Home comforts

25 June 2009 at 8:08 am 1 comment

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Andrew Curry writes:

‘Comfort brands’ seem to be one of the phenomena of the current recession, according to the current issue of Marketing, which talked to  our UK managing director, Will Galgey, as part of its research.

As Will told the magazine,

‘It’s definitely the case that people are retrenching to what they know and trust, and takes them back to times past. We’ve identified 10 key global energies; one of these is embracing the authentic, which means people want brands that feel grounded and real. We feel that is accelerating through the recession.’

And reassurance seems to be important; one of the few categories where trust hasn’t fallen is for independent high street retailers.

But there are some nuances here. Heritage isn’t the same as old-fashioned, suggest other interviewees in the article, and authenticity isn’t the same thing as nostalgia. Nor does ‘Britishness’ seem to be a winning strategy, at least on its own: the article qu0tes research from HPI which found that 24% of consumers agreed that during the recession they were trying to buy British, whereas 31% disagreed and 44% were indifferent.

But some sense of ‘localness’ does seem to have value in consumer’s minds, a point underlined by Nathan King of Dairy Crest, whose Country Life brand has done well from their advertisements showing Johnny Rotten doing irony about Britain. King sees this as a long term trend, not a recession blip:

‘The ’80s were very selfish, the 90s were a bit more holistic, and the noughties and beyond will be more community-based and back-to-basics… there’s still a lot of uncertainty. The economy will start picking up, but the mindset of the people will stay like this for quite a while.’

Our most recent research suggests that even in recession price is still only one part of the value proposition, and not necessarily the most important one. Companies need to draw on other qualities as well. Virgin’s anniversary ‘heritage’ ad was more about service, with a hint of innovation and a sniff of old fashioned glamour (or sexism). Country Life affirms its ‘local’ credentials by rebuking them, then reminds us that it’s a premium product (‘better butter’). You know what you want – and you know how to get it.

The picture, of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, made famous by Hovis’ advertisements, is from The Latest on Advertising, and used with thanks.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Avocados, ethics and supermarket histories Bits (or bytes) of the future

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The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.


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