MCCP TOP 12 INSIGHTS OF 2022 THAT WILL FRAME 2023:
As we come to the end of 2022, at MCCP we have taken the opportunity to reflect on the great work with our clients over the past 12 months.
This past year a lot has evolved in the current context, on the one hand, society reopened with the return to the office and commute as we learned to navigate a hybrid world whilst on the other, new uncertainties emerged with inflationary pressures and the energy crisis.
So, with this ever-evolving context in mind, what are the 12 MCCP insights of 2022 that will impact on 2023
FROM SECTORAL TO UNIVERSAL IMPACT
In our qualitative research over the pandemic, we saw a split in sentiment and attitudes to life in lockdown. On one hand, many industries were fortunate enough to still be able to work and did so from home, whereas on the other, many workplaces were closed for months on end leaving employees with no financial stability for months.
Fast forward to 2022 and despite society reopening the reality of the ‘new normal’ we were hoping for, consists of rising inflation, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. This is having a universal impact across all sectors and households, leading to consumer sentiment now tracking lower than during the pandemic at 45.3 in November 2022.
SO WHAT: DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT SEGMENTATION IN PLACE TO UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR CONSUMERS ARE BEING IMPACTED?
MORE SYSTEM 1 THAN SYSTEM 2
As society navigates inflationary pressures, decisions have become more system 2, using the rational and slow brain. Making nights out more planned and effortful as people are actively monitoring expenses and volume when socialising.
SO WHAT: THIS MEANS THAT BRANDS NEED TO HAVE REALLY INSIGHT LED SHARP VALUE PROPOSITIONS.
TRANSPARENCY DRIVES LOYALTY
As the cost-of-living crisis continues brands, particularly those in the food and beverage categories, are coming under pressure on how best to respond in the face of fluctuating markets and the rising cost of ingredients. Consideration must be given to how these responses are conveyed to the public. Our research shows that people are looking to brands for transparency, not only around issues such as sustainability, but also in how business decisions are made in this uncertain time. They appreciate brands that tell it like it is and explain to them the rational steps that lead to certain business decisions being made.
We see this trend reflected in research conducted by WARC where they found 94% of consumers said they are more likely to remain loyal to a brand that offers transparency, instead of painting an ‘always positive’ picture.
SO WHAT: PEOPLE EXPECT BRANDS TO BE TRANSPARENT IN EXCHANGE FOR THEIR COMMITMENT – DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT CONSUMER VALUE IN YOUR BRAND?
THE POWER OF SMALL AND SIMPLE
As people are forced to make tough decisions to cut back utilities and household expenses, they are finding joy and are reconnecting in the value of simple everyday things such as their cup of coffee, pastries, and pints on their night out to elevate occasions in a more affordable way.
SO WHAT: ARE YOU OFFERING EVERYDAY AFFORDABLE ENJOYMENT AT BRAND AND PRODUCT LEVEL - DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT INNOVATION STRATEGY IN PLAY?
REBOUND BUCKET LISTS
People are still in post-pandemic mode; they are having a re-discovery moment. Big trips abroad are back with people moving beyond a relaxing sun holiday to craving experiences where they can learn and broaden their horizons after two years of lockdown.
SO WHAT: DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW TO GET ON YOUR CUSTOMERS BUCKET LISTS?
PEOPLE OVER ZOOM
For two years people were hibernating indoors in a totally digital and isolated world, people are now re-learning how to value and appreciated relationships, they see the power of smaller and more intimate groups as they seek to re-connect and have deeper, more meaningful conversations.
SO WHAT: GIVING PEOPLE SOMETHING FUN TO CONNECT OVER IS MORE VALUABLE THAN ANOTHER DIGITAL EXPERIENCE – BRING BACK PEOPLE TO PEOPLE
FEAR OF GOING OUT
Many demographics have still not returned to their pre-Covid social calendars with many people noticing a difference in their social circles that either they themselves or their friends have become more introverted since the pandemic as they have forgotten how to be spontaneous and socialise over the past two years.
