The Brand Existential Crisis

Who are you, what do you do, and how do you do it?

May 6, 2022

Arash Asady

Activism and consumerism have formed an unlikely partnership, shifting purchasing behaviors and changing brand attitudes over the past years. When 62% of customers value companies that take a stand on current issues, such as sustainability and fair work conditions, it reflects the way these two ideas interact. Brands have acquired a quasi-human persona which directly correlates to the values their consumers cherish. This is a huge opportunity for both companies and people to work together to satisfy their needs and wishes while addressing larger societal issues that impact everyday lives. In other words, we are in an age of the purpose-built branding.

This comes as a challenge to many brands, as it not only sets a bar on the products they sell and how they advertise, but also on the production processes and boardroom decisions. With over 94% of people vouching to a brand in return for transparency, it is one of the most important factors for customer loyalty. In addition, Millennials’ obsession with self-improvement affects their relationship with companies, as they expect their favorite brands to continuously become a better version of themselves. This requires brands to change the way they conduct business, establishing more efficient processes and becoming more agile. It is no longer just about what brands do, but also how they do it.

Brands have some homework to do when it comes to defining their purpose. They must take an introspective approach when seeking out their values and purpose, asking themselves difficult questions in order to capture opportunities to appeal to Millennials. This, however, can be the determining factor in defining a brand in a highly saturated market. When brands ask themselves “What role they want to have in the lives of their consumers?” “What challenge they are addressing?” “How this affects the world at large?”. The connection they can create with customers becomes stronger, and thus more permanent.

However, brands do not need to do this alone. Loyal consumers are engaged consumers, therefore by letting them develop ideas and solutions not only can brands align their purpose with what Millennials actually want, but it also makes them come back. As brands find their purpose, they need to allow customers to be part of the process. Engagement is the biggest asset for brands, as Millennials want to be part of the process of improving themselves, their favorite brands, and society as a whole.

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