5WPR managing partner and EVP of global strategy Leslie Bishop says that when the agency put together its 2024 Consumer Culture Report "two big categories" came out on top: electronics and technology, and health and wellness. "These are the categories that people, our consumers think that they are going to splurge on, and spend all their money on."

But those consumer expectations don't tell the whole story, Bishop says. "What we found is what people are actually going to be spending their money on are almost in some ways the direct opposite," she tells Simon. "So, travel and entertainment at the top and then dining."

To effectively connect with consumers on both these levels requires "speaking to the emotional benefits, the emotional sort of basis that consumers are coming from. For example, we might suggest a strategy that leans into the idea that we understand it's hard to keep up with the changing technology and that everybody wants to be first there, but that sometimes it's important to disconnect. And so, travel and entertainment are a really great counterbalance to that. And so, we can bring all of those things into a message depending on the client."

Word of mouth remains a central strategy for getting out the message about potential purchases—but Bishop says it's not a static strategy. "What we found is that word of mouth used to be really reliant on sort of distant referrals. You know, whether it was a review on any given site or review of the product or service or whether it was an influencer. But this year, instead of it just being word of mouth, from any sort of source out there, people are really looking for trusted word of mouth. So that looks like your close friends, your family, your coworkers."

She also tells Simon that the in-store experience is making a comeback. "In the same way that we're looking for trusted referrals, we're also seeing that people want to take advice. If it is something that you may need counsel on, whether it's a shade of foundation or the fit of a pair of pants or the styling of an outfit, or being able to compare technology side by side, there really is nothing better than going in-store, having that personalized experience and really speaking to an expert."

But no matter what platform you are using to try to spur sales, Bishop says "it's important to just have your brand show up across all platforms in a way that feels personalized and authentic. So make sure the experience is up for that challenge of being really seen across multiple touchpoints and by really trusted sources."

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