Cultural narrative from the brand's perspective in the age of coronavirus

03/04/20

The consumer’s relationship with a brand

Our world is made up of stories that people tell each other every day and that makes life meaningful.

The richness of narratives creates the culture in which we are immersed. Brands are also a part of it, they also write their stories - if they do it in an interesting, credible and moving way that touches on topics important to us, they have a chance to create relationships with us.

And if, additionally, their actions (including for example, the product itself and the method of its production) support the story, the relationship can grow into a bond that will result in loyalty. 

Is loyalty only directed from a customer towards a brand, or could it also work the other way around?

When we talk about loyalty, we often think of customers’ attachment to brands; however, this is a bilateral relationship because a brand also owes loyalty to its customers – honouring promises, acting in compliance with the declared mission, but also adjusting to changing expectations. 

The meaning of the pandemic in the context of cultural narratives

As a civilisation, we are currently facing a brand-new challenge – our knowledge and solidarity have been put to the test and many notions change their meaning. The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on many aspects of our lives – nobody knows what it is going to be like ‘afterwards’, but we can already point to the current cultural narratives that are becoming weaker in the face of the experience and to the ones that are gaining importance.

Why is it worth thinking about cultural narratives from a brand management perspective?

The brand and the consumer are part of the same culture and in order to build an understanding between them, it is worth observing the hierarchy of values that is changing here and now.

WEAKER          STRONGER
Chaos is creative. Breaking the rules generates value Order is necessary. Constraints can protect
Humans are omnipotent – they rule the world Humans are feeble – they do not have everything under control
Individualism is the leading value – personal plans and ambitions are what really counts Community is a value – everyone and everything are interdependent
Future is the most important issue – creating a vision of the future and forgetting about the present Here and now are what matters – without understanding and controlling ‘now’, there is no ‘later’
Profit is crucial (constant growth and accumulation) Safety is crucial (risk and loss control)
Competition is the goal – looking for leaders Cooperation is the goal – looking for ‘brothers and sisters’
Life in abundance (things, stimuli) – you should always go for new things Life in moderation (‘quarantine of consumption’) – you should always go for what’s necessary
Short-term thinking – instant profit, everything on demand Long-term, cautious thinking
No time for relationships with others – other things are more important Relationships with others are the most important thing (longing for people); here also caution in relationships (fear – social distance)
Technology as entertainment, maximising convenience  – a synonym of progress Technology as a necessity, an indispensable tool for work and maintaining relationships (common social ‘digital advancement’, ‘acceleration’ of trend implication
Heroes in pop culture – celebrities (illusion) Heroes in everyday life – medical services, enforcement services, drivers, shop assistants, etc.

This publication is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice within the meaning of Polish law. You should not base your action/decision on the content of the information contained in this publication without first obtaining professional advice.

  

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Marta Marczak

Marta Marczak

Dyrektor, PwC Poland

Tel: +48 519 50 7452

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