Empower your customer
According to our lockdown panel, seven in 10 don’t intend on spending a single penny on holidays abroad this year. Instead, they’re investing their time in wholesome activities such as, surprise, surprise, baking, with ‘bread’ six times as likely to appear in social posts these last few months.
It’s but one example of how creativity and adaptability have come to the forefront as people work around the confines of lockdown life, making the most of what they do have and thinking laterally when it comes to keeping themselves occupied by embracing a ‘DIY’ mindset.
Brands should, therefore, empower their customers to ‘do it themselves’, allowing them to recreate their own experiences at home. A number of brands are doing a great job here, whether it’s McDonald’s, Nando’s and Pret a Manger releasing their top-secret recipes or Brew Dog creating virtual pubs that people can socialise in from home.
More than ever before, recreating these experiences in their own safe habitat is so important for consumers, so even if it’s not driving immediate revenue, these empowered customers will be sure to feel a stronger brand affinity in the long run.
Buoy community spirit
According to our report, the newfound sense of community people feel has really heightened during these times, with the word ‘neighbour’ eight times more likely to appear in social posts. Those involved in our panel feel less focussed on their own individual concerns and more on how their actions affect others, finding joy in acts of generosity and kindness, whether that’s signing up to be an NHS volunteer, donating to charities or even adopting a new pet which has, interestingly, also boomed.
Brands, therefore, need to ditch the mindset that consumerism is solely individualistic. Customers aren’t thinking of ‘me, me, me’ anymore, they’re engaging with brands that benefit entire communities and groups instead. The likes of Leon, EE, John Lewis Partnership and Wagamama, amongst hundreds of others, for example, are offering discounts to key workers, donating items to hospitals, and creating product lines whose proceeds go to charities.
Supermarkets have also done a good job of highlighting their value within communities and showing they genuinely care. They’ve been praised for going above and beyond to look after the most vulnerable in society and, of our respondents who named a brand that they thought responded well to COVID-19, over half (59%) mentioned a supermarket. Customers are also keen to see brands display a strong sense of care within their organisations, as well as in their consumer-facing strategies. The vast majority of customers (86%) agree that looking after staff is the most important thing for brands to prioritise during the pandemic.
Whilst lockdown measures continue to slowly ease, people will appreciate their friends and family even more and this heightened feeling of compassion and empathy towards others is a sentiment that’s here to stay. According to our research, two thirds of customers are keen to maintain a greater sense of togetherness in a post-pandemic world, so brands really need to consider how this will affect consumer behaviours and desires going forward.
More than ever, consumers want to invest financially and emotionally in brands that understand the pursuit for a greater meaning in their lives, whether that’s offering a higher purpose or empowering people to recalibrate their own. Consumer needs have shifted dramatically and will continue to evolve from here depending on how things play out. Brands should remain considerate of the guidance and support they can provide during this time, creating meaningful engagement with their existing and prospective customers, both now and long-term.