How pandemic and cultural pressures impact consumer connection to brands

by | Jun 23, 2022 | Marketing, Public Relations

New research from integrated ad agency Arnold Worldwide offers marketing insights for understanding brand equity and the ever-changing factors that drive universal and personal connections with consumers.

For its latest BrandUP report, the firm researched 291 brands across 35 different categories, ranging from financial services and tourism to restaurants and automotive, and benchmarked the findings against data from the inaugural study. The study also took a deep dive into brand connections with younger and older audiences, as well as Hispanic and Black consumers.

“BrandUP is unique in that it not only assesses overall brand health, but also dissects cultural cache and personal attachment to identify the key drivers of momentum,” said Bre Rosetti, chief strategy officer of Arnold Worldwide, in a news release. “This study is a valuable resource for marketers who want to better understand their brand’s specific and prescriptive levers for growth relative to their competition.”

Outcomes from the research showed that the most successful brands have both a universal, and personal connection to their audience. Among others, the study revealed various insights on the success of discount store’s during the pandemic, correlations between diversity and consumer confidence and the power of brand reliability.

In addition, the research presents key learnings on brand and category momentum, as well as the underlying reasons for any increase or decrease in growth. Top themes include:

A renewed demand for convenience and savings

Rising inflation fueled deeper consumer connections with discount and low-cost store categories, while technology was one of several industries that continued to enjoy strong consumer connections due to the convenience it provides.

Post-pandemic generational shifts

Younger audiences (18-34) continue to turn to YouTube and TikTok for personal and universal interactions, while 35–65-year-old’s forged notable connections with healthcare brands post-lock down

Bring out the fun

Beyond convenience and savings, consumers want to experience happiness and lean into brands that spark creativity and imagination.

Inclusivity gets noticed

Multicultural audiences seek out brands that embrace diversity and create unique experiences around this ethos.

The study also generated insights on brand shifts due to the impact of vaccines and the positive outlook about the pandemic ending. The information revealed in the study resulted in a clear pattern of consumer desire for brands to leverage fun and creativity. As the economy continues to shift and supply chains continue to be impacted this year, the BrandUP results prove consumers connect best with brands that provide value through reliability, consistency, and diversity.

“Long-term we believe BrandUP will provide a multifaceted analysis of trends across many categories, as well as audiences,” said Rossetti. “We expect the abundance of this data to become more valuable as time goes on, offering a treasure trove of insight for new category entrants, brands looking to reimagine themselves, or leaders who want to stay on top of their industry.”

The BrandUP study includes survey results from almost 12,000 people, ages 18-65. The survey took a deep dive at brand connections across 35 different consumer categories and 291 brands. For more insights and key learnings from the BrandUp study, visit www.brandup.arn.com to register for a BrandUp webinar on June 29th at 9 a.m. ET hosted by Arnold’s Chief Strategy Officer Bre Rossetti.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter