Brands must use marketing to ease consumer squeeze

wallet-3548021_1920Brands owners are being urged to redouble their efforts to help consumers navigate the continuing cost-of-living crisis, amid claims that inflation and rising costs are hitting people’s wellbeing harder than ever.

Bank of England economist Huw Pill recently insisted consumers need to accept they are poorer, otherwise prices will continue to rise. However, a new study reveals financial wellbeing is now the second-largest factor affecting consumers’ overall wellbeing (81%), just pipped by physical wellbeing (83%).

The Future of Wellbeing study quizzed 2,000 UK adults and was carried out by Researchbods, part of global strategic insight and customer analytics group STRAT7.

It found that more than half (55%) of those surveyed said the rising cost of living was a primary external factor impacting their overall wellbeing, with the same proportion (55%) maintaining their financial wellbeing had become worse over the past 12 months, and 49% predicting that it will continue to worsen over the coming year.

In fact, only 10% of all consumers considered their current level of wellbeing to be “very good” and 45% describing wellbeing as something they actively prioritise.

When it comes to the role that brands can play, almost four in ten consumers (38%) said they were happy for utility brands to talk about, highlight or have a stance on financial wellbeing through their marketing channels, with the figure rising to 73% for financial services brands.

Researchbods innovation director Sarah Askew said: “Wellbeing isn’t a simple thing to quantify as it encompasses everything from how we feel physically to how we feel emotionally. But it’s clear that the cost-of-living crisis is putting financial wellbeing in the foreground when it comes to our overall wellbeing.

“The sense of feeling financially stable is a real energy booster and allows people to not to feel guilty about the occasional treat. But it’s a challenge, especially in a climate where constant price increases are making consumers feel less and less in charge of their finances by the day.”

“This is an area where brands can offer useful guidance and assistance, provided it’s done appropriately. There is enormous scope for them to help people navigate the cost-of-living crisis.”

However, Askew warns about the dangers of “well-washing”, adding: “Brands need to be mindful of performative action-taking and being seen as taking advantage of a bad situation. It’s about developing products and service propositions that actually help people feel more in control and offer genuine savings.

“At a time when so much is out of their hands when it comes to costs, helping people keep a sense of control over their finances can work wonders for people’s wellbeing.”

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