Brand Loyalty • Variety Seeking • Problem Solving
Some consumer psychologists refer to consumers as ‘cognitive misers’, in that they hardly ever consider all of the rational claims and arguments surrounding brand choice and just go with the flow.
This is understandable when consumer’s minds are in a state of normal flow. Not so reliable when all that we thought was stable is being shaken and questioned and Britain is evolving and changing into something new.
Do your Brand Lazy customers need reassurance from you? Are you a safe harbor and a security blanket to the past? Or maybe your brand will get swept up in the turmoil, as old beliefs and loyalties are ejected and new ideas and attitudes are formed and explored.
Build Brand Loyalty
Evidence from Evolutionary psychology suggests that brand loyalty has its roots in a hardwired need our brains have to belong to and stand for something. It was always an evolutionary advantage to belong to a group, tribe, village, town, city or country. The need to belong is hardwired into our brains. So brand loyalty involves an intrinsic commitment to a brand in our day-to-day lives. Until that point where the village looks like it may be changing and new alliances need to be formed.
The cognitive disruption of the last week opens up massive questions around affiliations and loyalties on a truly major scale. The idea of who we are as a nation and therefore as individuals is being reassessed. Smart brands understand this and will move to protect their loyal customers. Challenger brands will be planning raiding-parties into the next village.
We all like a bit of variety I’m sure. But we usually like it when we decide the time and place is right.
Variety seeking has generated considerable attention from consumer psychologists. With two important types of variety seeking behaviors being identified – Derived Varied Behaviour and Intrinsic Variety Seeking.
Derived Varied Behaviour is brand switching that is either Externally Imposed or Extrinsically Motivated. Crucially, in both cases, variety itself isn’t necessarily the goal, but is the by-product of other constraints. Such as the previous brand becoming unavailable or harder to procure. This imposed switching behaviour is something you should possibly be considering, especially with what is perceived to be happening in the UK today.
Intrinsic Variety Seeking is the pleasure derived in seeking and trying variety. Research shows that consumers will switch from their preferred brand to try new ones, even when they are happy with their existing brand. More importantly, they will make these switches even when the new trial brands are likely to deliver a lower amount of enjoyment or satisfaction.
So consumers would appear to forego what they know about brand satisfaction in favour of a new experience and to pursue variety and change just for the sake of it. It would appear that we actually secretly enjoy change!
And when change is everywhere, it’s easier to make small purchase decision changes too. They just seem to fit the zeitgeist.
The question that this kind of research asks of brands is –
If the world ever stood on its head, are you ready and able to exploit the Festival of Opportunity that would be taking place?
Before last week we would have talked exclusively around this type of decision being confined to the realms of certain products or services. Those requiring high levels of information processing and decision making time. Typically being unfamiliar expensive products that are purchased infrequently, such as a house, car, holiday or healthcare.
In the last week we decided upon our future in the EU and we will be making internal opinions and attitudes on what Brexit may now look like. We will also be considering the massive implications of the impact on the economy, the leadership of the major political parties, the future of the UK and Gibraltar and our place and personality in a new Europe and World.
This massive amount of complex problem solving will be occurring in the mind of your consumers. It’s a time of massive inconsistencies in thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.
Psychologists refer to this kind of disruption as Cognitive Dissonance and on this scale it can’t fail to include all sorts of attitudes and loyalties regarding how we live, shop, and consume, as the UK make sense of what’s going on and finds new outcomes and strategies to the uncertain and turbulent times.
Everything from brand loyalty to mass customer acquisition is on the table, as this uncertainty drifts over the next few months. So make sure your brand has a seat at the banquet. BUT above all make sure you are sitting next to a consumer psychologist.