Fran Walton writes:

Earlier this week, we presented our latest research on the post-recessiom UK consumer, Feeling The Pinch 6, to clients in London. The overall message is one of gloom: 43% of consumers think the UK economy will get worse in 2012, and 46% plan to spend less. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that brands can do.

So here are our new 5Ps for marketers:

  1. Protection. How can you reduce the risks of purchase, or  help consumers manage risk in other parts of their lives? 63% of consumers now agree, ‘ I find myself thinking twice before making even the smallest purchase’. An interesting example is the German peer-to-peer insurance company, Friendsurance, which reduces insurance costs (and fraudulent claims) by letting people create groups of 15 people to help cover an insurance claim.
  2. Practical. How can you empower people and help them to be self-reliant? 58% of UK consumers agree that ‘Since the recession I feel a greater need to be as self-sufficient as possible’. One response, from the Spanish food company Gallina Blanca: if you send them a a list of the ingredients you happen to have at home, they’ll suggest a recipe.
  3. Purpose. How can you help consumers make new connections or make living with less a positive experience? 53% of UK consumers now agree that ‘since the recession I have learnt how many things I can do without and still be happy’. Sainsbury’s ‘living well for less’ campaign captures this well. It’s not just about the food. It also means making the most of the good things in life, sharing moments or maybe cooking memorable meals together. And without paying the earth.
  4. Permission. How can you help consumers feel like they are achieving something worthwhile? Perhaps depressingly, 53% agree that ‘some of the goals I had before the recession are now probably out of reach’. Say it ain’t so! The French business Onefeat has a model where you set some goals, or ‘missions’, and get support from your friends to help you achieve them.
  5. Pride. How can you help people take pride in small things or help people to be proud to be part of their community? In our qual research for Feeling The Pinch 6, one of our respondents observed that ‘the value of working with your hands seems to have been forgotten about’, also a theme of Matthew Crawford’s surprise best-seller. Transform Your Patch, launched in January. in which Pepsico and Britvic have teamed up with the charity Groundwork, is an ambitious scheme to create new parks and playgrounds and football pitches from waste land across the UK.

Of course, a lot of these are small things, but one of the lessons of the recession is that small things matter. The other lesson is that it’s more important than ever to be able to stand in the shoes of your customers and see the world through their eyes.

The picture at the top of this post is from the Swedish co-operative Lantmannen, which has a scheme which pairs singles to share leftover food. It is used with thanks. To find out more about Feeling The Pinch, and our research on consumer attitudes to the economy in Britain and Ireland, please contact Fran Walton

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