How are brands responding to the cost of living crisis?
It’s hard to escape the myriad of consumer polls emphasising how great the consumer concern around cost of living and household finances. Brand Vista’s recent survey of the UK population reveals just how concerned the general public are and the myriad of ways they are trying to tackle the crisis.
However, consumers are also expecting brands to play their part, with 58% believing that brands should play a role in supporting people through the cost of living process (Reach Solutions, June 2022, c.2000 UK adults). Below are a few examples of how brands across the sectors are responding to this call.
Supermarkets were one of the first categories to respond to the crisis, with many focusing on helping young families. Morrisons and Asda are offering free, or heavily discounted, children’s meals in their cafe’s, however whilst the sentiment is there, many have complained about the quality standards of these meals not meeting minimum dietary needs. Government guidelines state that primary schools should only provide deep-fried starchy food once a week but, the analysis found, Asda’s menu lists chips on three occasions, whilst in Morrisons only one of the five hot meal options offers a vegetable side.
Whilst the nod to the crisis is appreciated, offering up cheap, unhealthy food which lacks nutritious value mars the positivity.
Beauty and Health
Earlier this year, Boots and Superdrug, ever competing with each other, both announced prize freezes of a proportion their own label products, and are continuously increasing expanding the number of products within this offer. Both retailers have carefully selected products based on necessity and popularity, ensuring the offer covers a range of essentials. Steve Ager, chief customer and commercial officer at Boots UK said: “We always try to offer great value and the best price for our customers. In pulling together the list of products to include in the Price Lock Promise, we reviewed the lines that customers buy most regularly as well as those that are deemed to be day-to-day essentials.” For me, this suggests a genuine desire to help, rather than discounting more luxury goods or less popular products.
Mobile Phone Bills
Many consumers have been dealing with rising prices from their phone providers of the last 6 months, with both O2 and Virgin Mobile increasing their prices by 11.7 per cent in April, whilst Three hiked costs by 4.5 per cent. These price hikes are mid-contract for many, but don’t worry they’ve given you the option to leave if you give 30 days notice…
However, brand rebel Giffgaff continues to align to its vision of doing things differently. In April, they announced a price freeze on all accounts until the end of 2022, and has recently extended this to the end of 2023, communicating the message below in an informal, friendly tone of voice true to the brand.
“Well, it’s now September and we are continuing to see price rises across the board. We know many of our members will be concerned about this, which is why we’re committed to doing as much as we can to help. With that in mind, I am so happy to let you all know that we have made the decision to freeze our UK prices until the end of 2023. This means there will not be any price rises for calls, texts, and data made or used within the UK for the next 15 months, giving you all one less thing to worry about.”
As the months roll on into the darkest depths of winter, where the true impact of energy price rises will start to hit our pockets, it will be interesting to see how brands respond to changing consumer behaviour and how this aligns with their brand vision.