Clearing the Bar: Holding Brands to Higher Standards

Margo Jay
5 min readFeb 24, 2021

Most of us Marketers know about increasing “value shopping” among our customers. Millennials and Gen Z have been driving this trend. They’re (seemingly) more socially conscious, and they want us to be too.

Even though we’ve already noted this trend, though, the pandemic has kicked it into high gear. Here’s what we’ll need to focus on to clear the bar with our most loyal customers in the next normal.

Brand Values have become table-stakes to compete!

The pandemic has put a spotlight on how brands interact with the people around them. Our customers are paying more attention to how we react. Are we working to keep our employees safe? Are we helping them financially? What are we delivering to our communities?

That community focus is a big one. People have become hyper-aware of the local in the last few months. There’s been a huge push to shop local or buy local or even to support local restaurants.

People are looking to our brands and saying, “What are you doing?” And are looking to have that question answered.

Like human behavior, words without action are meaningless!

More than that, our customers are also skeptical of us. There are plenty of brands who talk big talk, but they don’t back it up. The pandemic has put renewed focus on not just what we say we’re doing but our actions too.

In other words, if we say we support our local communities, then we’d better back it up. The last thing we want to do is say we’ll do something, then never follow through.

As brands then, we have to follow the cardinal rule of show, don’t tell. That’s usually given out as writing advice. Don’t tell the audience how a character feels-show them instead.

Why? It makes people believe what the character is going through. And the same is true when it comes to taking real world action. Our brands can say we’ll donate to a climate change effort or we’ll put social distancing in place in the office. But if we don’t actually follow through, we’re going to find ourselves on trial in the court of public opinion.

One brand’s failure becomes…

Margo Jay

Marketing & Brand Expert | Customer Empath | Master Strategist | Deeper Insight | Finding extraordinary value | Driving competitive advantage |