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Consumers, Brands and Retailers: Adapting in the New Reality

An insightful panel of experts discuss how best to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Licensing Week Virtual kicked off Monday, June 15, offering a host of informative talks and seminars.

Allison Ames, president and chief executive officer, Beanstalk, led a dynamic discussion, “Consumers, Brands and Retailers: Adapting in the New Reality,” about the present and future state of retail, branding and consumer behavior. Panelists included Michael Stone, chairman and co-founder, Beanstalk; Stephanie Wissink, managing director, Jefferies; and Rob Gaige, managing partner, Q, Sparks & Honey.

The group dissected the complicated yet unavoidable trend of brands taking a position with respect to social causes.

“Today, during the pandemic, consumers are expecting even more from brands,” said Stone. “For a long time now, there’s been a trend of consumers wanting their brands to take positions on social or cultural or political issues of the day, and that trend has been growing… consumers now are really requiring that brands not only take positions on the health crisis today, but actually take action.”

Gaige identified the following three key trends among brands:

  • Brand as civil servant;
  • Brand activist; and
  • Digital immortality.

Wissink highlighted the increase in ways consumers could use their wallets to support their activism and the trend of companies rising up to take a clear stance on today’s most-pressing social issues.

Gaige noted consumers are turning back to reliance on experts in a trend he called, “The Rise of the Expert.” He also presented data that noted a shift from “community to castle,” where consumers are spending and investing in all things home.

Panelists also discussed how the Food and Beverage segment has been affected (both positively and negatively) by the pandemic, as well as the other categories that have seen a significant change, such as beauty, automotive and travel.

“Between restaurant licensed products that you could buy at the grocery store and alcoholic beverage licensed products that you could buy at the grocery store, these brands are learning how consumers can become entangled with the brand and engaged with the brand in ways that perhaps they didn’t realize before the pandemic,” Stone said.

“This crisis has absolutely challenged the status quo,” Ames added. “It’s empowered us to reevaluate things and come up with creative solutions and new opportunities, and I am certain together we are all going to rise to the challenge and emerge stronger.”

To learn more about the changes in digital, shopping behaviors and what brands should do to succeed in the post-COVID-19 climate, watch the full session after you have registered for Licensing Week Virtual.

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