Inside Mission North’s Consumer Practice: Brand Affinity, Cultural Relevance and Authenticity

Our mission: To bring brand values to life to connect with consumers and make an impact.

Our goal: To help companies build brand love and create relevant and emotional connections with consumers to drive affinity, loyalty and business results.

Our current clients include

We have also worked with:

How we help our clients:

Every Company Has Consumers, and Those Consumers Want to Buy From Brands They Love

Every company has a consumer story to tell, whether it's B2C selling directly to consumers or B2B2C with business-to-business selling to enterprises who in turn sell to consumers. However, reaching consumer audiences is harder than ever, with new media publications and social platforms launching every day vying for everyone’s already limited attention.

The difficulty in communications is further complicated by the breakneck speed at which consumer behaviors continually evolve. Whether it's where consumers source news or which issues matter most to them, everything is in a constant state of flux. We know that no two people are exactly alike, so there can be no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to consumer marketing.

Our Consumer practice collaborates with companies of all sizes across industries to give them a voice in relevant cultural conversations and enable them to engage with their audiences in the right place at the right time. Drawing on deep knowledge of the issues consumers care about today—combined with foresight into what they will care about tomorrow—Mission North brings our clients’ corporate mission and values to life to better connect with consumers and make an impact in the market. Our audience-first, data-driven approach raises brand awareness and builds brand affinity at a time when consumers are more skeptical of businesses than ever.

<split-lines>"We know that no two people are exactly alike, so there can be no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to consumer marketing."<split-lines>

Fostering Trust Through Authenticity

More than 80% of consumers consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions and people are willing to pay more to purchase from brands they trust. Most businesses think consumers trust them, yet few actually do. Establishing trust requires authenticity and people can sniff out inauthenticity from a mile away. 

Companies are picking up on consumers’ desire for genuineness and pivoting their approach towards being more real, and we’re even seeing this on social media with the popularity of the photo-sharing BeReal app. Standing out in this highly scrutinized environment and crowded 24/7 news cycle requires more than just following the pack—it demands honesty and originality.

We helped UKG successfully navigate the shift to remote work during the pandemic by leading with an open and authentic voice. We also partnered with UPSIDE Foods to introduce consumers to the complex topic of cultured meat in a direct transparent way, which generated social buzz and media coverage in top-tier outlets like Forbes, NPR and The Wall Street Journal

Another critical step in building brand trust is for companies to walk the walk with their values, supporting the issues their customers care about. Consumers today are belief-driven buyers who want brands to deliver on societal issues. We’ve seen what can happen when companies are perceived as being too slow to take action, like the criticism several U.S. companies incurred for not immediately ceasing operations in Russia in the wake of the conflict with Ukraine. 

When done right, like REI’s long-standing #OptOutside campaign—which personified the company’s passion for the outdoors and bucked convention by giving retail employees the day off on Black Friday—brands taking values-based action can do more than drive trust and sales, it can create a movement.

<split-lines>"Most businesses think consumers trust them, yet few actually do. Establishing trust requires authenticity and people can sniff out inauthenticity from a mile away."<split-lines>

Generating Brand Loyalty 

Many marketers today are focused on attracting Millennials but Gen Z's spending potential is on the rise, and we can’t forget that Generation Alpha will soon be entering their teens and shopping for themselves. Businesses need to start connecting with these younger generations now since establishing those relationships and building loyalty requires time. 

When thinking about where to best reach consumers, an important first step is to look at where they are. Over 50% of consumers turn to their mobile phones before accessing desktop computers or visiting brick-and-mortar locations when looking for information or items to buy, with Millennials and Gen Z leading the charge. Nearly one-third of those surveyed purchased a new product they discovered on social media, and younger consumers’ purchasing decisions are heavily swayed by social media influencer recommendations. 

Breaking through all the noise requires a precise approach, highly targeted towards each individual and tailored to their unique preferences. We craft omnichannel PR programming with these insights in mind and have a proven track record of driving meaningful engagement for clients, like helping garner widespread earned media coverage for Honey around its partnership with NBA star Kawhi Leonard and Greenlight during its Super Bowl ad spot. 

Shaping the Future of Consumer Trends  

At Mission North, we partner with the innovators and trendsetters shaping the future with cutting-edge technology and creative new solutions to age-old problems. After decades of geeking out over smart products and services and obsessively following pop culture and mainstream trends, we have a keen understanding of when and how to position our clients at this critical intersection. 

In recent years, we’ve helped companies like Gemini build consumer trust in cryptocurrency and Canva make design accessible for everyone. We’ve also tracked the meteoric rise and the implications of buy now/pay later offerings, direct-to-consumer subscriptions, and the latest spin on virtual reality with the metaverse. As we look to the future, we expect to see increased consumer attention on Web3, sustainability and wellness, and we’re charting the course for our clients to stay ahead of these trends.

We tap into the cultural zeitgeist and connect our clients to buzzy trends and milestones in creative ways, like shining a spotlight on L’Oreal at the CES tech event to shift the company narrative from beloved beauty brand to trusted technology innovator. This does more than just drive consumer awareness, education and comprehension—it improves brand reputation, changes behaviors  and increases sales. While our clients are focusing on disrupting their industries with new offerings, we’re hard at work getting them the credit and recognition they deserve. From crafting messaging and content to concepting creative activations and driving multifaceted media and digital strategies, we help our clients reach their consumers and reshape conversations.

<split-lines>"While our clients are focusing on disrupting their industries with new offerings, we’re hard at work getting them the credit and recognition they deserve."<split-lines>

Collaboration is Key

Our knack for understanding the consumer mindset and key industry and media relationships, coupled with our quantitative and qualitative research tools, provide unique insight into where, when, and how to engage with customers and enables us to advise our clients on the right approach. Whether clients want to highlight product launches and brand milestones or customer stories and data points, we contextualize company news around the hot topics key audiences are invested in to establish a positive lasting connection.

From emerging startups to established Fortune 500 companies, we work hand-in-hand with executives and stakeholders from communications, marketing, sales, customer success and other functions to uncover and combine the necessary ingredients to tell a great story. We also brainstorm with our colleagues across the Media practice, Content Studio, and Digital/Integrated Studio to shape that story for earned, owned and paid channels. We then work with media, influencers, market researchers, video producers and other communities to bring that story to life. 

As with consumers, the relationship between each of these partners hinges on trust and we believe in transparency and creativity to help establish that confidence. We’re successful when our clients are successful, which translates to increases in consumer awareness and affinity. It also means generating business impact and building brand fans and evangelists for life.

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Inside Mission North’s Consumer Practice: Brand Affinity, Cultural Relevance and Authenticity