Rising prices, sustainability consciousness highlights need to rethink brand differentiation — PwC

COMPANIES need to re-evaluate their brand value propositions as consumers grapple with increasing prices and become more conscious of companies’ environmental and social impacts, consulting firm PwC Philippines said.

“One of the lessons the past years has taught us is that focusing on profitability is no longer enough. As consumers deepen their understanding of environmental impact and societal well-being, so should companies broaden their definition of brand value and overall purpose,” PwC Philippines Consulting Managing Partner Veronica R. Bartolome said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Such and many other pandemic-induced consumer behavior changes have pushed companies to adapt their operations from being sales-focused to being customer-focused through reshaping of portfolios and brand innovation,” she added.

Rakesh Mani, PwC Southeast Asia consulting partner and consumer markets leader, said that “winning companies” will prioritize greater focus and flexibility amid disruption and uncertainty.

“This means taking a sharper position on one’s differentiating capabilities while gaining a deep understanding into demand patterns across shoppers and channels, planning and forecasting processes, supply chain realities, and the workforce and digital infrastructure that bring it all together,” he said.

PwC was discussing the findings of its 2023 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, which covered 9,180 consumers across 25 territories, including 212 respondents from the Philippines.

The PwC’s Philippine report, released in March, indicated that 56% of consumers do not share more personal data that they need to, while 43% opt out from receiving communications from companies, while 43% either manage or rejected data privacy terms presented to them while shopping online.

“With hybrid working on its way out in the Philippines, and in-office work being the norm again, the resulting changes to mobility patterns skews channel preferences (e.g., quick grocery run vs. pantry filling) and formats (planned vs. impulse),” it added.

Meanwhile, the report found that 91% of consumers in the Philippines are open to spending more on recycled materials, 90% for locally sourced products, 88% for ethically produced products, 83% for cruelty-free ingredients, and 80% for items produced by “reputable companies” with ethical practices.

“Despite a planned spend reduction and a challenging economic environment, consumers say they are still willing to pay more for sustainable product types,” PwC said.

“For companies, this could mean reshaping their portfolios whether through innovation or mergers and acquisitions (M&A),” it added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave