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Consumer thinking has shifted on brand conversations, finds research

40% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that speaks about issues that matter to them, according to the latest research report from M&C Saatchi TALK. The study, The Art of Conservation,  focuses on shifting public perceptions of brands.

M&C Saatchi TALK surveyed 1,000 nationally representative consumers to unveil attitudes towards brands, and the characteristics of conversation that make a brand more shareable, memorable and trustworthy. 

Since March 2020, over half (52%) of all respondents say their attitudes towards brands have changed. At a pivotal time when brands are coming under increased scrutiny, audiences actively want them to speak on meaningful issues, and will share relevant conversations with those closest to them – family, friends, and colleagues. 

The research reveals the three most consistently important topics among consumers across nine sectors – climate change, sustainability, and health & wellness. Failure to embrace these conversations means brands risk customers going elsewhere. However, care and consideration of the diversity of audiences and their needs are required to connect with them genuinely and meaningfully.

Lawrence Christensen, Head of Marketing, Brands at Marks & Spencer, spoke with M&C Saatchi TALK for the report. He said: “If the conversation between a brand and a customer is authentic, and if that brand has something relevant and genuine to contribute, then I believe consumers are more likely to engage, purchase and to stay loyal.”

M&C Saatchi TALK’s report also highlights how the various dimensions of conversations can play a role at different stages in a customer journey. For example, looking at awareness, nearly two thirds (61%) of consumers say brand conversations that are ‘supportive’, ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘inclusive’ are more ‘shareable’.

Interestingly, the report also reveals that the most memorable conversations are often directly linked to humour, with 25% of consumers citing ‘funny’ as the top attribute. At a time when consumers are craving laughter, humour can be a powerful tool in driving brand consideration when used in the right way.

Alex Michael, Head of Growth at M&C Saatchi TALK, said: “It’s really important for brands to have clarity on their own values and mission. Consumer truths can’t be turned into cultural conversations without these brand truths to back them up. Conversations are the conduit through which these values and truths are shared and connected with consumers, with communities, and with the world. Meaningful brand conversations are no longer just a ‘nice to have’; they now have a direct impact on consumer purchasing decisions.”

You can access M&C Saatchi TALK’s Art of Conversation report here. 

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