wars, we are dealing with a consumer
who has been battered.”
In her findings, she noted 64% are
cutting spending because they do not
know what will happen next, and 75%
don’t want to shop for anything they
don’t really need. Trading down, avoiding malls and department stores, and
cutting back on products and services
are the Modus operandi across the
board. She cited a return to the “June
Cleaver era,” when more families
cooked meals at home, and expenditures on clothing, fragrance, and salon
services were cut. The big culture shift,
including the record numbers with
which consumers are flocking to the
internet for purchases, further supports the need to create products that
are able to tap into the values being
formed by customers.
“Give them more affordable choices.
Create emotional real estate around
your brands,” said Ms. Corlett.
The Ann Taylor Loft-Tide partnership, drives home the point that the
clothing is washable; while Juicy
Couture’s in-store hand massages, are
incentives that are bold, noticeable and
relevant, she explained.
“Be the solution and understand your
customer. Feel her pain and share her
values, and keep them integral to your
brands,” she concluded.
Engage the Consumer
Dr. Passikoff focused on building sustainable brands, which cannot be done
in the absence of emotional connection.
While creative packaging, visual
metaphors and celebrity fragrances
have all been important in terms of
emotional connection, the reliance on
borrowed equity is diminishing.
“The brand must stand for something
in the minds of the consumer. What’s
missing is engagement, how to reach
out and touch the consumer,” he added.
Providing statistical support for the
fusing of the emotional with the rational, Dr. Passikoff made a strong case for
the right balance to provide an
increased propensity to buy.
Citing a system of engagement metrics, he noted the importance of understanding the value of media engagement as it impacts retail results, and
insisted that combinations of experiential promotion, advertising, magazines,
word of mouth and the internet, “
support a strong correlation between the
communication of a brand’s equity and
actual purchases in the marketplace.
“Ultimately, marketers can fuse the
emotional and the rational to obtain
the strongest engagement,” he said.
While no one ventured a date for the
return of economic stabilization, Ms.
Manning concluded, “With true brand
engagement, perhaps we can get back
to brand building and strong customer