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FROM COVID-19 TO COVID 2021

The following information is taken from learnings across WARC, Foresight Factory and McKinsey.

As we all know the Covid-19 pandemic is having a massive impact on how we live our own lives, how the brands we work with are received in the world and how we do business.

What we need to accept and think as we move towards 2021 are

  • Digital Acceleration (and digital acceptance) will continue to exponentially change our lives and our businesses.  Are we tapping into the new opportunities this presents?
  • Whether or not new behaviours will stick is not is really going to depend not on the number of days it take to form a new habit, but on how satisfying we find them.  60 days of making sourdough bread didn’t make it a lifelong habit for most of its early zealots!
  • We need to work together to think about and prepare for the new decision journeys consumers are making.

BEHAVIOURS 

Each of the following five areas of our lives have and will see significant changes.  While none of these are going to surprise you, as marketers and communicators, we should be considering how our brands can find opportunities within or defend against these changes.

  • WORK
    • Increased unemployment.
    • Greater divide between workers (and ultimately society).  The greatest hit in unemployment has been those on lower incomes, proven by the fact that despite the rise in those out of work (both unemployed and on the pandemic payment), the tax take was only down by 2%.
    • Continued remote working.  42% of Irish full time workers (55% in Dublin).
    • An accompanying decline in on the go consumption.
    • Managing personal and career development whilst working remotely is a challenge.
  • SHOPPING & CONSUMPTION 
    • Reduced shopping frequency but larger baskets
    • Increase in local/closer to home shopping 
    • Preference for trusted brands 
    • Decline in discretionary spending 
    • Growth in online shopping (most evident in older shoppers)
    • Polarisation re sustainability – e.g. looking for everything packaged, but want recycled/biodegradable packaging
  • HEALTH & WELL-BEING 
    • Focus on health and hygiene 
    • Increased consciousness of fitness (not necessarily always practiced)
    • Increase in outdoor activities 
    • Remote health consultations e.g. e-doctor etc
  • HOME 
    • The multi-purpose home: restaurant, cinema, gym, workplace etc.
    • Operating 24/7.
    • From 1-2 meals a day, to 3 meals and snacks.
    • Many homes being reconfigured/repurposed to facilitate a new (indefinite) way of living.
  • PLAY & ENTERTAINMENT 
    • Increase in at home entertainment with an accompanying fall in out of home entertainment and socialising.
    • Growth in digital entertainment.
    • Reinvestment in in-home entertainment/subscriptions as other ‘entertainment’ spends are prohibited.  In the USA, Disney Plus achieved in 5 months, what took Netflix 7 years.

TRENDS

We subscribe to The Foresight Factory, a Global Consumer Trends Agency, and below you can see the trends they anticipate rising and falling under and after Covid-19.

Life under – and after – COVID-19

I have selected two which I feel are particularly relevant to most brands and businesses, as we sit in the middle of Phase 3 with the threat of Phases 4 and 5 hanging over us.

TREND 1: BUILDING RESILIENCE 

In an uncertain world, in a Pandemic that if nothing else is unpredictable, consumers crave personal confidence, thinking about how to be prepared and ready for whatever that unknown future throws at them.  Putting in place behaviours that make them feel more in control, from stockpiling toilet paper and frozen goods at the start of the pandemic, to the early Christmas shopping and precautionary savings that are more prevalent 7 months in. 

As brands and communicators, how can we help consumers feel more in control, safer and more hopeful and confident about the future?  

  • Preparation & Planning will be valued, what expertise or guidance can our brands impart?  From home renovation to healthier eating.
  • Can we help people stay on track?  From saving goals, to fitness, to new hobbies?
  • How do we help them stay strong?  E.g. connected to services, friends/family etc.

TREND 2: LIGHT RELIEF

Consumers are feeling the pressure of being cooped up at home, too many hours on Zoom calls, lack of the relief valve of getting out and socialising, worried about the future, all of which make them look for leisure activities that are not especially taxing.   This creates a rising need for light-hearted content and escapism as a counter to the increasing intensity of their everyday lives.

Brands should be thinking about (where appropriate)

  • Being sources of distraction and positivity.
  • Creating virus free zones.  Many influences are already making this promise to their followers.
  • How they can soothe rather than inform.
  • How they can bring fun, hope and joy into the lives of their consumers through comms?

Now more than ever, we need to tap into our own resilience and find ways to turn this pandemic to our advantage by making sure that we are informed with the right information, interpreted correctly to take on 2021 and win.

If you want further information, please contact any of your team in Boys+Girls or contact me at margaret.gilsenan@boysandgirls.ie.