• stress
  • marketing
  • mental health

Stressed for Success: Marketing to the overstretched consumer

The 2nd of November is stress awareness day and with stress in the UK at an all-time high, we ask ourselves how can brands adapt to best serve the increasingly stressed-out consumer.

The past year has shown political and financial disruption at an alarming frequency. It is unsurprising, then, that people report higher stress levels than ever. Global analytics firm Gallup asked adults in 122 countries about their emotional and physical well-being and found that people reported higher stress, sadness, and negative life experiences than ever before.

Bleak as this seems, branding and communications experts are left with the opportunity to lessen the load by making users feel more confident and in control of their lives through their consumer decisions.
Stress in small amounts is natural and harmless. Still, after a while, the brain be-comes bathed in the stress hormone cortisol, increasing activity in the amygdaloid complex and other regions of the brain then leads to a spike in irrational behaviour. For example, a 2014 medical study reported that stock market traders’ buying pat-terns during periods of prosperity and stock crashes found that traders were more likely to buy irrationally during periods of stock crashes.

Stress can significantly shift consumer decision-making and attitudes towards risk. These irrational behaviours can make people difficult to market to and predict. Previously predictable behaviour becomes an unreliable assumption made from market research on a population that no longer makes the same buyer choices.

The Harvard business review reported that the most effective way to market to the chronically stressed is to empower purchasing decisions through four essential actions:

• Identifying emotional triggers- by identifying the stress triggers of the consumer, Brands can develop a strategy to intercept the trigger where pos-sible to minimise stress and discomfort.

• Respond to intense emotion- when potential consumers do not have their stress recognised, consumers are left feeling scared, powerless, and ig-nored. Brands can alleviate stress by responding to and validating consumer feelings, forming a more positive relationship.

• Enhance customer control- during stressful times; it can seem as though a desperate scramble for control takes over our lives, leaving consumers in a state of paralysis. Stress can be relieved by access to services through direct, straightforward communication from brands.

• Focus on respectful communication- compassionate and informative communication allows people to feel cared for; it is essential to focus hiring strategy on people with a genuine desire to benefit the consumer by com-municating the product.

Consumers are looking for support; Brands should look to simplify complicated concepts and decisions, offering help and solutions instead of shock value to engage consumers. Communicating information non-forceful but authoritatively will allow consumers to feel secure in your brand by trusting the information your brand pro-vides.

Want to learn more about how stress can affect your brand? Get in touch!


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