The IMF predicts that one-third of the world economy will be in recession in 2023. Consumer confidence is plummeting, prices are spiralling, and we’re undoubtedly looking at another year of fundamental and perhaps permanent change in consumer behaviour.

It follows that businesses are refocussing their strategies. Many will be tempted to move into a protection mindset: cutting costs, halting innovation, slowing down ESG initiatives and stashing budgets.

But history tells us the businesses who thrive in these periods of turmoil are those that do the opposite. They shift their focus to improving the customer experience. They invest in marketing and innovation. They look for ways to diversify their revenue streams.


How?

They get close to customer needs and behaviours, and position their brands for success by betting on the right strategies for growth and retention. Our clients tell us their online research communities are one of the best ways of doing that. Here’s why:

  1. Closeness: The number one reason brands build a community capability. Customer closeness allows brands to build empathy and understanding, and to optimise products and services. As a result, those brands stay relevant to customers’ needs, and remain in their lives. Communities are also a great way to bring known insight to life.
  2. Connected: We live in a data-rich world and communities help create an ecosystem of joined-up insights. Fusing transactional, behavioural, profiling, attitudinal and cultural data helps to fuel a holistic, powerful understanding of customer behaviour and brand opportunity.
  3. Diverse voices: It’s a fact that diversity, equity, and inclusion make businesses stronger. Online communities allow decision-makers to hear different voices, and as a result, they enable brands to build better products, services, and experiences. We help brands access all types of audience, in communities and beyond – and bring together wider perspectives and CRM data to fuel idea, opinions, and business success.
  4. Agility: Checking in and getting customer feedback in hours and days, rather than weeks and months, can be the make-or-break capability that helps optimise strategic decision making.
  5. Flexibility: We don’t just use a leading research technology platform; we deliver flexibility right across the Verve experience:
    1. Approaches: Leading-edge digital qual, quant and video tools to capture data –plus analytics, dashboarding, video editing and all-important human interpretation to make sense of it.
    2. Business challenges: Our expertise, tools and approaches mean we’re set up to partner with business workstreams ranging from brand to innovation, CX to UX, and deep customer immersion.
    3. Service: We offer every flavour of option, from self-service to end-to-end full-service.

We’ve spent over a decade running communities, and clients have told us from the start just how much value they bring. Communities create massive cost efficiencies, prevent brands from making mistakes or bad investments, make insight more accessible to the business than traditional research tools, and become a way of delivering more insight for less investment. They also consistently improve the value clients derive from other programmes like brand and CX tracking.

Over the coming weeks we’re going to tell you why each of the benefits shared above should be a priority for businesses in 2023, how Verve communities are specifically placed to deliver against these needs, and how our clients are already benefitting

To talk more about using a Verve online community build to create certainty in unpredictable times get in touch