When prices go up, confidence goes down. Our audience becomes less and less sure about their financial prospects, which directly impacts feelings of safety and security. The knee-jerk reaction is to hold on tighter, save, and even hoard. A new prioritized interest of those you currently serve or potentially hoped to serve is to spend less. GfK's Consumer Confidence Index is down 25 points compared to last year. That's -5.41% from the previous month and -30.04% from one year ago.
Economic faith has been rattled. From food to fuel, expenses are growing, producing anxiety and halting spending. Fear is looming over the marketplace, creating a vicious cycle of price increases, a surge of thrifty spenders, businesses lagging—price increases, a surge of thrifty spenders, businesses lagging, and the beat goes on. The wheel of the economy slows, and this glacier pace impacts everything, and at times it can feel like our marketing hands are tied.
The truth is, marketers and communicators have more stake in the inflation game than we may think. No, we can't control how the pendulum sways, but we have so much power over the messages we share amidst murky climates. Think about it. Our usual directive is to tell our audience how much they lack and how limited their lives are without the products or services we provide them. Join our association to access all the tools and resources you need to improve your career or enrich your livelihood. Listen to this podcast. It'll make you smarter, provide insights that will change the way you think, and break you out of your small-mindedness. Purchase our program and lose weight in as little as 30 days because if you don't, well, you'll still be hanging on to those 15 pounds you hate. Buy the next generation of our phone or get stuck with yesterday's meager technology.
You get the picture.
Listen, this is not a marketing roast. We love marketing—obviously. We wouldn't be here if we didn't. However, we believe that as marketers and communicators, we are the brand's voice. We give our organizations life—brain, eyes, ears, and especially heart. We are responsible for humanizing the brand, and messaging is an extraordinary opportunity to do so. The everyday stories we share, the promotions we display, and the content used to keep our offerings front and center encompass the soul of the brand. When our audience's actions scream, "I am afraid," it's an invitation to position our brand as a relatable partner and friend versus the cold, corporate price gouging monster.
So, what's the opportunity here precisely?
When our audience has written an 'SOS' in the sand, what's the responsible and most human response we can help our organizations give? We reply by writing 'HOPE' in our sand.
We use our platforms to elicit a different emotion that allows our customers to break free from the tyranny of fear and despair. We encourage, we connect, and we offer some glimmer of light ahead.
Quick example. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, toilet paper sold faster than tickets for Beyonce's historic Coachella concert. People were going to war for this ordinary essential item. We watched for months as bath tissue became scarce, leaving holes along grocery store shelves. Eventually, companies like Charmin began to reassure us that they were working tirelessly to restock those empty racks. The toilet paper producer tried to uplift our spirits by boosting our confidence in the availability of its product. That was great, yes, but what if we added a step.
What if they inserted a message before the world had to begin playing hide and seek with toilet paper. Imagine a CEO of one of these companies sharing a statement via podcast, video, email, website, press release, etc., that spoke to the fear driving folks to go crazy for toilet paper. Something like:
"Hello. I am John Doe, CEO of Puffy Clouds Bath Tissue. I have been so impressed by how we all have adapted and managed the unexpected hitting our world. I couldn't be more flattered that you have sought and found comfort in our products. I want us to take refuge in that we are in this together, and there is no need to panic or fret. We will get through this because we have each other. If you would trust us to manufacture and produce your essentials and share with your fellow community the supply available, we'll promise this, 'To always be on the shelves when you need us.' This is our pledge, and this is our promise. Be well and be safe."
We can see a whole campaign embedded with parts and pieces of this message going viral, settling nerves and reducing the stress brought on not only by the pandemic but also by the fear of not having a product when you need it. Today, we need campaigns carrying messages intended to reduce the scare factor swirling in the air. Come on communicators of the 21st century. Let's rally to destroy the worry keeping our audience up at night. If we can quell their anxious thoughts, they come running.
So, what will you write in the sand?