Covid Trends

Covid Trends

Study People. Examine Brands. Explore Culture.

To help brands and clients stay connected with their consumers during a time of constant change, we’re keeping an eye on some of the culture we see influencing choice. When these relevant cultural topics are amplified, we see brands garnering greater interest and loyalty.

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”  – Michael Pollan, Author + journalist + food activist

Real Food Pride

We define “real food pride” as consumer desire to eat wholesome foods, to know where food comes from, and the pride that comes with sharing that knowledge with others. The Real Food movement has been around for a while, but the newly invigorated desire to share digitally during pandemic shutdown has given it a resurgence—especially, we’ve found, for baking bread! In this arena, brands can participate by educating consumers and providing knowledge in a way that makes it easy to share.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” —Socrates

The New Paradigm

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how we live, work, play and—most importantly for brands—how we buy. For example, REI and West Elm teamed up to create an outdoor home line to help people get safely outside during lockdowns. Right now, consumers are looking to brands for assurance and information on business practices as they relate to safety, integrity and good will. This can be done in a variety of digital ways, and brands that rely heavily on point-of-purchase will need to think about fresh ways to connect with consumers.

“Discard everything that does not spark joy.” —Marie Kondo

Simple Joy

Even before COVID-19 hit, people were looking for ways to simplify their lives and return to a more simplistic way of finding joy. Now in conjunction with The New Paradigm, people are trying to navigate this collective challenge by finding joy in the reimagination of fun. Marie Kondo, the decluttering guru, deployed videos in Japan during quarantine to help people take advantage of being stuck at home to find joy. With a focus on finding joy in the simple things, brands may need to look at their products and messaging through a new lens.

“Take your pleasure seriously.” —Charles Eames

Not-Guilty Pleasures

The change in pace and the alteration of our lives has resulted in a blurring of the places and times that people indulge in “guilty pleasures”. Indulgence can be had anytime, anywhere, and these pleasures are an important part of our new way of living. Now viewed as an essential component of self-care, guilty pleasures no longer carry the guilt they once had. Watching Tiger King in the middle of the day or eating two bowls of ice cream for breakfast are all acceptable behaviors as people navigate their days. The concept of indulgence is being redefined as as more people #quarantineandchill. For brands that operate in the category of indulgence, your time is now. For those that don’t, you must focus on ways to help people unwind and enjoy the moment despite the uncertainty of the future.

“You—and only you—are in charge of your destiny. No one else should tell you what you can do. Only you can decide that.” —Mark Cuban, Entrepreneur, Shark, NBA owner

Passionate Pursuits

People aren’t necessarily looking for experts, but rather brands and people with whom they can align with who will to guide and inspire them to take action in the face of uncertainty. Specialty and craft brands open up the possibility for individuals to become their own “expert” in a sense and pursue their personal passions. MasterClass, celebrity-taught classes on a variety of topics, experienced surge in popularity during COVID-19. Brands must reconsider their role in providing opportunities for people to explore their interest and act on their values.

Want to learn more about staying connected with your consumer in current times?
Reach out to us!

Note to Brands: People Need Assurance, Not Reassurance

As steps are taken to emerge from the coronavirus shutdown, here are some tips for brands to prove their trustworthiness to consumers!
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Fear and Consumer Behavior

Fear and Consumer Behavior

Study People. Examine Brands. Explore Culture.

Fear and Consumer Behavior

Marketing to generational wants and needs is an ever-changing process, with trends emerging around every corner. Regardless of age, technology is no longer thought of as being a separate part of life—it IS life, so brands need to offer experiences that are The consumer space is shifting, and it’s happening faster than ever—especially in the face of recent events surrounding the novel coronavirus. It seems the only thing we can count on is constant change, whether there is a global pandemic or not. In this fast-paced world, brands need to stay in tune with more than just attitudes, values, and hopes of target audiences—they now need to focus on fears. Fear is such a powerful driver of consumer behavior that we need to fully understand it in order to meet the needs that arise from it. So far we’ve seen some major themes taking over in the new decade—and in recent weeks—and some key questions that brands must ask themselves as they explore these consumer fears.

Global Epidemics

Pandemics are as old as time itself, but in today’s age of information overload and world travel, fear of a global health outbreak, such as COVID-19, takes on a new urgency. People will look to—and demand—technological innovation in the healthcare and travel industries to protect them and keep them safe. And this even touches high fashion, with face masks becoming part of the recent Paris Fashion show. This demand for innovation for better personal health and protection spans from the world at large to inside the individual household. Even if a brand isn’t involved in healthcare or travel, brands can still share their understanding and support of world events and global epidemics that may be striking fear in the hearts of their consumers.

