1. Apparel & Fashion: An Industry Snapshot

Our recent report on the state of the apparel & fashion industry explores consumer sentiment towards online and social media shopping. Using QuestBrand data, we rank the leading fashion brands by brand equity and growth. Here’s what we found:

  • More than half (67%) of young consumers (ages 18-34) have purchased a fashion item (e.g., clothing accessory) directly from social media.
  • However, not all young consumers are comfortable sharing personal information needed for these purchases with social media companies, such as body measurements (52%) and payment information (39%).
  • More than half have used, or are willing to try, some of these emerging shopping methods: try-before-you-buy (63%), recommendations (e.g., sizing, fit, colors) based on a body scan (53%), and virtual try-on (52%).

Takeaway: Fashion and apparel brands are increasingly turning to online sales channels. While the in-store experience cannot be overlooked, brands must be ready to invest in social media and online to connect with consumers where they are.

2. Parents Place Education Above Political Allegiance

In a recent study conducted on behalf of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, we examine how parents feel about education, how their views on education have changed since the start of COVID, and whether a candidate’s education platform could impact parents’ voting:

  • Unwilling to compromise: Parents say safety (77%) and quality of instruction (58%) are absolutely essential when it comes to their child’s education.
  • Families want options: 93% agree that one size does not fit all when it comes to education, and 86% want options other than the school their child is assigned to attend.
  • The majority (83%) of parents say education is a more important political issue for them now than it was in the past.
  • Education is the second most important political issue (behind taxes) for parents who vote in both federal and state/local elections.
  • Education over politics: Eighty-two percent of parents are willing to vote outside of their political party based on a candidate’s education platform.

Takeaway: Parents have become more involved in their child(ren)’s education after getting a front-row seat into the classroom during COVID. No longer content to sit on the sidelines, parents want the freedom to choose the best education option for their child(ren). Many are ready to use the power of their vote to enact change.

3. COVID: A Catalyst for Reimagining the QSR Experience

COVID changed the way customers interact with quick-service restaurants (QSRs), stressing the need for expediency and convenience. Panera took this as an opportunity to reimagine customers’ interaction with their brand. Using QuestBrand data, we see how Panera’s revamp provides a new vision for the QSR experience.

  • Convenience is king: With convenience (56%) a top factor for QSR customers, it remained central to Panera’s redesign plans – maximizing efficiency with two drive-thru lanes and multiple ordering options.
  • Design cannot be an afterthought: While other QSRs decreased in-restaurant seating in favor of drive-thru expansion, only Panera paid equal attention to improving their interior space. With a total reimagining, the new interior feels like a cozy, local bakery with exposed ovens.
  • A logo that reflects company values: Panera simultaneously released a vibrant green logo that emphasized the brand’s warmth, hospitality, and use of wholesome ingredients.
  • The numbers don’t lie: Panera’s comprehensive rebranding paid off with a brand equity increase from March (62.2) to May (67.2) 2021. Most impressively, consumers reported being more likely to purchase from (usage +8.9) and recommend (+5.1) the QSR after the brand’s reboot.

Takeaway: Panera’s success shows how a well-executed redesign can add brand value. Rather than tweaking their actions to meet customers’ changing behaviors, they boldly overhauled their service and design. Panera’s actions make the brand a trend-setter in the QSR space, reimagining what the QSR experience can be.


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