According to critics, we should be in the midst of a retail apocalypse. Whilst this has been exacerbated by the current pandemic, we have long been dealing with a widespread rumour that retail is dead. Or more specifically, that the act of physical shopping has become uninteresting to the modern consumer.
Yet, despite countless articles focusing on this ‘death of retail’, we at HRG find the headlines far too simplistic.
We do not doubt that the current format of many physical stores and e-commerce platforms are insufficient for long-term survival. However, the referral to a death is far from true. The threat is not to the store, it is to the brands who refuse to align their strategies with current consumer demand.
These demands change at the will of the consumer and the modern economy, but they will continue to be strongly rooted in brand humanity as we move forwards.
More than a passing trend, brand humanity is the basis for how consumers differentiate between good and bad; or more importantly, yes or no. The ‘good’ brands and retailers are those who demonstrate a sense of humanity, a biological approach to understanding not only the consumer, but the human. Appreciating our physical, financial and emotional health, these brands have earned themselves approval from the masses. Likewise, any retailer deemed to be ignorant of our needs or desires will be placed into the ‘bad’ column, a placement which is difficult to overcome.
These past few months have furthered this concept that brand humanity and emotional connections are the path to success for many. When Ben & Jerrys highlighted their support of the BLM movement or when Sainsburys opened their doors early to key workers during COVID-19, we found ourselves becoming emotionally invested in these brands and retailers. Similarly, we were horrified by any company that presented ignorance or disdain for environmental and individual well-being.
A study by Forrester reinforces our statement on brand humanity, highlighting that ‘Brands perceived as human enjoy a 20-percentage-point advantage in how likely consumers are to recommend them…’
We echo this statement and discuss our thoughts on brand humanity in our latest whitepaper. We explore the ways in which a human-centric approach has fortified strategies, tackling loyalty, purpose and authenticity.
Have you considered just how human your strategy is?
Download HRG’s Brand Humanity Whitepaper here.