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The power of positivity: Why now is the time for upbeat branded content

Happy shoppers-1 A LinkedIn post caught my attention this week. It detailed a new phenomenon dubbed the "vibecession”, wherein despite a relatively robust global economy, a significant portion of the population remains stressed about their finances. I guess it’s hardly surprising given our current historically high energy costs and inflation rising at rates not seen for many years; rent in many cities has also risen significantly post-pandemic.

Basically, we’re all noticing that everyday items are way more expensive – just last week, social media was set ablaze thanks to the rising cost of olive oil, with discount supermarket Aldi trying to make fun out of Sainsbury’s pricing.

According to the survey conducted by CNBC, roughly half of adults in various countries, including the UK, express concern about their personal finances. The primary source of worry? Inflation and rising prices. This economic uncertainty has a profound impact on consumer sentiment, influencing their purchasing behaviour and brand perceptions.

The constant bombardment of negative news and economic uncertainties has left many of us feeling overwhelmed and anxious about our personal finances. However, amidst these challenges, there lies a unique opportunity for brands to step in and spread some much-needed positivity through their content. But why now? And how can brands effectively communicate positivity in their marketing strategies? 

Positive signs in the UK economy

Let’s start with why now the time is right. Despite challenges posed by inflation, there are encouraging signs in the UK economy. In February 2024, the core UK CPIH annual inflation rate saw a decrease to 4.8%, the lowest it has been since February 2022. Additionally, consumer spending experienced a boost in March 2024, helped by early Easter bank holidays. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG's sales monitor, year-on-year sales increased by 3.5%, exceeding inflation, with key drivers including food & drink, health & beauty, and gardening supplies.

There's also good news on the energy front. The UK energy price cap, which sets a maximum rate per unit that can be charged to customers for their energy use, fell by 12.3% on the previous quarter from 1 April to 30 June 2024. This reduction in energy prices provides consumers with some much-needed relief, freeing up disposable income that can be spent on other goods and services.

How to communicate positivity

So, how can brands effectively communicate positivity in their marketing strategies? One approach is through authentic storytelling. By sharing genuine and relatable stories, brands can create emotional resonance with their audience. Whether through inspirational quotes, motivational anecdotes, or feel-good testimonials, genuine storytelling can leave a lasting impression.

Research has shown that positive emotions not only influence purchasing decisions but also lead to increased brand affinity and advocacy. Essentially, brands that consistently deliver positive experiences and messages are more likely to resonate with their target audience and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

The key here is authenticity – one of my 5 trends back in January. By crafting authentic, uplifting, and ideally socially conscious content, brands can not only connect with their audience on a deeper level but also contribute to a more positive cultural landscape – something Gen Z and millennials in particular crave.