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Empathic Pricing Helps Consumers Cope

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International  March 20, 2014

Takeaways: Latin American consumers are tired of just getting discounts. They want to know that companies understand and care about the challenges they face. The trends in these countries are applicable globally.

Latin American consumers (in Central and South America) are feeling the pain of economic realities in their countries caused by traffic congestion, diet, work-life stress. A new trend reported by trendwatching.com is Empathic Pricing.

Consumers are tired of just getting discounts. They are choosing brands which help address their pain points with alternative pricing (Empathic Pricing). According to Edelman Brandshare research (October 2013), “87% of Brazilians value brands that help them achieve their goals, and 8 out of 10 consumers say they would purchase from a company that supports good causes and has fair prices, rather than just offering discounts.”

Consumers are tired of just getting discounts. They want to know that companies recognize and care about the pain they are experiencing – and offer assistance in dealing with it. Below are some creative examples. How might you implement something similar in your organization to win over more customers? Would any of these ideas make sense for you?

Pain:  São Paulo – to ease traffic congestion between 5 and 8 pm on central roads, the government instituted a policy that only allows cars with certain license plates on the roads during those times. That means those who have to wrong license plates must wait until after 8 pm to head home from work.
Empathic Price idea: The PlayArte movie theater offered a discount on tickets between 5 and 7 pm to drivers affected by the government initiative.

Pain: 72% of Chileans are trying to lose weight but they don’t have time in their day to fit in exercise.
Empathic Price idea: Coca Cola outfitted a taxi with bicycle pedals as part of the Movimiento es Felicidad campaign (Movement is Happiness). Passengers that use the pedals to exercise while they ride earned a fare discount.

Pain: For Brazilians armed robbery when leaving a restaurant is a real threat because robbers assume they and the restaurants will be holding cash.
Empathic Price idea: The Twister Pub in Rio de Janeiro started offering a 5% discount to patrons who paid with credit cards instead of cash, figuring it would reduce the robbery threat once robbers realized patrons weren’t carrying cash. The Pub’s monthly revenue increased 15%.  

Pain: Growing old is painful. Period!
Empathic Price idea: A Venezuela-based optician launched a 3-month promotion offering discounts relative to the age of the customer – 55% off for those age 55; 70% off for those age 70, etc.

Pain: Brazilian summers can be glorious – or too hot. When it’s too hot, getting cool is the main focus.
Empathic Price idea:  a Brazilian etailer offered daily discounts on summer wear, air conditioners, and other “cooler” items equivalent to the high temperature of the day.

While these are examples of Latin American trends that brands are stepping up to address, they have applications globally. The keys are to recognize the consumer pain points occurring in your own area, and think of creative ways to address them. Get personal with your customers. Ask them for input, and once you start down this path, don’t be surprised if they turn to you again when they experience yet another pain point.

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