India identified as one of the most optimistic countries in APAC, with 53.3% consumers showing overwhelming optimism towards country’s economic growth.
Havas Group India unveiled the results of its far-reaching, proprietary global study Meaningful Brands® 2020: COVID edition that lists down the steps brands can take to further their meaningful connection with consumers in the post lockdown world. The 2020 COVID edition of the study was conducted across 5 markets – India, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines & South Korea, with a total sample size of 2,900 respondents (this is in addition to 13,000 respondents met in India and over 350,000 respondents worldwide during 2019 wave of Meaningful Brands study). In India, the study focused on consumer expectations in the post lockdown scenario, how brands can deliver on those expectations by identifying 4 Meaningful Shifts & measuring meaningful criteria across 7 key categories.
The study identified 8 Meaningful Shifts across APAC, that can help brands close the expectation gap created due to the pandemic. In India, 4 of these shifts take top priority -
1. Sensory innovations to drive health & safety: Advanced, specific safety measures that the consumer can touch & feel, taken to account for the concerns arising due to the pandemic.
2. Being well - mentally & physically: Consumers expecting brands to take care of their physical & mental health, relax procedures to help them.
3. Skin in the game post crisis: Brand’s perspective & investment for greater good - help the economy/ category recover post crisis.
4. Transparency: Honesty in processes & an open dialogue with consumers.
Key findings from the study:
#1. India is one of the most optimistic countries in APAC
Contrary to the anticipated mass mindset, 53.3% consumers in India (Versus APAC average of 39%) show an overwhelming optimism towards country’s economic growth in the future, one of the highest in the APAC. Many consumers believe that the future is optimistic, and the slowdown due to Covid-19 is temporary.
#2. Rising optimism is getting translated into rising expectation
Consumers are giving the highest weightage to the collective benefits (34.5%) that brands have to offer vs Functional and Personal benefits. Optimistic consumers are harder to please and this optimism is getting translated into consumers’ expectation from brands to operate highly on emotional benefits. However, brands have not kept pace in meeting these expectations or becoming meaningful enough to delight consumers and build loyalty.
#3. More responsibility in the time of crisis
Consumers are giving higher weightage to responsibility during this time of crisis. 59% of the consumers have started to use brands’ relationship with their employees as an evaluation parameter. Consumers want to see brands taking tangible actions to ensure the overall good and well-being of the country and the economy. They want brands to use their strengths to solve issues (created by Covid) even post crisis.
#4. Brands to innovate for health & safety
Consumers are expecting brands to innovate with core focus on their health & safety. 61% of the consumers expect brand innovations that enable them to stay healthy or ensure their safety. They expect these innovations to be tactile and practical. Essentially, things that they can see, touch and feel in all aspects of the brand experiences.
#5. Transparency & honesty at an all-time high
58% of the consumers want brands to become more transparent & honest about their processes and products. Consumers expect nothing less than the highest standards of the safety & hygiene from the brands in the time of Covid-19. They want brands to reassure and ignite confidence in them regarding the safety standards they follow by being transparent and honest.
In addition to the above findings, the study also reveals that consumers expect brands to act like experts, be more empathetic and contribute towards their mental & emotional well-being; 52% of the consumers are even ready to go vocal for local as their faith for local brands have been reinstated.
The findings have been further distilled into opportunity areas by capturing shifts in each of the seven categories - Automobiles, Consumer Durables, FMCG, eCommerce, Beauty & Wellness, Retail and Telco.
Automotive: 42% of the consumers believe that the role of automobile in handling daily chores has increased post-pandemic.
Consumer Durables: 64% consumers show intention to purchase a new product that offers to help them enhance their health & safety and 61% expect brands to play a more active role in helping them learn new skills that would help them to deal with the new normal.
FMCG: 44% consumers expect brands to provide ways to manage household chores better; 42% want ideas from brands that help them entertain themselves.
eCommerce: 54% consumers expect brands to show commitment towards helping the country wade through the crisis; 52% consumers expect brands to support those who were made redundant during the crisis.
Beauty & Wellness: 60% consumers expect to see brands introducing new products that help them stay safe and healthy; 50% want enhanced safety and hygiene standards from the brands.
Retail: 59% consumers expect brands to show the protective measures they have taken considering the pandemic.
Telco: 58% consumers expect brands to ensure that they stay connected with their friends and family; 60% want enhanced customer service capable of handling queries in the new normal.
Commenting on the study, Neeraj Bassi, chief strategy officer, Havas Group India said: “Meaningful Brands by Havas Group is the first global framework that not only connects brands with human well-being but also ensures business returns. This proprietary study giving us a depth of understanding of meaningful journey of brands across the globe. The India edition attempts to find the recalibration of expectation due to lockdown and how can brands navigate the new normal to stay meaningful to their franchise. The true differentiator of this COVID edition is actionability. The study measured meaningful criteria across 7 key categories in India – Automobiles, Consumer Durables, FMCG, eCommerce, Beauty & Wellness, Retail and Telco and identified 4 Meaningful Shifts that can help brands close the expectation gap created due to the pandemic. We hope brands leverage these shifts and move forward on their meaningful journey.”