Brands should ‘stand up’ for consumers in cost-of-living crisis

Brands should ‘stand up’ for consumers in cost-of-living crisis

More than two-thirds (69%) of consumers think brands “should play a key role” in the cost-of-living crisis, according to new research by UM, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and MoneySuperMarket.

Nearly six in 10 (57%) surveyed said brands “could do more”, while more than half (60%) said they wanted brands to show “increased sensitivity to people’s financial struggles”. Close to three-quarters (74%) would “welcome financial advice” from brands.

In terms of consumer categories, retail and finance came highest when people were asked which brands are “most helpful” in helping them navigate the cost-of-living crisis, but only a quarter agreed that they were doing enough.

When it comes to how companies should advertise during the cost-of-living crisis, the research revealed that 61% of consumers wanted brands to focus on how they provide value like special offers and 49% wanted to see helpful advice such as tips on how to save.

Mental health impact

The Money Talks study spoke to 2,000 UK consumers to explore what stops people from talking about their money worries and the effect financial concerns have on mental health.

On a wider level, it found 86% of UK adults worried about money, while 22% said it led to feelings of reduced self-worth, 23% inadequacy and 22% hopelessness.

In contrast, three-quarters said they had not spoken to anyone about money worries and more than half said they wished there was not a stigma attached to talking about money.

Kim Lambert, group insight director at UM, said: “Consumers have had to rethink their purchasing habits in recent years — and marketers have needed to adapt quickly.

“However, there are wider issues that need to be addressed responsibly if brands are to avoid adding to the pressures personal finances are already putting on people’s mental health.

“All categories need to advertise in sensitivity of the fact that there is very real widespread money-related stress in society at the moment. Insight into what consumers want, and how they want brands to communicate with them, is vitally important right now.”

Wendy Robinson, head of services at CALM, commented: “The mental health impact of the UK’s rising costs can’t be underestimated.

“People often feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about money, which means they’re far less likely to get support or reassurance from friends, family or other external sources.”

She added that the research highlighted “how much brands need to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk”.

Robinson concluded: “They [brands] need to stand up for consumers now more than ever — and that starts with listening to what people need from them.”

Lambert has written about ways that brands can support consumers here

Media Jobs