Ermete Longari

Interview with Ermete Longari, Business Development at Cint

What was the socio-economic reaction of Italians to the crisis due to the recent geopolitical instability?

All the ongoing factors (the war, inflation, energy crisis, etc.) have contributed to weakened confidence in the economy among Italians, and in most cases have pushed people to become hyper-aware of price above all else. This is true for both businesses and individuals.

For instance, with fewer sources of energy available in Italy compared to the rest of Europe, families and businesses are paying a premium for energy on top of increased costs for living essentials across the board. In the near term, that means price is taking priority over things like quality or sustainability, which had been growing in importance to consumers and businesses alike. And, depending on what happens with the forecasted recession and the ongoing war, these price conscious behaviors could turn from temporary solutions to long-term habits. The bright side is that Italians are known for their resilience and ability to find creative solutions under pressure. So, while confidence is low right now, there’s always an undercurrent of determination that the country will get through even the toughest of times.

What actions and interventions do you think are useful for companies to manage the current situation of crisis and uncertainty?

With plenty of uncertainty still on the horizon, brands should continue to lean on the practices that have helped them navigate the last two years. To start, building flexibility into all their plans is key. Being able to pivot quickly based on what’s happening in the world makes navigating uncertain times much more manageable.

In addition to flexibility, businesses should also keep a closer eye on their target audience. Uncertainty breeds a lot change, and the businesses that are constantly listening to consumers and using tools to extract consumer insights to understand sentiment or behavior changes will be better equipped to adapt and act if necessary.

What initiatives can Brands take to enhance the “Customer Journey” and respond to new consumer needs?

The customer journey is not only changing rapidly given the new avenues for reaching consumers, but it’s also increasingly unique to the individual. Brands need to keep this in mind when thinking about how to create a better experience for customers.

Understanding the unique groups of people in your target audience and tailoring each touchpoint based on each group’s specific habits, interests, or needs takes a little more time, but the effort is worth it.  To do this, brands should engage their research teams and frequently seek insights.

In the past, segmenting audiences and gaining a deeper understanding of them through traditional research was costly and time consuming, but that’s no longer the case. Improving the research process with technology has made it faster, more efficient and more cost effective to gather insights. This is true for even smaller, more targeted projects — meaning there’s no longer any reason to sacrifice a personalized customer journey.