Pandemics are filled with dark moments but your brand should not go dark!
In many countries around the world, lockdowns and curfews are being lifted, infection rates are decreasing and economies are being rebooted. This, however, does not mean the pandemic is over, there will be no post-COVID-19 world until vaccinations are being given to people around the world.
And because of this realization, we expect a lot of consumer behaviour and consumption discovered during the peak of COVID-19 to be sustained as we enter this new phase where COVID-19 is in still under control. In the phase of COVID-19 under control, the world will enter into a recession which will put immense stress on consumer incomes.
Multiple research studies conducted between February 2020 to date have highlighted various behaviours and consumption trends impacted by COVID-19. However, we will focus on these 3 for today;
1. In-Home Everything: as people were forced to stay home for long periods, they started learning how to do things they would normally pay someone else to do. People started providing self-care services to themselves at home e.g. hair styling, they started cooking and baking more at home and in my case started cleaning their homes themselves. This Do It Yourself (DIY) movement started from a need and we expect it to last for a while.
2. Authenticity and Trust: in times of uncertainty, consumers are looking for familiarity and certainty with the brands that they buy and consume. Consumers were and are still expecting brands to provide a sense of normalcy to all that is going on. The same way they are looking for empathy from their leaders is the same way they are looking for empathy from brands.
3. Prioritizing Family & Friends: with the rapid spread of COVID-19, many people were reminded of the fragility of life and started to check in with family members and friends. Those they love and are familiar with are a source of positivity and normalcy in their lives.
Based on these 3 behaviours, here are our top tips for brands to remain relevant and keep growing
1. In-Home Everything
a. Increase your brand awareness by producing tutorial videos using your brand. For example, if you have a skin-care or makeup brand do tutorials and share on your digital marketing channels. Encourage your followers to create tutorials using your brand and share these tutorials on your channels.
b. Provide products and services that can be finished at home. For example, if your brand is a restaurant, sell a meal kit which includes all the products needed for a recipes that you serve at your restaurant. It gives people a project to work on and feeds directly into the DIY trend.
2. Authenticity and Trust:
a. Make sure what your product says it does is actually what it does. Consumers want to know where their products are from, what is in the products and how they were made.
b. The messaging of your brand is extremely crucial at this time. In April, we received a lot of emails from banks with the messaging 'we are in this together' - this is a bad, unauthentic move. A bank is not in the same scenario as people losing jobs or the millions of MSMEs who cannot rely on the CBN for a bailout. In your messaging, speak to the new reality the pandemic is going to bring to many lives and actionable steps on how your brand will assist with this transition.
3. Prioritizing Family & Friends:
a. Use your product or service to provide an opportunity for people to share experiences with their family and friends. For example, when people buy the chocolate brand 'Milka', they realize that one square of the chocolate is missing, through the packaging, they are asked to contact the brand. Once the brand is contacted, consumers are asked if they would like a free chocolate bar sent to them or a family/friend. This interactive strategy allows people to share and send love to their family and friends.
b. As lockdowns are being lifted, people have started (in some areas) or are starting to venture out of their homes. But what we find is that people are more likely to do things within their neighbourhoods and not venture out too far. If your brand is an out of home brand, make it clear with your communications that your brand is a neighbourhood brand, where their family and friends can experience your product or service in an intimate setting.
Although consumption of many categories have declined and the wallets of people are shrinking, brands need to keep finding ways to stay relevant and in tune with the experiences of their target markets.
1. Research by Gut Check titled Today's Consumer Mindset and Behavior
2. Research by Nielsen titled Navigating the COVID-19 Impact