As we set our sights on the year ahead, the global outlook is a complex one, and in this ever-changing landscape, the role of communications is significant. In this blog series, we’ll delve into the trends discovered in our MoneyMinds insight, and understand how they should be shaping our interactions and relationships as we move into 2024.
The first trend looks at the long-lasting impact of inflation – lag-flation. As the cost of living crisis continues to impact households and incomes fail to keep up, spending behaviour is shifting. Almost two thirds (64%) of the consumers we polled as part of the trends analysis expressed concerns about the cost of living crisis. More than half (59%) are troubled by the rising cost of energy, 55% are worried about the soaring prices of food, and 46% are concerned with the relentless march of inflation.
We convened a group of leading financial services marketing and communications leaders for a breakfast to launch our MoneyMinds insight, and during this, we discussed how we can best communicate with audiences feeling this.
The group agreed that while it will take some time for the long-term psychological impact to be truly felt, consumer confidence is already down and business sentiment is mirroring this. The lasting impact of lag-flation is therefore something we will need to consider in our marketing and communications strategies for many years to come.
For example, we have a whole generation of homeowners who have not yet experienced a high interest rate environment. They have either rolled off their low rate fixed mortgages in the last 12-18 months, or they will be soon. And there is already a very clear – and growing – concern coming from this group when it comes to their financial behaviours – 41% of millennials feel like life will be ‘worse for people like them’ in five years’ time.
But, even those feeling the impact of lag-flation already are willing to spend with brands they trust, brands which understand them, and brands which they feel demonstrate empathy with their circumstances. Therefore, those companies which consider empathy, compassion, and understanding – and build their marketing and communications strategies around how their audiences are feeling in 2024, will be able to build trust and emerge from this period of prolonged volatility stronger than before.