Teri’s take: The post-pandemic consumer, TikTok’s ‘fit-fluencers’ and more
Let’s jump into April’s top marketing trends and insights. This time around, we’re discussing how TikTok’s body positive influencers are changing brands, how Taika leverages SMS to grow its brand community, and what brands can do to drive customer loyalty post-pandemic.
The article: ‘Calling brands out’: How TikTok’s fashion ‘fit-fluencers’ are forwarding size inclusivity
Denise Mercedes (2.7M followers) and Mikayla Zazon (1.1M followers) are some of the largest creators leading the body positivity movement on TikTok, encouraging fans to celebrate their bodies in all types of clothing. They’ve taken part in numerous partnerships with fashion brands that are getting it right, like Summersalt, Aerie, and AdoreMe. Zazon said that even Abercrombie, a brand that has previously come under fire for fatphobia, has started to change, with Zazon’s careful guidance on size inclusivity: “Now I am working with a company with completely different management and completely different morals, and they are learning from me. They are learning from their mistakes.”
Inclusivity isn’t a fad. While consumers have always come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, advances in technology have made publicly speaking out against brands that ostracize large groups of people easier. As much as today’s shoppers will sing the praises of brands they love on social media, they will also use their online voices to speak out against the brands that do not align with their values. Gen Zers in particular don’t just stop at a public call out, in fact, 67% of Gen Zers have either stopped buying a brand or would consider boycotting one if a company’s values clashed with their own. Meaning, it is even more crucial for brands to learn from the feedback of their target audience or risk losing to the brands that do.
While canned coffee brand Taika launched in the midst of the pandemic, it has had no problem connecting with customers. The brand uses a text-based branding strategy to connect with thousands of people. Co-founder and CEO Michael Sharon explained, “[SMS] is not about being transactional. This is about being transparent, direct, and being an extension of the brand. This is a brand experience touchpoint for us more than anything. And when people text us, we have a combination of technology that we wrote ourselves, as well as some very smart and funny humans that will then respond and entertain you.” Taika has taken advantage of the time people have spent stuck at home by keeping them company through personalized texts. It’s what Taika’s co-founder Kal calls “scalable hospitality.”
The way to win today’s consumers hearts (and their wallets) is less transaction and more interaction. Since the beginning of the pandemic, consumers have desired new ways to connect with the people and the brands that they love. With more than 80% of Americans using text messaging regularly and over 6 billion texts being sent every day, it’s no surprise that brands such as Taika are leveraging consumers’ native ways of communication to connect on a deeper level. The biggest takeaway is to understand your customer and meet them where they are. Whether it be email, text, or social posts, share content and information that goes beyond product announcements. By fostering relationships with customers through educational, humorous, or entertaining content, you build brand loyalty and affinity that not only increases retention but assists in acquiring new customers in the short and long-term.
There are strong hints that the economy will make a roaring comeback as the pandemic subsides. Not only are people itching to get out and experience all of the things that have been denied since March 2020, but analysts also say that the economy will grow 6.8% this year and unemployment will drop to 4.1% by December. The National Retail Federation also expects retail sales to grow between 6.5% and 8.2%. Marketers need to prepare to meet this demand surge, but shift their strategies to fit the change in consumer behavior that has happened throughout the pandemic. So how can marketers meet the post-pandemic consumer where they are?
Whether it be a vacation, home decor, or a new wardrobe, consumers are itching to make purchases as we get our first glimpse into post-pandemic reality. However, consumers and marketers alike know that the world was shaken far too hard for things to fall right back into place. Consumers have changed the way that they buy, and businesses have changed the way that they interact with customers. Per the article, the key to winning over the post-pandemic consumer will be “flexibility, expansive virtual offerings, and the strategic offering of deals and promotions.” Meaning understanding the needs of your customer, leveraging social media tools, and building our affiliate, ambassador, or rewards programs will be crucial in 2021 and beyond.