POV: Brand or Relationship as Simplifier of Choice During the Pandemic

I will be adding a new feature series to my blog. This will now be the fourth in addition to my articles, interviews, and conversations, where I occasionally post my practical research discoveries. This new point-of-view (POV) format will feature two prominent marketing people per post with different views on a single topic. In our inaugural feature, I asked Sam Christopher Lim (left), President of franchise consulting firm Francorp and a 2009 Mansmith Young Market Masters Awards (YMMA) winner and Albet Buddahim (right), President of digital agency Katapult and a 2017 Mansmith Young Market Masters Awards (YMMA) winner about their opinion on branding and personal relationship during the pandemic.

After reading, feel free to share your thoughts on their views.

Q: During the pandemic, the primacy of brand and personal relationships as a simplifier of choice has continuously been tested. Many people have bought food deliveries from their friends or family members who have pivoted into the food business as their new source of livelihood. Is the concept of a brand now being replaced with personal relationships in this environment where most people work from home?

POV 1: Sam Christopher Lim:

“Trust has never been more important now. And brands have always been a strong way to convey trust.

Big brands will still have the advantage, as there is more established trust, and belief they will be following safety standards and will be consistent etc. Newer brands will have difficulty gaining scale initially as people have become less open to experimentation (as per Shakey’s experience, people are trying new flavors less and focusing on tried and tested flavors).

So for newer brands, for sure their initial opening is to build on the trust from personal relationship first. But for them to scale, it’s still the brand that will take them to the next stage. But this is nothing new as this is how most brands start anyway (personal selling, door to door selling, bazaars), except now it’s a wider reach and scale and its done thru viber and people recommending. But I think they will still need to build a brand to reach scale.”

POV 2: Albet Buddahim

“Filipino consumers are more emotional (heart/desire-based) than functional (rational-based) buyers, this will make community and social selling to continue to grow in the future.

Some of the business owners who closed their restaurant branches are our friends, part of our extended family and can even be our close relatives. Our culture sets the expectation of helping someone we know (or close to us) first by any way possible, from purchasing from them to promoting them to our network. An average account of Facebook has a network of 500 friends in the Philippines and it has become a very effective tool for selling with a high conversion rate given our “Bayanihan” (help each other from immediate family to helping the people in our community) culture.  Consuming food has now become less of the dining experience or store ambiance and has now developed into a product centric purchase with the emotional satisfaction that you have also helped a friend/family.

There is a strong need for the big companies to review their growth strategies (how can buying from them become more emotionally/culturally right), as there will be more entrepreneurs who will get their current buyers/shoppers in the future, with technologies that will link the buyers and sellers directly in a very efficient manner.”

#POV #Brand #Relationship


(Josiah Go will be running his 104th Marketing Strategy and Plans (The Best of Marketing Decision Making) seminar in September 2020, and 36th Market-Driving Strategy (Exploiting 9 Underserved and Unserved Markets) in October 2020. Please visit www.mansmith.net for details)

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