Study People. Examine Brands. Explore Culture.
“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
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
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
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.