Why big brands still matter to consumers – Retailing Africa


by Jonathan Hurvitz. Consumer attitudes, preferences, and behaviour have changed irrevocably. Ask any brand, retailer, or consumer-facing business, and they will confirm that they are rethinking their offerings and strategies to align with today’s purchasing trends. Madonna’s self- and material-obsessed “Material Girl” of the late 1980s is gone. And a new generation of aware and ‘woke’ consumers are looking for more than the accumulation of stuff that they neither need nor want and in many cases, can’t actually afford.

Today’s consumers are discerning, looking for value for money, certainly; but they are also looking to pledge their loyalty to brands with which they can identify, whose message resonates with them, and is about more than simply making money for shareholders. They want to share in the journey of companies and brands who seek profit with purpose and who do not exploit their customers, the environment, or their workforce.

Products must look good, feel good and DO good

Brand identity matters. Without an authentic identity, there is no brand loyalty. Even white label ‘no name’ brands are brands in their own right and have a place on our retailers’ shelves. The most cost-conscious consumer purchasing the most basic of household necessities such as detergent still has a choice. Perhaps surprisingly, these customers are often prepared to pay a premium for a brand they trust. They cannot afford to take a chance on a new and possibly cheaper product in case it doesn’t deliver the same results for which they rely on their regular brand. That would be money squandered.

This is one of the benefits of a well-known brand – not only will it do the job, but it is also an expression of who we are or who we want to be. Brands can be aspirational, and so, along with the authenticity of the brand custodian, consumers want functionality and aesthetic combined. A product must do good, look good, and feel (or taste) good.

It doesn’t matter if we are in the market to buy, borrow or rent a product. The consumer principle, brand awareness, and loyalty remain the same. Modern consumers don’t compromise brand standards because they aren’t purchasing something outright. How the item is acquired is irrelevant. It must meet the same criteria whether the consumer is spending their hard-earned cash on ownership, or on a subscription or rent-to-own model. The item will have the same usage in either scenario.

The subscription model advocates for access over ownership. Clients enter their subscription agreements looking for exactly the same customer satisfaction as any other brand-conscious consumer. Rental or subscription is far from being a compromise; in these times of economic constraint, it is simply a clever choice to acquire goods in a different way from a straightforward purchase.

Reliability is crucial

Successful players in the subscription economy meet today’s customer needs by recognising the importance of stocking brands on which we can all rely. As the industry leader in the rent-to-own sector, Teljoy prides itself on our reputation of maintaining and servicing an item throughout the duration of the subscription contract and are therefore keenly aware of how much reliable and authentic brand names matter.

Customers know what it is they want from a supplier and from the products they choose, and so brands matter to them, too. Whether it is for a top kitchen appliance or a bed in which they will sleep soundly, free from the stresses caused by overspending, subscription frees up valuable funds that can be diverted to other priorities.

Brand loyalty still prevails in a tough economy

Adding value to customer experiences must be the focus of evolving, dynamic business strategies. The success of subscription-based businesses relies heavily on mutually beneficial partnerships with brands that bring consistent and relevant value. Research has shown that brand loyalty prevails even in the harshest of economic climates. Diverting from a known brand to make a cheaper choice has been found, time and again, to be a false economy. The ‘new’ brand doesn’t work, it doesn’t suit or fit our lifestyle and it doesn’t give us peace of mind.

In today’s troubled times, peace of mind is important. And that is why authentic, reliable, trustworthy brands that look, feel, and do good, and that speak to consumers in a language they understand, will be around forever.

 

Main image credit: Pixabay.com.

 

Jonathan Hurvitz is the Group CEO of online retailer Teljoy and a registered Chartered Accountant in South Africa.

 

 

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