Communicating in times of attention economy

These are difficult times for brands and companies. Since the arrival of the Internet and above all social media, we are flooded with information. However, the influx of information means that there is a constant clambering for the consumer’s attention. Convincing him of your message thus becomes a real struggle. And how to bring across a positive story about a product battling with a negative image?

What people say vs. what they do

There is a great difference between what people say and what they do. What’s more, there is a gap between the consumer’s trust, his expectations and his behaviour. On the one hand there is the conscious citizen who attaches great importance to the environment and animal welfare. And on the other hand, is a consumer whose decisions are frequently dictated by his wallet. In a survey in Germany, 85% of the respondents declared that they were willing to pay more for meat products if the money went directly to the farmer or to animal welfare. In Belgium, too, animal welfare, food safety and the reduction of greenhouse gases are gaining in importance as criteria for purchasing meat. So the modern consumer is far more concerned with the world around him than was reviously the case. However, we do not always see the same trend in the consumer’s behaviour.

The importance of ‘Why’

The most important consumer trends appearing are awareness and authenticity. Consumers demand that companies consciously handle their ‘why’ or reason for existence. What’s more, the consumer wants companies to be authentic, not just in their communication but also in their actions. Practice what you preach is no longer an empty slogan. The brand of sustainable sneakers, Veja, but also Tony’s Chocolonely that has made slavery-free chocolate the reason for its existence, are good examples of this. Leading brands, such as Coca-Cola, on the other hand are increasingly the subject of condemnation.

What can the meat sector do?

The meat sector also has a poor image to handle. How can the sector succeed in convincing the consumer that quality has improved? By focussing on four areas:

  1. Be authentic
    As a sector show that you are totally going for improvement and be aware that the consumer will not tolerate errors. If something negative happens, it will reflect on the entire sector.
  2. Communicate an unambiguous, clear story.
    Transmit it to the consumer through various channels
  3. Do not equate a quality label with a premium product.
    In the meantime, consumers consider reliable quality self-evident.
  4. Involve the consumer in what you do and let him understand the ‘why’ himself.
    Make the consumer aware of how that piece of meat got to his plate so that he starts to respect the product.