The New Era of Consumer Behavior: Your Brand Must React

By Katie Pomeroy

07.07.2020


With orders to stay home due to COVID-19, we entered a new era of communication and connection. On a social level people adapted to remain connected with family, friends and coworkers through use of video chats, frequent phone calls, and messaging systems. Brands also adapted to remain connected to their consumers with heightened online presence and engaging content.

Online communication and online sales rapidly became a significant channel for all companies. This evolution of brand and consumer interaction will more than likely last in the post-pandemic world and brands need to shift previous strategies to reflect the new buying behavior. There are some key consumer trends that your company can jump on to adapt to the new consumer world.

1) Become Digital

Online shopping habits will survive the post pandemic world and your company needs to be aware of that and continue to stand out online.

Being 100% offline is no longer an option. You must shift to an omni-channel approach to reach your customers. With the closure of 50% of retail storefronts and people trying to stay at home as much as possible, almost everyone has shifted to purchase everything (products and services) online. Even if stores are open, people are still choosing to order online and have products delivered to avoid having to go in public. People now enjoy the convenience of online shopping and will only continue to enjoy the convenience. A user-friendly e-commerce website positions your brand positively in your consumers’ minds and a positive user experience is important to keep existing customers along with attracting new consumers.

It’s also important to have an omni-channel digital strategy. Your content should be available across all channels and platforms to ensure you are reaching a large audience. Not everyone has access to every online medium, so by implementing numerous channels you create an opportunity to reach more people and increase sales. This cross-channel strategy will create a stronger connection between your brand and consumers.

2. Create compelling and interactive content

Channels are already saturated with content, so it’s essential to develop relevant and compelling content to attract customers. The internet is used to escape the new reality we are living in, so developing content that allows people to transport elsewhere is key to stand out in the saturated environment. People now expect high-quality experiences and worthwhile content online. Compelling content adds value to your digital presence and makes you a stronger brand.

Consumers are looking for connection when in isolation. The brands that stand out today and will continue to stand out are the ones that are interacting with their customers. Online interaction with consumers is necessary to maintain and attract new customers. Be active and present for your consumer now and in the future because the brands that do will be noticed and remembered.

Examples of engaging content that stood out to us:

  • Virtual Travel: Faroe Islands created an experience that follows a resident of the island as he or she explores the nature of the island with a go-pro. The engaging experience allows users all over the world to control the camera movement and experience the island.
  • Concert Live Streams: Many musical groups have been live streaming on multiple platforms. New York’s Metropolitan Opera live streams free opera daily for online consumers.
  • Online Museum Tours: Museums across the world have virtual tours, allowing users to view exhibits without leaving their homes. The Smithsonian offers a virtual tour of the National Museum of Natural History here.
  • Online Classes: Every brand can teach consumers useful skills related to the company’s expertise. From a restaurant offering online cooking classes to a digital marketing brand offering a social media class, businesses can engage consumers through the offering of online classes and information.

3) Be More Ethical

There is a surge for ethical and sustainable products from consumers. People want a good reason to buy something and many times that reason stems from how companies’ react to the current events. How are you addressing this pandemic? Are you helping your community? Show that you care about the well being of the community. People look at brands as leaders during national or global issues. As a company you need to decide how to display your leadership and how your brand is helping. Be a leader and make your consumers feel good about using your product or service.

4) Add Value to Your Products or Services

Consumers are more strategic now with their buying habits. Buyers want to feel confident about a purchase. As a company, you might need to rethink the value of your brand. What are you offering that consumers today would value? Some of the new trends that appeared as a result of social distancing and COVID-19 include an emphasis on health/wellness, cooking, sustainability, buying local, security, and at home technology. As a company, you should consider how to incorporate the new trends or how they relate to your brand. It might be related to online convenience, protecting health, or supporting local businesses. Make those messages clearer that you previously might not have seen as important.

We can’t truly know what the post-pandemic market will look like, but we can predict what it might look like. As a company, it’s essential to prepare and adapt your brands to come out on top. Consumers' behaviors transformed and they are no longer the consumers you previously knew. Recognize the new consumer behavior and adapt your brand to fit in their mind.

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