Improving focus on people and diversity in a cost-of-living crisis
An Australian perspective on why connecting brands with their audiences is vital to put people at the heart of decision making.
Sebastian van Lieven
01 June 2023
3 min read
Globally, increasing inflation is exacerbating the gap between rich and poor. In most instances, those who hold decision-making power – brands, businesses, board directors – are not representative of the people for whom those decisions have an impact. The old marketing adage ‘you are not your consumer’ should be front-and-centre for organisations who want to do what matters; spoken as a word of caution to be more representative, more diverse, more ‘human’.
This is true of many organisations in many countries, but we highlight the RBA in Australia to make the point. Following 10 months of consecutive interest rate hikes, pressure has been mounting for a review of how cash rate decisions are made in Australia. Very traditional economic thinking has been used to manage rising inflation and cost of living. Namely, the use of interest-rate hikes to manage inflation has come under some fire. Whilst raising interest-rates is an effective method of reducing inflation, it also has the side-effect of hitting those who can least afford it the hardest. What results is an economic reality that is much harder for the average Australian as the cost of living rises and they are priced out of potential sources of ‘good-debt’ (buying property, business loans, etc.) The government has recently announced a major reform of the RBA (Central Bank of Australia) and its ability to influence monetary policy, shifting to a more diverse and equitable decision-making mechanism – embracing a broader range of views and expertise to shape better outcomes for all.
The need for human-centricity in a cost-of-living crisis
We hear harrowing stories of how people are struggling to put food on the table; people who never had to before are now relying on foodbanks. It has been a hard year for many, and it feels like it’s only getting harder as costs continue to surge for food, energy, transport and healthcare. We know that diverse thinking leads to better outcomes, so this should be a clear opportunity for the RBA to improve. We see this play out almost every time we connect brands with people and not just any people. Brands like the RBA need to connect with the right people, because it is the diversity of perspectives that leads to powerful insights that fuel decision-making.
Having an ongoing connection with people is equally critical to connecting with diverse audiences for brands that are looking to really connect and engage with a consumer base that is feeling the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis. This goes beyond just trying to ‘sell’ to people, it’s about ensuring you can understand your consumer’s perspective and walk a mile in their shoes – 46% of consumers find it important that brands ‘understand who they are and what they stand for’ whilst 63% think brands should ‘help people live a better life’. Whilst relevance is key, it’s no longer enough.
We will see what the reformed RBA mechanism will mean for the everyday Australian consumer in the coming months. Increasing the focus on the people at the heart of these decisions should hopefully soften some of the effects and help everyday people push through this challenging period. We’ll be watching to see what happens next and listening to how consumers respond along the way.
But there’s no need to ‘wait and see’ when it comes to connecting your brand with people. Get in touch to find out how you can connect with the audiences that matter to your brand.