Preparing for the New Normal; Creating Strategies for the Emerging Consumer Landscape

What does the post-COVID-19 normal look like for consumers?

How do businesses plan for what comes after COVID-19?

How does your company navigate market and consumer changes to retain relevance, and become even more relevant, to consumers?

In a ‘normal’ world, consumers form habits and become comfortable with the status quo. But in just weeks, COVID-19 has disrupted habits on a grand scale and accelerated change at an unprecedented rate. With consumers no longer able to shop whenever, wherever, and for whichever brands they prefer, they are completely reassessing their needs and priorities at both a brand and category level.  Brand scarcity, combined with a forced change in routine, has upended the landscape of the jobs/needs that people need fulfilled in their lives. As a result, their status quo – and our assumptions – are completely changing.

As such, companies must first understand these newly formed consumer needs and expectations and then re-evaluate their existing portfolios, positionings, and messages to best serve the new consumer reality – in order to ensure relevance in both this rapidly changing world, and as the new “status quo” is developed.

Corporate leadership will need to turn to insights professionals for their expertise in human understanding, consumer attitudes, and motivations. With their invaluable expertise into the human condition, insights experts have a responsibility, and an opportunity, to help businesses navigate the future and guide corporate strategy.

Quester has spent a lot of time discussing detailed strategies to help both current and potential clients understand consumer behaviors and identify research recommendations for a post-COVID-19 era. While our current reality is unlike any other in recent history, we can draw on past experiences from economic recessions and times of crisis.

Our strategic recommendations for post-COVID-19 research include:

  • Focusing on innovation: Consumer routines, behaviors, and habits will be forever changed by this global pandemic. New white spaces, opportunities, and unmet needs have been unearthed and consumers will want and need to articulate their thoughts about those needs in full detail. For instance, having been newly introduced to eCommerce, or having had to use it vastly more than usual, nearly a third of people plan to shop online more in the future. Brands need to understand how those new experiences are working — or not working — so they can best understand how to serve consumers’ new reality.
  • Re-positioning new products: Concept development for upcoming product launches will need to address which elements of their positioning are driven by the current crisis response and how various elements might resonate with consumers beyond COVID-19. For instance, half of people say things will not go back to how they were before the pandemic. Does that include not going back to the products and brands they used to love?
  • Developing creative marketing campaigns: Base brands and products currently in the market have a unique opportunity to develop “sensitive” marketing campaigns. It is critical that brands and products create these campaigns in a way that accurately captures the new distinctive attributes of their brand and speak to the ever-changing “new normal” in consumers’ lives.

At a macro level, our key message is to be proactive. Don’t underestimate the level of change occurring in your consumers’ expectations – and lives. We need to listen, support and serve consumers throughout this crisis and when we collectively create the new normal.

We are approaching a window of time where marketers and researchers can gain invaluable consumer insights that will help them better serve consumers in the new reality – and drive strategy going forward.

Let’s work together now to create a unique business strategy that will prepare for our new reality.

 

About Tim Hoskins

As president of Quester, Tim Hoskins leads a talented team of researchers, developers and strategists who are redefining the insights and strategy industry.

Under his leadership, Quester has won numerous awards including an Ogilvy Award and an EXPLOR Award. He has been instrumental in the development of award-winning creative campaigns, breakthrough product innovations and successful product launches.

Tim currently serves as the vice chairman on the Insights Association Board of Directors and was named Volunteer of the Year by the Association. He is co-chair of the national Corporate Researchers Conference and on the Collaborata Board of Advisors.

About Quester

Quester® is an award-winning consumer intelligence firm that uses proprietary artificial intelligence technologies to conduct multi-lingual qualitative research on a quantitative scale. We specialize in yielding superior consumer understanding in areas such as innovationconcept developmentbrand positioningsegmentation, and path to purchase. Our online software-based moderator and analytical software probes deep into participant thought processes, analyzes responses, and allows researchers to make wise business decisions grounded in data, and has netted Quester an EXPLOR Award from the TMRE and an Ogilvy Award from The ARF.


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