Consumers Talk About Their Changed World After 9/11; Wunderman Survey Finds Shifts in Consumer Mood & Attitudes
NEW YORK, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Wunderman, the world's largest direct-to-customer marketing solutions company released a survey today examining consumer moods and economic priorities in the aftermath of September 11th. Wunderman conducted the survey of 1,000 consumers on September 28-30, 2001, via telephone with the assistance of IPSOS-REID. FINDINGS The Current Consumer Mood * Overriding Mindset: A Sense of Gratitude. Surprisingly, the number one consumer attitude uncovered by the study was positive, not negative. 73% of respondents report feeling "I'm more grateful for what I have" since the tragedy took place. The loss of so much appears to have reminded consumers how much they actually have. * That said, consumers are still deeply uneasy. Roughly a third report feeling less confident about the future and more fearful for their personal safety, and 38% have a greater feeling that they don't like "the way life is now." * Personal communications and personal finances have swelled in importance. Staying in touch with friends and family has become a greater priority. 65% report an increased desire to keep in touch with the people they care about since the events of 9/11. Nearly four in ten report worrying more about their finances since the tragedy took place. * Consumers are looking for ways to help. Nearly two thirds report an increased desire to help people in need since 9/11, and 60% report an increased desire to make a contribution to their country. * Young adults seem to have been more strongly affected by events of 9/11. Among those 18-34, attitudes shifted more than average on almost all measures. This may be due to the fact that Gen X/GenY consumers have never had to deal with the prospect of war as we had during the Cold War or during Vietnam. * Surprisingly, there were few regional differences in attitudes. People far from the events had attitudes similar to those in the Northeast. What's Important in Evaluating Companies/Brands post 9/11 * Trust is the new Tech. It appears that reliability is back. Significant percentages of consumers say they are placing higher priority on American companies and brands (54%), trustworthy companies and brands (45%) and reliable companies/brands (38%). Few are placing more importance on innovative (18%) or high tech (24%) companies or brands. * Not surprisingly, consumers are placing greater emphasis on companies who are helping the cause. Large proportions of consumers say "making an effort to help out" (63%) and "being involved in the community" (47%) are more important now. Interest in switching Companies/Brands at this time * "A Good Time to Wait." Consistent with their concerns about their finances and the need to stay in touch, vast majorities say they would rather wait than change providers in these categories. 80% would prefer to put off changing their financial services provider, 76% plan to wait on changing their telephone provider, and 68% will wait before changing their Internet service provider. How appropriate are the different communication channels? * Advertising: Business as Usual, BUT use the phone with respect. Most consumers said there has been no change in the appropriateness of mass media (TV, newspaper, magazines and newspapers) as vehicles to sell products/services since 9/11. However, 47% feel the telephone is a less appropriate vehicle to sell them something now. Clearly, consumers recognize the personal power of the phone and will appreciate our sensitivity in using this channel now. Feelings about any specific 9/11 communications received * Relatively few consumers (24%) have received personal communications from Companies/Brands about the events of 9/11. The majority (52%) of those who have received these communications say it made them feel better about the company or brand. Only 5% say the communication made them feel worse. IMPLICATIONS Keeping in Tune with The Current Mood * Recognize that Thanksgiving this year may be even more important than Christmas. People will want to get together with their families and friends and express their gratitude for those relationships; however, they may be less willing to travel. Messages about appreciating and protecting what you have, not waiting for tomorrow, and carpe diem, will resonate in this environment. * Whether you are in the communications business or not, consider ways in which your business can help people stay in touch, communicate and come together -- even virtually. Americans need to connect to the people they care about more than ever. * Find a way to reach out to your younger consumers. More than most, they are actively looking for ways to in which to help. Keeping up with Shifting Feelings about Brands * Do things to make consumers feel secure and safe with your brand. Within reason, it's appropriate to wave the flag and highlight trust and reliability. * Don't do things to bring their trust in your brand into question. This means not taking advantage of their current concerns and fears for sales purposes, or using references to the tragedy to get their attention for a sales pitch. * Avoid using the tragedy to "tug on the heart strings" if you actually have nothing important to add or convey. This can appear self-serving and inappropriate in light of the gravity of the events. * If you're going to communicate about the events, be straightforward and direct. If there are any negative effects on your product or service, own up to them and tell what you're doing about it. Advertising Channels * Consumers seem to want things to go back to "selling as usual" in the mass media. * Recognize the power of private channels such as e-mail and especially phone, and use them sensitively and respectfully. Have a reason to be in touch if you choose to use these channels. For phone selling, sensitive scripting is obviously a must. Communicating about the Events of 9/11 * Keep in mind that only a minority of consumers say they have received personal communications about the tragedy. If you have something relevant and meaningful to say, it is not too early or too late to reach out to your customer base. ABOUT WUNDERMAN Wunderman is the largest integrated marketing solutions company in the world, delivering customer relationship management services to clients through more than 80 offices in over 40 countries. With 4,000 employees worldwide, Wunderman combines strategic consulting, data-driven and creative marketing services, the Internet, and the latest information technologies to propel and measure business results for its clients. The network devises and deploys innovative, customer-centric marketing communications that have at their core a sound business rationale and which capitalize on the most relevant media channels -- from online and e-mail advertising, through consumer promotion and events, to direct mail and DRTV. In keeping with Lester Wunderman's distinguished heritage of innovation and excellence, Wunderman is committed to offering employees challenging professional learning opportunities that will help educate the future leaders of Direct Marketing. Wunderman is a division of Young & Rubicam Inc., a world leader in commercial communications, representing a collaborative network of preeminent companies at the forefront of the total brand experience. Young & Rubicam Inc. comprises the fields of advertising, perception management and public relations, brand identity and design consultancy, database marketing and customer relationship management, and health care communications. Headquartered in New York, Young & Rubicam ranks among the world's leading consolidated marketing communications companies and is a member of the WPP Group (Nasdaq: WPPGY). MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X42800425
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