In Argentina, the recent growth of low-price brands and the explosion in the number of visits to wholesalers might make us think that the Argentine consumers have broken their bond with the traditional brands and that decisions are based purely on price.
Although it is true that this new consumer is more experienced savvy, and it is implementing new defensive strategies, the new purchase habits do not imply that people are resigning the quality, the experiences and the symbolic and emotional benefits that traditional brands promise.
Those known as “A brands” are struggling for the minds, hearts and pockets of the consumers, and they keep leading most of the FMCG categories in our market.
What are consumers looking for?
After the primary elections, economic perspectives (measured by Kantar TNS) have improved significantly, and consumers are more optimistic and willing to make important decisions. In this context of incipient consumption recovery, the key words to explore are convenience and freedom.
Convenience means that you need more than low prices and B brands to thrive. Consumers want to find what they need, at an adequate format and size, at a fair price, in any accessible channel (that could be online).
Freedom, according to the new consumer dictionary, is translated as the capacity to choose whatever you want at any time. Argentine do not enjoy anymore to be told in which supermarket they should buy, when to do it, which credit cards they should use, and how many bottles they should buy in order to get a minor discount. Consumers are looking for brands that help them to make life easier, they want to avoid over-complexity.
What should brands do? In an era characterized by horizontality in relationships, brands should put themselves on the same level of consumers. They have to start an honest and transparent dialogue, because any attempt to show something not so credible will be quickly identified and punished.
If consumers are willing to keep making an effort in favour of the brands they prefer they have to react similarly. That is why we are increasingly noticing more different kinds of commitments made by large brands, like “Pacto Porrón”, one of the last promotions launched by Quilmes, the leader brand in the beer category. These kinds of initiatives are positively evaluated by consumers as long as they are seen as something genuine and not tricky, since they offer an alternative way to have an experience with the brand.
The permanent challenge that brands have to face is how to remain relevant and attractive to consumers. They have to see the person behind the consumer and understand that people change all the time. Consequently, marketers must be agile in order to catch the emerging trends and seize new opportunities that may arise.
It is crucial to pay close attention to the emergent things: new factors that are starting to happen among adjacent industries, start-ups and academic forums. According to BrandZ global ranking, made by Kantar Millward Brown, over the last decade young and disruptive brands have increased importance. Those disruptors like Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, should be observed and followed, because they are going to keep changing the rules and redefining purchase and consumption habits across all the categories of products and services.
In the market research industry we have to be prepared to establish collaborative relationships with these new players that can develop disruptive skills and technologies to our business.