Key Question for Brands: How are you keeping on top of world events that may be affecting your consumers? How are you staying relevant in the lives of your consumer?

Centennials or Generation Z (Born 2000-2012)

The ethnically and racially diverse Gen Z has grown up with social media and have never lived a minute without mobile devices and technological connectivity. Like their Gen X parents, they care deeply about social responsibility and how brands meet their commitments to doing good in the world. Also known as “digital natives”, they are completely comfortable with digital interfaces in physical storefronts
Brand Tip: Begin to develop the highly personalized and targeted experiences this generation expects.

Family Health

While we certainly want to keep our families safe from global epidemics, consumers are also looking for options to help assuage their day-to-day fears of bringing toxins or other harmful chemicals into their households. We’ve seen a rise in organic cleaning suppliesorganic mattress companies, no VOC interior paint options, packaging in glass or stainless steel instead of plastics, and so forth. These shifts are driven in part by consumer demands for healthy options and in part by rising sustainability concerns. 

Key Question for Brands: If you are producing products, are you being honest about what’s in them? How can you support and inform your consumer to make better choices?

Climate Change

The majority of U.S. adults feel that climate change is the most important issue in today’s world and have deep-seated fears about the future of the planet. This has a wide-reaching effect on how brands present not only their values and beliefs, but their products. We see more and more companies moving toward recyclable packaging, sustainable manufacturing and reducing use of plastics. Many consumers are demanding that brands lower their carbon footprint on all fronts in response to fear of environmental impacts, and our future.

Key Question for Brands: What is your brand’s impact on the environment? What is your footprint and how are you communicating it?

Polarization

Whether you believe in climate change or not, polarization itself is causing worry among consumers. From our government parties, to interest groups, many consumers are looking for ways to make their individual voices heard—and loudly—creating vastly different opinions on everything from the environment, to politics, to world issues. There is a fear that this polarization will lead to an inability of leaders to take action. Because of this fear of an inability to take action, consumers are looking to brands to amplify their individual power and are aligning with (and shopping) brands that share their personal philosophy. In a time when massive amounts of information are easy to come by, brands must have a clear mission in place, communicate it, and truly understand their target groups in order to drive messaging and garner alignment. 

Key Question for Brands: What is your philosophy and how can you better communicate it to your consumer?

Want to learn more about how consumer fear is impacting your business?
Reach out to us!

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Brands and Media

Check out our recent article on how brands can best capitalize on pop culture trends to stay relevant to consumers!
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Covid-19 Update

Covid-19 Update

As we’ve been watching the developments with COVID-19 around the world, we are thinking of those being most affected by the current health crisis. The disruption in all facets of life by this novel coronavirus is far-reaching and rapidly changing. We wanted to assure our clients and friends that, despite the disruption, we are still here for you, to brainstorm, to work or even just to chat. 

We’re open.
How fortunate we feel to be able to continue working at full capacity. Because we have always worked remotely, we have no trouble keeping our projects moving during shelter in place orders and travel bans. Our goal is to help you keep moving forward in the marketplace, and we will continue to support you to both start, maintain, field and complete any projects to meet your needs.

We’re virtual.
Following health directives from all levels, we are not traveling at this time. Luckily, we have a variety of different virtual tools in our toolbox that enable us to maintain the quality of our work and to get to the insights you need most. We can also set up virtual calls or meetings so we can still be face-to-face. In a time when we all might be feeling a bit isolated, we would love to connect and are here to help with whatever you need—from a call just to say hello, to a brainstorm on how to help your brand navigate what’s happening. 

We’re ready to help.
We are in an unprecedented time, but are working hard to keep abreast of relevant developments in culture, in the marketplace and in the industries of the brands and companies we serve. As of now, we are operating on all of our previously agreed upon schedules and, as things evolve, we will work together with you to optimize timing, planning and other aspects for any upcoming projects. 

To help mitigate the strain on those most affected, we are making contributions in our hometowns to benefit families in need at this time. Please consider visiting these resources and donating what you can: Feeding America and No Kid Hungry. To get the latest on the pandemic itself, the World Health Organization has the most up-to-date information, as well as the Center for Disease Control

Please take care of yourselves during this time and don’t hesitate to reach out if we can support you in any way.

All the best,
Kathryn + Linda