The supply chain crisis certainly puts a damper on what is normally the biggest shopping season of the year, and it threatens to do so well into 2023. As businesses try to find the best position in this time of uncertainty, we ask: What does Christmas branding look like amidst an ongoing pandemic?
While consumers are struggling, too, they have found a way to move forward in community-centricity. Commbank Rewards reports that 85% of Australians are looking to buy local, wanting to help businesses recover from the pandemic. For Australian companies, being community-centric means creating a positive impact on public welfare, whether that comes in the form of charity, sustainability, or other efforts to bring a community of people together for a shared cause.
Here are five ways brands can create a community-centric Christmas experience for their customers.
1. Embrace your local community
How are Australians showing support for homegrown industries towards the road to recovery? Research has found that nearly one in two people are indeed shopping more with local online retailers during the pandemic.
Brands wanting to increase awareness and build loyalty need look no further than to their local communities. But also take extra care: Consumers will not think twice about cancelling brands that go against their personal values, with environmental concerns being on top of the list.
2. Practise sustainability
What is community-centricity, if not about caring about humankind as a whole? Today’s customers are not just looking for quality goods; they want brands and products that align with their personal values. This means marketing products that are authentic and produced in a green environment, on top of being manufactured to high standards.
This clear paradigm shift has led to the rise of the eco-friendly consumer, brought about by a growing consciousness of climate change, as well as a desire to participate in community causes. Eco-friendly consumers will regularly buy organic products and actively seek out labels that reduce environmental impact. In fact, they actively seek and champion brands that commit to sustainability.
3. Be an ethical brand
COVID-19 has given businesses the opportunity to be responsible and help with global recovery, whether that includes donating to charity, healthcare frontliners, or education, or other worthy causes. Ethical branding is one of these promising developments.
Once again, consumers are looking for companies that align with their personal values, and ethical brands present another avenue to exercise them. These businesses give back to charity, reduce waste, heal the environment, eliminate animal cruelty in manufacturing, and similar causes. One good example of this is the U.K.-based fashion retailer Primark, which introduced recyclable paper bags in 2020 that double up as gift wrapping paper.
4. Diversity matters
Most Australian consumers are more likely to purchase products and services promoted in diverse advertisements, as Adobe discovered in a pre-pandemic survey on study on diversity in advertising. Some of the respondents are even turned off by ads that do not promote diversity.
More than ever, representation has become a critical value for brands that want to engage consumers. Because Australia is home to people from a rich variety of cultural backgrounds, espousing inclusivity is an important way to create a positive impact.
5. Give back
JB Hi-Fi is Australia’s largest home entertainment retailer, but it is also home to hundreds of highly engaged staff who take part in JB’s Helping Hands workplace giving program. Most employees have participated, helping raise more than $23 million for numerous charities since 2008. The Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program alone has benefited from $2 million in donations since 2010.
JB Hi-Fi is not alone in this. Other companies like Specsavers and EHPlabs also have corporate social responsibility initiatives in place.
In light of these trends and shifts across industries, this holiday season, brands would do well to adopt a community-centric approach, reach out to their communities and, wherever possible, involve the entire organisation in the effort. Despite its hardships, 2021 has proven to be a relatively successful year for many local e-commerce brands, and the yearend is a good time to show appreciation by giving back to the community.