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Claiming to be a ‘sustainable’ brand is just not enough to make consumers go head-over-heels, says Talkwalker’s Vartika Malviya Hali

In the aftermath of the pandemic, consumers’ values have changed and they are more planet conscious. Hence, brands should address the consumers’ new values rather than just greenwashing their label, according to Hali, Senior Director Strategic Solutions, Talkwalker

Vartika Malviya Hali

As consumers are increasingly becoming more aware, brands need to become more consumer-centric and if claims of being ‘sustainable’ are being made, the brand must also address what it is doing for the planet and the society at large, as per Vartika Malviya Hali, Senior Director Strategic Solutions, Talkwalker.

According to Hali, “Greenwashing brand label and claiming that you are a sustainable brand and are good for the environment isn’t sufficient anymore.”  

“Today consumers are very much aware, and they want to know about the economic impact of organisations on people’s lives and economies in general. They also want to know how brand manifestos are defined and what is the organisation’s take on diversity and inclusion. They basically want the brands to give an answer as to what they are doing for the planet and the society,” she said.

A lot has changed in the new-normal world in terms of consumer beliefs, and it is high time that brands address changes like climate crisis, political distrust, social injustice, international conflicts, inflation, supply chain disruptions, pandemic, and digital acceleration, according to the recent 2022 Love Brands Report released by Talkwalker in partnership with Hootsuite.

Talkwalker provides consumer insights to brands, while Hootsuite allows brands to manage their social media presence.

The report shows how parameters like passion, trust, and customer satisfaction are being used to statistically present how sustainability builds brand love in the modern world.

“In the aftermath of Covid, consumers have become more conscious, and they are re-evaluating what the brand offers, not just to them but to the world in general,” added Hali.

Adding to how brands can approach these changes, she said, “Brands need to set up a two-way communication line between themselves and the consumers. They can no longer stride on the age-old belief of claiming the status of being sustainable and then leave it to the consumers’ imagination to find the relevance in it.”

The report also emphasised the three sustainable factors which play a very crucial role-environmental, social, and economical. While it is essential for brands to communicate the efforts they have made for the environment, social sustainability factors like employee wellbeing and diversity programs along with economically sustainable features like being accountable to stakeholders and not just shareholders are also equally important, as per the report.

Furthermore, referring to the ‘Me’ to ‘We’ shift in the consumers’ purchase journey, Hali said, “Brands would not need to revamp themselves as the basic tenets of marketing and advertising remain the same, even though the mediums have changed. But the ways will definitely change as in the end it all sums up to brands focusing on being the choice of the consumers.”

Since the beginning of time, consumers have been opportunists, and loyalty is nothing more than a ‘myth’, according to Hali as this is what had led to the concept of ‘brand love’. “It doesn’t mean that they un-love the brand but rather they fall out of love with the brand over a certain span of time, if they feel that the brands aren’t in sync with them,” she said.

Hali suggested, “Brands should always have their radar on in terms of how the consumers’ needs are changing with time. If you as a brand don’t stay aware and address the new changes in the consumers’ value system, then you cannot probably grow. To be on top of your consumers’ minds, you must build a strong consumer intelligence system to track and address the short-term and long-term shifts in the values of your consumers.”

“We have seen a lot of Indian brands adapting themselves to the global trends and vice-versa,” she pointed out.

Commenting on how social media has emerged as an ecosystem, Hali emphasised that it is where the brands not only get discovered but also a platform where people fall in love with them. “It is where the consumers buy the brand and review it post-consumption. In fact, all the brand love happens online, so a brand should not restrict itself to advertising,” she said.

In fact, the top 10 Indian brands according to the Brand Love Report 2022 are Colorbar Cosmetics, Bombay Shaving Company, IBM, Levi’s, Saffola, Capgemini, Mamaearth, Oppo, Nivea and L’Oréal.

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