Consumers are looking for reassurance from brands: Kantar study

The study accentuates need for building trust through meaningful branding, to deal with constraints on disposable income and price sensitivity brought on by the pandemic

Shoppers in Pakistan are more price-sensitive than before and are increasingly moving towards online shopping. This finding is part of the first COVID-19 Barometer study from Kantar, recently presented during a webinar with the Pakistan Advertising Association (PAA).

The report aims to remind marketers that their target audiences are worried about their own and their loved one’s health, as well as the financial implications as job security becomes hazy. The question remains, what role will companies play to help consumers tackle these fears?

Kantar Pakistan Chief Client Officer Unaizah Ali said that it’s crucial for companies to look specifically at consumer shifts that have taken place since word of COVID-19 first appeared in newspapers as a distant reality. She said that the Pakistan government announced that the country would be in lockdown from March 22, 2020 and consumers have been facing the new normal since then.

“These are uncertain times, so we take comfort from the brands we’ve come to love and trust,” the report says. “As disposable income has been constrained and results in increased price sensitivity, brands need to focus on what makes their brand meaningfully different to better build trust and affinity.”

Contrary to the austerity measures taken by advertisers across Pakistan – as seen in this Profit survey – Kantar does not recommend that advertisers go dark. The research agency insists that advertisers need to ease anxiety by communicating more than before while investing in above-the-line media and compelling content. This perspective is backed by several BrandZ studies over the years which have proven that brands that advertise during times of uncertainty recover faster and grow more strongly once the crisis is over.

Kantar AME Chief Growth Officer Karin du Chenne said that this is a time where people are looking at businesses and brands to give them reassurance, adding that the COVID-19 Barometer study shows that levels of concern remain very high globally – even in China, where most of the crisis has already passed. She postulated that buyer behavior is likely to stay the same after the lockdown is lifted, with shoppers sticking to bargains and value packs.

“We’ve also seen an increase in omnichannel shopping, so people are expected to supplement their traditional store visits with online purchasing to try something new,” she said. “Brands would do well to consider new distribution channels and possible partnerships to bring their product or service to market in a safe new way.

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Babar Khan Javed
Babar Khan Javed
Babar Khan Javed covers the advertising industry and marketing function in Pakistan for Profit. He can be reached on [email protected] with details about media, creative, and digital briefs, future projects, management changes, client wins or losses, and everything in between.
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