– by Andrea Alfano
(Previously featured on The Marketing Insider)

According to Accenture, a whopping 72% of consumers say that external factors such as inflation, social movements, and climate change are impacting their personal lives and decision-making as consumers more than ever. As a result, some 60% say their priorities keep shifting, forcing them to deprioritize altruistic things they once considered in their purchase-making decisions — like transparency of supply chains or a brand’s sustainability record.

These emerging trends, such as hyper-fatigue and the me-first mentality, are running rampant among consumers. Today’s consumers seek reassurance in these moments of transformation. They want more focus on self-expression and individuality and are hungry for simplicity — thus creating more complexity for marketers.

Empirically, inflation is trending down. But does it feel that way? Earlier this year, one in two Americans said they are financially worse off now than last year — the highest number since the great recession. The result: nearly half of Americans are now buying different, less expensive brands or generics, and only about one in five Americans say they will continue to shop the brands they trust regardless of cost. Month-to-month spending and long-term individual finances will have a direct and significant impact on how consumers interact with brands.

The macroeconomic outlook doesn’t match consumers’ personal impact, and brands can expect long-term repercussions to personal finances. While consumers will still spend on things they define as high value, they are becoming more and more selective when it comes to shopping, which means a decrease in brand loyalty and less shopping for fun.

Beyond acquiring a keen understanding of emerging consumer behaviors, brands have to reinforce value, simplification, reassurance, self-expression and fun when it comes to gaining and maintaining consumer brand loyalty — especially in these times of uncertainty.

For instance, instead of simply mentioning the potential savings of switching insurance providers, AAA promotes “Coverage ConfiDance”: that feeling that comes with the confidence of AAA coverage that leads consumers to dance and self-expression. Toyota Northern California Dealers built a campaign encouraging drivers to “Grab the keys, let’s go!” to discover something new on their next adventure. And McDonald’s recent Drink Run campaign suggested that people quit the doom scrolling to grab themselves a frozen beverage. If that’s not a mental health break, what is?