SO WHAT: UNDERSTAND CONSUMER’S PHOBIAS AND DRIVERS BEFORE YOU CONNECT WITH THEM
HEALTH IS MORE AND HEALTH IS EVERYTHING
For many, health increased in proximity over the pandemic, with the past two years being a catalyst for people across all demographics becoming more conscious of and proactively looking after their physical, mental, and emotional health. Gut and Digestive Health has seen growth in awareness since the pandemic, as society becomes more informed to the important role the gut plays in their health, there is an expectation for functional ingredients in food and beverages such as sources of protein and vitamins to be included as health benefits in everyday meals. Mental health is now a key priority as part of our holistic health management.
SO WHAT: DON’T JUST JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON, BE CLEAR ON WHICH HEALTH BENEFIT YOU CAN HELP CONSUMERS WITH
PREMIUM IS BEING SCRUTINISED FOR WHAT IS REALLY MEANS
In 2021 we witnessed strong backlash against many influencers on social media – and it wasn’t just the ones flouting pandemic travel restrictions to hide out in Dubai, people pushed back against the often unrealistic and unattainable lifestyle many influencers portrayed. This need for authenticity continued into 2022, extending not only from influencers but to brands too. Premium and luxury brands that have traditionally traded of well-worn tropes such as success, affluence and exclusivity have now found themselves scrambling to redefine what premium really means as authenticity becomes increasingly important to people.
SO WHAT: HAVE A CLEAR PREMIUM PROPOSITION THAT YOU CAN STAND OVER AND THAT MEANS SOMETHING
ENSURE YOU HAVE ADDRESSED SUSTAINABILITY WITH BENEFITS NOT COMPROMISES
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important aspect in consumerism. People want to do the right thing and are looking to brands and organisations (such as NGO’s and Government) to make it easy for them to do good, yet nearly all sustainable behaviours are framed as a compromise: don’t eat meat, don’t drive as much, don’t fly as much, don’t buy from fast fashion, keep the thermostat low at home – the list goes on. The challenge is that most of these sustainable behaviours impact some of our most visceral human needs - e.g., Maslow’s basic physiological and safety needs. When these solutions are presented as compromise to people, the risk of triggering loss-aversion increases, which we know can lead to inertia. If brands are going to help by making ‘doing the right thing easy’ then this must extend to making it psychologically easier for people to engage with these new behaviours by avoiding framing these interventions as a compromise.
SO WHAT: SOLVE THE WORLD BY SOLVING FOR THE INDIVIDUAL
People are opening up and discussing topics that were previously seen as taboo. Driven by a desire for social equality and a greater awareness of mental health – conversations on topics such as period poverty, menopause, suicide, and depression are becoming more common in our society. Recent government campaigns (for mental health and menopause) have helped reinforce the notion that people now have permission to talk openly about important personal topics and not brush them under the carpet.
SO WHAT? CAN YOU BRAND HAVE A LEGITIMATE ROLE TO HELP SHAPE A MORE EQUAL SOCIETY FREE FROM TABOOS
UNCERTAINTY CAN DRIVE DISTRUST
From our MCCP research, Millennials and in particular Gen Z, feel that they have been let down from governments and institutions as they have had a short-term view of the world and feel that there is a lack of consideration for their futures. This has heightened in the past two years following the pandemic, the housing crisis, and the acceleration of the climate crisis globally. As a result, they are rejecting the current political status quo due to a breakdown of trust and fuelled uncertainty which in turn is driving this cohort to look outside of the political mainstream and take matters into their own hands (activism).
Behavioural Scientist Rory Sutherland speaks to the importance of providing certainty when he discusses what we he views as the most effective intervention Transport for London implemented to increase customer satisfaction (an indicator of trust) on the London Underground. This was to install real-time boards on platforms showing travellers when the next train would arrive exactly. Its success was attributed to the removal of uncertainty - something humans are inherently uncomfortable with. When interventions like this are executed successfully uncertainty decreases and trust increases. When those interventions fail however, the reverse happens resulting in the erosion of the relationship between both parties.
SO BRAND: BRANDS CREATE TRUST – SO CAN YOU HELP SOLVE FOR THE DISTRUST GAP
2022 was a great year full of exciting projects at MCCP and we would like to thank all of our clients and partners for these great collaborations this year!
We would love to chat you through some of these and more, plus to share some upcoming briefs on research, brand and comms strategy, innovation. Lets discuss these over a cuppa in January, we look forward to meeting you.
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