Brand evangelism, sometimes called evangelism marketing can seem like one of the many marketing fads to the untrained eye. But seasoned marketers know it is a strategic cornerstone, with consumer culture shifting towards an era where “reviews” are dominating decision making, brand evangelism cannot be ignored.
Here are five ways the equation between brands and their evangelists will change post-pandemic.
#1: Sustenance Has Become A Priority
During the pandemic, words like “resilience” and “sustainability” became all the rage. Now, the lingo has become everyday talk and there is a rising affinity to sustainable products.
30 to 50 percent of consumers today want to buy products that are sustainable. But this kind of product makes up only 5 percent of the market. A brand that is breaking this trend is Green Toys. They make toys that are 100% recyclable and safe for children to play with, even without supervision. For new-age parents, this means less worrying about their children’s safety, and more quality time.
Brands are also tapping into the influencer market to promote their sustainable products. KiwiCo’s panda crate got a great deal of attention in Ami Desai’s reel. From there it only takes one mom to spread the word. If the experience is good, the news will spread, and KiwiCo would have gained many brand evangelists.
#2: Recommendations Are The Way To Go
The pandemic saw an increase in consumers wanting to buy products that guaranteed results. People were less hesitant to experiment with new items unless one of their favorite influencers suggested it to them.
Brands took little time to make full use of this mood and partnered with South Asian influencers. For example, L’Oréal Paris joined hands with Arshia Moorjani to reach her 370,000 strong Instagram followers, composed mostly of South Asians.
The 4:19 sec sponsored IGTV video got 38.2k views in just 2 days. Going through the comments section, one can see the impact that the recommendation created. A user wrote that they had started using various products after Arshia’s recommendation, and would continue to do so. This is the best form of brand evangelism that brands can aim for.
Post-pandemic, the trend for looking at reviews will continue. Therefore, the opinions of brand evangelists will be taken much more seriously. 94% of consumers say that customer ratings now sit at the top of the list of considerations for them. 60% of them said that if the recommendation came from a family or friend, it would hasten the buying process.
The flip side of this is that consumers will likely lose interest in a brand if the product does not meet the expectations set by the evangelist. Brands need to be extra cautious that a dropout due to a bad experience does not occur.
#3: Close To Home Products Will Rise In Popularity
With time being spent at home more, many took to cooking. People who had never cooked in their life can now give advice on how to make a great dal tadka. The trend is likely to continue. And brands that sell products close to home will make great dividends.
Employing omnichannel strategies to woo customers will be crucial. Trader Joe’s is a fantastic example of a brand that has nailed its South Asian targeting with an omnichannel presence in the home essentials market. From garlic naan and butter chicken to fish korma and biryani—a walk down one of Trader Joe’s 500 stores often feels like walking down a department store in India.
From packaging to stocking, the store makes sure that dedicated aisles are present for those looking to shop South Asian culinary delights. The same convenience is also available through its online website. Chatbots and voice support that help with orders also make the experience memorable.
#4. Community Inclusion Is Key
The South Asian community in the US has always been a tight-knit group. From diaspora groups to local committees, group activities are always popular with them. Organizations and brands that bring them together will be well-loved and received.
A great example of this is this year’s virtual Spelling Bee Competition by Scripps. The brand brings together families and relatives from all walks of life, as they marvel at their ward’s talent. But for Scripps to become popular among the South Asians, they had to constantly market their values through ads that showed a sense of community.
2018’s documentary, Spelling the Dream, that followed four Indian American youngsters preparing for the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee was a great exercise in brand building and creating a sense of togetherness. It highlighted the values of family, friends, academic excellence, and community that the competition creates.
Brands that want to make a lasting impression on South Asians and create dedicated evangelists need to mirror this sentiment.
#5: People Are Looking For Lifestyle Impact
The pandemic forced most people to develop multiple habits like working from home, social distancing, masking, etc. It was tolerable at the beginning, but more than a year into the pandemic, the ways of the “new normal” are taking a toll on everyone. But with vaccination drives ramping up and people getting used to standard operating procedures for safety, it will not be long before things return to a new state of normalcy.
Why is this important for business? Brands must understand that people, especially South Asians, look for products or services that enhance their lifestyle. And after the pandemic, this is only going to increase.
Brands that can ride this impulse are lifestyle-focused establishments like gyms, yoga studios, and spas. Using regional actors and showcasing activities that enhance the South Asian lifestyle will be a game-changer. For example, surveys show that 43% of Indian Americans engaged better with advertising showing culturally relevant scenarios.
Therefore, brands must promise to deliver services that augment their consumer’s lifestyle choices while uplifting their standard of living.
The New Normal For Brand Evangelism
Brand advocacy will happen in the post-pandemic world only through messaging that promises a sense of security and a positive lifestyle. Sustainability and community have the potential to become what personalization is to the tech world. But if South Asians fall in love with a brand’s values and offerings, it is highly likely for them to become a brand evangelist.