Welcome back to my weekly series, looking at the key data sources I share internally each week to support our agency leads in developing context-relevant strategies and campaigns. This week, it is notable that although there is a sense of some kind of normal life resuming, the data is starting to show we remain a long way from “normal”, while also starting to unpack the type of consumer COVID19 is developing.  As noted, this is only ever a snapshot, but I hope a valuable one. I welcome questions and suggestions about this data and / or other sources so do get in touch at kate.gomes@hkstrategies.com  

Insight 1: Although some things are resuming, we are still a long way from normal.

Experts believe many of our “normal” behaviours won’t / shouldn’t resume for a year or more (Visual Capitalist).

Consumers still see this as a time of crisis, and expect brands to acknowledge this in their communications (Kantar, Covid Barometer.)

“Beyond pricing strategies, consumers expect brands to keep advertising and acknowledge the crisis… only 14% want to see pre-pandemic ‘normal’ advertising. Two thirds of consumers are looking for help and advice - for themselves (64%) and their communities (65%) in the adverts they see and in actual brand behaviour.”

Why does this matter for communicators? There may be a tendency to revert to “normal” communications as many parts of life start to feel more as they did before the crisis. This may lead to brands ignoring the crisis, reverting to their previous focus. Consumers are not ready for this, and experts say they are right – that things will be far from normal well into 2021. The sentimental content of early in the crisis may, however, be cast aside as consumers look for brands which are helpful.

Insight 2: After 3+ months of lockdown, and c.6 months of crisis, we are starting to see new consumer behaviours emerge.

Broadly, consumers are much less concerned about brands as markers of our status (GWI, New Consumer Mindset).

“More than 50% of consumers report spending more on convenience to get what they need, with "convenience" increasingly being defined by contactless shopping, on-demand fulfilment and inventory availability.”

Why does this matter to communicators? Where once you may have focussed on brand equity and FOMO, today the “less cool” attributes of your business, such as supply chain and delivery are now front and centre of your brand story. These should sit at the heart of your messaging to meet consumer expectations.

Insight 3: We remain open to trying new things, but think our new habits are starting to stick (Kantar, Covid Barometer, Wave 5).

We are open to switching:

“45% (rising to 50%+ of households with kids) of consumers say they are prepared to keep using products and online stores they found while in lockdown.”

But our habits are starting to stick:

“More than half (52%, 57% Millennial, 55% GenZ believe they will maintain lockdown behaviours post-pandemic.”

Why does this matter to communicators? There is an ever-shortening window of time during which consumers will be abnormally open to trying new things. Now is your window to sell this as time to switch (utilising messaging of convenience as mentioned above, and safety / wellbeing as mentioned in previous blogs) before this window closes.