'Paying it Forward' in tough times

Charlotte Hurd


A recent survey by Reach has shown that nearly 60% of consumers would demand or expect support from brands to get through tough economic times whilst 58% agreed that brands should help customers through it. 

Andrew Tenzer, director of brand insight at Reach believes that the pandemic was a learning curve for brands as "we saw how advertisers got it wrong". This research is an opportunity to discover the touchpoints that brands in different categories can lean on to really offer their audiences accurate and supportive advertising tailored to what will resonate."

Realistically, for many brands ensuring the survival of their business will be the key priority over the hard winter months. Therefore, when it comes to helping consumers, it may seem like the last and most challenging thing on the to do list. 

However, even small gestures can let your customers know you are on their side. Look to The Kinder Shop for example, which opened in Carlisle in June 2022. The store sells a range of home items that can be paid for with 'kindness'. By volunteering at a local charity (a deckchair for example was priced at two hours of volunteering, whilst a BBQ, five hours). 

The initiative helped people who were perhaps struggling financially but also encouraged good deeds, banking hours of charity work. 

The Seanack project is another great example; the four-week campaign ran throughout August 2022 to raise awareness of ocean waste and coincided with the re-opening of beaches after lockdown in South Korea. A Seanack food truck was parked in four beach locations from which beach-goers could borrow cleaning tools and receive snacks in exchange for litter. 

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TOO Takeaways:

- The months ahead will be a really difficult time for both brands and consumers alike. Show kindness and consideration to your loyal customers and be smart when it comes to helping them in new and authentic ways. 

- These two brand examples show how a 'pay it forward' strategy can encourage action in tough times. There is opportunity to foster kindness and generosity outside of financial incentive so consider how you can translate your brand into something bigger than just product.  

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