It is no longer possible to create a strong, sustainable relationship between a customer and a brand without a strong social commitment from the brand. Values such as generosity, empathy and benevolence now play a key role in the expectations of consumers, particularly the younger generation. Let’s consider what makes a successful initiative with Thierry Strickler, Retail Market Intelligence Lead at Altavia.
According to an October 2016 study by KPMG, values such as generosity, empathy and benevolence are particularly highly valued by the 18-25 generation. “The vast majority of young people see generosity as an important quality: perhaps even the most important one,” Strickler says. “Initiatives undertaken by some retailers demonstrate a genuine ability to empathise with customers. These customers are treated in an unprejudiced way by brands who meet them in a problem area and offer solutions. ”
Such initiatives promote the creation of a strong, sustainable relationship between the brand and its customers. “The Care culture is a lever for differentiation, is Strickler’s assessment. The brand is moving beyond its primary function of selecting and selling products or services: it starts to make a difference and, over time, to create preferences. A brand that pays attention to its staff, its customers, and its impact on society and on the environment is a brand that builds the foundation of its own future and continuing success. ”
A few examples:
- Swiss company Migros is about to launch a platform named AMIGOS, which puts customers in touch with one another. The goal: to facilitate deliveries between neighbours. The solution is for people of reduced mobility, or people for whom time is an issue. In return, the “delivering” customer will receive 7 euros for the first bag of shopping, plus 1.70 euros for each additional bag.
- In the same vein, the Belgian retailer Colruyt has created the Aporto mutual assistance social network for people who have reduced mobility, limited time or no car. A neighbour can do their shopping at Colruyt and deliver it to them.
- Carrefour has used its “Foire aux vins” promotion to thank customers who buy one or more bottles of wine, sending them an email with the corresponding tasting Or how to strengthen customer-brand links!
- Wegmans has implemented technology for use by the visually impaired. Thanks to a free application and a smartphone camera, customers can be guided around the store by a team member.
- Tesco spends an hour each week modifying its stores to enable autistic customers to do their shopping in peace: softer lighting, no music or tannoy announcements… an environment tailored to specific requirements.
- For the second consecutive year, the Bio c’est bon organic brand has offered its loyalty card holders the chance to have packs of water delivered free of charge to an elderly person during August. Another service provided a drop-off “plant care” service for holidaying customers.
Lastly, the new services that generate a sustainable relationship between a brand and its customers are based entirely on customers’ needs. Carrefour has understood this fact, offering free home delivery for nine months to pregnant women. Total, for its part, took advantage of the heatwave to offer a “baby survival kit” at motorway service stations. Examples of this trend are becoming more and more numerous. And that’s good news.