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The upside of uncertainty

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Australia and New Zealand are feeling acute levels of uncertainty - more than many other countries.

In a nutshell

  1. Although uncertainty is globally at a high, brands and organisations can thrive in times like these. 
  2. The fundamentals haven't changed - customers still fight, flight or freeze.
  3. Sharing your vision for the future can give security during insecure times. 

People all over the world are feeling high levels of uncertainty right now.

According to the World Uncertainty Index, Australia and New Zealand have higher reported levels of uncertainty than many other OECD countries.  

TRA’s latest study on MindSets studied nearly 10,000 Australians and 300,000 New Zealanders, categorising people in each country into 10 categories based on their shared beliefs and outlooks. And according to MindSets, feelings of uncertainty are even more prevalent in people with a progressive approach to life. 

With news like this, it would be easy to despair. However, brands and organisations can thrive in times like these if they know what to do. Confusion, distrust and fear may be on the rise – but these challenges also present a unique and valuable opportunity for marketers. 

The fundamentals 

We’re not strangers in dealing with uncertain times – even if the particular circumstances might feel new. Marketers that have been in the game long enough will know some tried-and-true methods for turning customer’s fight, flight or freeze responses into feelings of comfort, confidence, and control. These haven’t changed. 

Set clear expectations – and meet them. When the world around us seems to be tilted on its axis, it’s more important than ever to do what you say. 

Ratings, reviews, endorsements, testimonials, and statistics – use these elements of social proof to show that there is safety in numbers. 

Restore and build customer trust by being transparent and consistent in your business models and your messaging. Be open and honest about your products, consistent in your packaging and advertising, and make sure to think carefully about the entire CX journey. 

Find out more about how your brand or organisation can navigate uncertainty with our downloadable worksheet – designed to guide you to create a mood-relevant plan and identify the areas you could improve. 

The vision 

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Look to clever brands that are creating a sense of security in these insecure times and see how you can adapt their methods for yourself. One major method we are seeing Australian and Kiwi brands lean on heavily is sharing their vision for the future. 

Virgin Australia recently launched its new Bring On Wonderful campaign, where they outline a vision to deliver a ‘wonderful’ experience for their airline passengers. This constitutes everything from allowing families to pool air points to the introduction of a ‘middle seat lottery’. Showing that your brand is aspirational, innovative, and taking charge is one way to make your consumer relax and breathe a little easier. 

Alternatively, some brands are reaching beyond their product or service to talk about major, hot-button issues such as sustainability or workplace wellbeing. 

Just look at global consumer goods company Unilever: they have successfully positioned themselves as a leading innovator at the future of work, debuting their four-day working week and confidently sharing their vision. 

It’s clear that what people expect from brands has changed. Business and organisations are no longer just providers of goods or services – they are now seen as employers and trendsetters and expected to make an impact for the greater good. 

Aligning your brand with purpose and vision is a great option for marketers looking for a way to position their brand as a safe choice in an uncertain market. 

The opportunity 

Get the fundamentals right, share your brand’s vision and bring your customers along for the journey. Brands and organisations that take these essential steps will set themselves up for the best possible chance at success in 2023 and beyond. 

Want to know more about uncertainty? Read our deep-dive into the Mood of the Nation here. 

Headshot of Terri Hall, Partner at TRA in black and white
Terri Hall
Managing Partner, TRA Australia
An insights leader passionate about putting people at the heart of decision making and ensuring businesses make decisions that will truly drive value and impact for the customers. A believer in the power of customer insights to transform brand, CX and innovation programs from strategy through to execution, Terri applies this mindset to a diverse set of clients across telecommunications, FMCG, services and alcohol across Australasia.

Understand the forces of culture and shape radical ideas

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