TOTEM Branding’s purpose is to create or transform brands that unite people. In an increasingly divided society, connections matter more than ever and people want brands to lead the way. And with the TOTEM team, we approach the challenge with commitment and responsibility.
We help brands take actions that drive “togetherness” in society and the world in ways that stay true to their own core values.
72% of consumers mention that governments and political leaders play an important role in dividing society; people have a much more favorable perspective when it comes to brands.
To address consumer demands, TOTEM brands have rethought the underlying drivers of loyalty and affinity for their brand.
That means they lead with purpose, generate new levels of trust and respect with customers, and create a more meaningful impact on the way they operate locally and globally.
Some companies are further reinforcing the need to generate social impact over shareholder value.
One of the things that has changed now is that they have to go far beyond CSR. They can’t just talk about it: their brand has to live it.
For consumers, that means creating a tangible impact.
Fifty-four percent say they want the brands they support to balance great product with powerful purpose and activism, and 53 percent want brands to address environmental issues both in local communities and globally.
Brands have a great opportunity to be part of the solution.
By leading with purpose and through attentive listening, engagement and courage, brands have the opportunity to create positive change and a lasting legacy.
Consumers like to support brands and companies that actively champion cultural and social causes that they also personally value, but those same consumers will abandon brands that take the opposite stance, or worse, go silent altogether.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers globally prefer to buy goods and services from companies that espouse a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs, and strive to divest from those that do not.
The study, From Me to We: The Rise of the Purpose-Led Brand, surveyed nearly 30,000 consumers around the world to gauge their expectations of today’s brands and companies and found that companies that stand for something bigger than what they sell are more likely to attract consumers and influence purchasing decisions, which improves competitiveness.
They communicate and live their purpose, demonstrate commitment in deeds.
Building relationships takes time.
Brands that shifted their strategic emphasis from transactions to relationships are doing very well.
By shifting the focus from revenue to relatability they are better equipped to interact with people on an emotional level and build meaningful connections.
To connect people with your brand, don’t ask what your audience can do for you: ask what you can do for your audience.
Employee and consumer expectations of brands are increasingly high.
Consumers expect brands to serve as connectors.
In fact, 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them, while half expect brands to unite people toward a common goal.
As brands increasingly embrace their changing role as prime connectors, they need to rethink and reorient their approach to marketing, customer experience, and social and environmental strategy.
As demand for connections strengthens, consumers are seeing brands in a new light.
Brands that emerge as leaders focus on building genuine relationships among their employees and among their consumers, moving away from an emphasis on selling and further differentiating themselves from the competition.
This does not mean that they do not sell; on the contrary, meaningful relationships result in better transactions.
The research reveals that 79% agree that brands are well positioned to connect people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs.
81% of consumers say brands can be good connectors because they offer products and services that appeal to a wide range of customers.
Brands have only just begun to realize the value of truly connecting with consumers.
Defining how to treat social networks as more than just a promotional channel is something that few have been able to do.
People believe that brands on social media can drive connections.
Why is this so hard for brands to understand?
Despite feelings of division, nine out of ten consumers believe in the power of social networks to connect people.
In addition, eight out of ten consumers want brands to use social media to help people connect with each other.
Time has shown us that social media is the number one channel for brands to connect with consumers.
And consumers confirm this.
Investing in consumer relationships directly impacts business revenue and strengthens customer loyalty.
When customers feel connected to brands, more than half of consumers will increase their spending with that brand and 76% will buy from them rather than a competitor.
Real people are the key to authentic relationships. Consumers want to know more about the people behind their favorite brands.
The CEO cannot be in silenceo
Seventy percent of consumers say they feel more connected when a brand’s CEO is active on social media. CEO silence, silenceo, is not an option.
And the people on your team can’t choose silence either.
Knowing that 72% of consumers say they feel the same way when employees share information about a brand online.
Empowering them to also be the voice of the brand is valuable.
Why is that? Because employees are a brand’s best advocates.
While some brands turn to influencers to increase awareness, others look inward for new spokespeople.
Consumers enjoy seeing real people bringing a brand to life and report feeling more connected to brands whose employees act as advocates on social media.
Brands should consider implementing promotional strategies to encourage participation and simplify the sharing of approved content on employees’ personal profiles.
In addition to the above, people want brands to connect them with other people. And they don’t just mean those with similar mindsets.
Sixty-two percent believe that social networks can bring people of different backgrounds and beliefs together, and more than half expressed interest in connecting with people different from themselves.
People, not just products, will win over consumers.
Social media has made it easier than ever for brands to talk about their products and services to large groups of potential customers.
But consumers want more than product information; they also want to learn more about the people who make up their favorite brands.
To foster a genuine connection, brands must think beyond what they sell and consider the needs and wants of the people they sell to.
The key is to find a reason for consumers to want to interact with a brand on social media.
Brands can use their social platforms to generate awareness of important issues, invite people to join meaningful conversations, and even build communities that generate long-term connections both online and offline.
As social media returns to its original purpose of connecting the world, brands are forced to choose how they will use their social platforms.
Let’s remember that they are called social networks, not commercial networks.
Brand connections, whether for personal or corporate brands, attract customers.
Brand connections are not just for entrepreneurs and companies. Personal brand connections can even generate new employment opportunities for job seekers. All you need is a little effort to break down trust barriers and show people why you deserve to earn their attention.
Some brands will continue to do business as usual, while others will choose to leverage their platforms to pursue a purpose that goes beyond their bottom line.
But why should brands care?
When companies or brands are linked to a purpose, 80% of them outperformed the market, while only 32% of brands without a purpose did so.
Authentic commitment to the union is the key.
Employees and consumers want brands to step up. If they do, everyone will benefit.
Simply put, connection breeds loyalty, and sixty-four percent of consumers say their loyalty to a brand increases when they feel connected.
Connectedness also directly impacts a brand’s bottom line.
More than 75% of consumers say they would buy from a brand they feel connected to than from a competitor, and 57% say they are more likely to increase the amount they spend on a brand when they feel connected.
On the other hand, when consumers don’t feel connected to a brand, 70% are less likely to shop there than a competitor and nearly two-thirds will spend less at that business.
The challenge in marketing is to create broad cultural appeal to society in ways that are authentic to the role the brand plays in people’s lives.
Some marketers rightly wonder if they can represent their values without alienating people and creating more division.
Many brands have an ethos they truly believe in: values that make sense to many people, regardless of their background or ideology.
Building a brand community based on those beliefs, especially when behind those beliefs is a universal truth, is a proven way to unite people while creating groups large enough to be profitable for the brand.
For the TOTEM team, creating or transforming brands that unite people is a purpose we live every day.
And the more brands come together, not only do they generate higher rates of loyalty, turnover, profit, community, but above all they improve the lives of people, society and the planet.
Value or conscience-driven brands can bring together, but not only through advertising. Agencies must provide companies with ideas and strategies that go beyond traditional messaging, with experiential, social, cultural, technological and business model solutions to help address a social need and do good in society and the world.
Several brands we work with have adapted their essence and value proposition and made it work to enhance connections to and with consumers. And it’s working.
Brands are bringing people together, making the world a better place. And that’s no small feat.
Sources: data from Sprout Social, WE, Accenture and Kantar.