What can retailers learn from Britain’s ‘feel good brands’?

What can retailers learn from Britain’s ‘feel good brands’?

By Parry Malm, CEO and Co-founder, Phrasee

Whether you work in retail or any business involving marketing to consumers, it’s our job, and our responsibility, to inspire people and make them feel awesome about our brands.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but if consumers come away from interactions with your brand feeling great, they’ll return time and time again. As retailers are facing a multitude of challenges, from the demise of the high street to serial returners and increasingly complex supply chains, positive marketing really is a win-win.

As part of our “return on ethics” campaign, we recently launched research into ‘Britain’s most feel-good brands’, interviewing consumers on which brands made them feel the best about themselves. The results threw up retailers including Marks & Spencer, The Body Shop, Asos and despite some of its recent controversy, Amazon. Other brands that consumers love include Dove, Nike, Boots, Apple and Adidas.

It’s great that these brands are nailing marketing that makes consumers feel great about themselves. But what are the lessons that retailers can take from these brands to give their sales a boost?

"Pressure selling can be particularly alluring as it can lead to a short-term spike in email open rates for marketing teams and even sales. But if interactions with your brand are leaving consumers feeling anxiety, fear or doubt, this will eventually start to rub off"

Power of positivity

When pressed on what these consumers loved about these brands, the research drew particular attention to body positivity as a tactic that made consumers feel good. Retailers were praised for using plus-size models, celebrating diversity and shunning photoshop to show real life people (e.g. those with stretch marks) – explaining the presence of many of the brands on the list. 

You’d think that in light of this, positive marketing would be a no brainer. But, even though many consumers want to buy from positive brands, many retailers still find themselves falling back into using negative emotions to push sales, such as pressure selling.

Feeling the pressure 

Pressure selling can be particularly alluring as it can lead to a short-term spike in email open rates for marketing teams and even sales. But if interactions with your brand are leaving consumers feeling anxiety, fear or doubt, this will eventually start to rub off. The initial uptick won’t lead to an increase in long run customer value, in fact it will have the opposite effect, with consumers getting wise to your tactics and being turned away.

Phrasee’s research comprehensively revealed this to be the case. 59% of the 4,000 consumers interviewed said they are more likely to buy from a brand that makes them feel good about themselves, whilst 68% would not buy from a brand that used negative emotions in their marketing. Tellingly, 69% agree that brands need to use more positive emotions in their marketing.

At Phrasee, we are on a mission to remove fear, anxiety and doubt from marketing. For this reason, we’ve created an ethics policy, which sits at the heart of everything we do. This includes a commitment to not use our data to target vulnerable populations, not working with customers whose values don’t align with ours and not promoting the use of negative emotions to exploit people.

By sticking to these principles, retailers can create high performing marketing campaigns that shine a light on their humanity and purpose, and ultimately delivers results. Just like the brands listed in our research, by relying on positive marketing, retailers can make themselves a ‘feel-good’ brand, creating a meaningful connection with their customers and forging a powerful environment for sales.

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