As the cost of living crisis continues to impact households across the UK, new research by media agency UM underscores the growing expectation for brands to provide support and guidance to consumers navigating financial challenges.

The study reveals that while seven out of ten UK adults believe brands should play a pivotal role in addressing these issues, over half feel that brands could do more to assist them.

In the survey of 2,000 UK consumers, retail and finance sectors emerged as the most promising in terms of offering support amidst the cost-of-living crisis. However, only a quarter of respondents perceived these sectors to be doing enough. Utilities, automotive, and property businesses ranked lower, with a notable 13% of participants suggesting they were providing adequate assistance.

Call for Proactive Engagement

The research highlights a consumer appetite for financial guidance from brands, with three-quarters expressing openness to receiving financial tips. Notably, single parents and young adults aged 18-24 showed even higher receptivity, with 85% and 87% respectively welcoming financial advice.

Kim Lambert, Group Insights Director at UM, stresses the importance of recognising the mental health implications of financial pressures, noting that the study underscores the significant impact such stressors can have.

In response to these findings, mental health charity CALM and MoneySuperMarket have launched the Money Talks report, aiming to tackle the stigma surrounding discussions about financial concerns. The report aims to provide support and resources to individuals experiencing financial stress, fostering open conversations and breaking down barriers to seeking help.

Wendy Robinson, Head of Services at CALM, emphasizes the need for brands to actively support consumers during these challenging times, urging businesses to listen to consumer needs and stand up for their interests.

Consumer Preferences and Campaign Strategy

Consumers express a desire for brands to focus on providing value and offering practical advice during the cost-of-living crisis. The research suggests that 61% of consumers prefer brands to highlight their value proposition, while around half seek practical advice, such as tips on saving money.

Kim Lambert concludes by stressing the importance of responsible advertising practices, especially considering the widespread financial stress in society. She underscores the need for brands to understand consumer preferences and communicate sensitively to avoid exacerbating existing pressures on mental health.

With consumer expectations evolving amidst economic uncertainties, brands face the imperative to align their strategies with the changing landscape, prioritising consumer well-being and delivering value-driven solutions.