Companies must study and respond to emerging consumer trends under the regime of the coronavirus because the daily epiphanies experienced by consumers are reshaping their mindsets and purchasing tendencies, which directly affects a company’s advertising, marketing, and profit strategies.

From consumers reevaluating how and what they define as essential and non-essential items to changing their perception of what they can accomplish themselves, such as hair color and lawn care, people have been forced to consume differently and the lessons they’ve learned won’t soon be forgotten.

Coronavirus-inspired trends

5 Consumer Trends That Will Endure After Covid-19, and What They Mean For Marketers is an article published on April 6th of 2020 that lays out five coronavirus trends worth repeating:

1.) Time-tested brands will shine

  • Article’s point: “Novel and trendy” is out and “tried and true” is in.
  • Takeaway: This is not the time for businesses to market new products. Consumers are already overwhelmed and are trusting the products and companies that are seasoned, safe, and sit well within their comfort zones.

2.) DIY gains ground

  • Article’s point: Consumers are learning new skills, such as baking, sewing, and cooking.
  • Takeaway: Not all products and services will bounce back and return to their pre-coronavirus glory days. If there is something that can be done at home, from making bread to coloring hair roots, consumers are being forced to learn and gain comfort in those tasks. These new skills are not likely to disappear.

3.) Comfort with digital offerings

  • Article’s point: Discomfort with the digital era is losing consciousness.
    • Example: “Nearly 40 percent of current online grocery shoppers made a first online grocery purchase in March.”
  • Takeaway: Social distancing has forced those not comfortable with the digital world to get comfortable quickly. From in-person meetings transitioning to Zoom meetings… to people who said they’d join Facebook when pigs fly only to join within the last month… to college students afraid of online classes being forced to take an entire semester online, more people than ever before are gaining comfort and knowledge of the options within the digital world. Once comfort is gained with these digital options, those options are not likely to be abandoned.

4.) Flexible work arrangements

  • Article’s point: Employers are realizing reporting to a building isn’t the only way to be productive.
  • Takeaway: Employers will reconsider what positions can be filled remotely.

5.) Safety wins over privacy

  • Article’s point: “They’re (Facebook and Google) perceived as being the bad boys, but now if this (coronavirus) lingers on, we may move toward more of a surveillance state. People are willing to trade our freedoms for safety.”~ Paul Marsen, Consumer Psychologist at the University of the Arts London
  • Takeaway: The world, as a whole, may be forced to allow the government to know more personal information in an effort for the government to know how best to keep the population safe.

Harvard Business Review weighs in

Harvard Business Review adds the following to the coronavirus-inspired trends conversation:

  • Consumers have returned to broadcast and cable television and other premium media sources for credible information.
  • Consumers have increased their demand for digital entertainment.
  • Payment methods, such as using mobile phones to pay at check-outs, are being utilized to avoid touching a surface or stylus.

There are many articles catapulting out of their respective approval pipelines that address consumer trends and as astonishing as it may seem, the ones presented in this piece represent only an extremely small tip of the coronavirus-related-emerging-trends glacier.

How should employers react

Of all the articles written to help guide employers toward the survival and growth of their brand, Brand Marketing Through the Coronavirus Crisis is one of the most heartfelt and knowledgable responses to the world’s current crisis. This article advises companies to respond in the following five manners:

1.) Present with empathy and transparency

  • Article’s point: “The nuances of brand voice are more delicate than ever. Brands that use this time to be commercially exploitative will not fare well.”
  • Takeaway: This is a time to make consumers feel cared for and their struggle acknowledged.

2.) Use media in more agile ways

  • Article’s point: Be creative and have a streamlined process for changing and communicating messages quickly. Avoid over-exposure to messages as more and more people spend their day on social media and are digitally connected more waking hours than ever before.
    • Examples: Nike’s new message: “Play inside, play for the world”
      Chiquita Brands: Removed Miss Chiquita from their logo, and created an Instagram caption that said, “I’m already home. Please do the same and protect yourself.”
  • Takeaway: The companies who use media to articulate their ever-evolving, coronavirus-inspired message swiftly and cleverly will rise to the top.

3.) Associate your brand with good

  • Article’s Point: Acts of good win out in times of crisis.
  • Takeaway: Maya Angelou was right: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

4.) Track trends and build scenarios

  • Article’s point: Tracking sentiment and consumption will help companies with predictions and plans.
  • Takeaway: Businesses can not wait for trends to be reported to act. The businesses that see trends as they occur will better predict their next steps.

5.) Adapt to new ways of working to keep delivering

  • Article’s point: Embrace the new normal and the law. Work remotely best you can and with as much communication among all employees and departments of the company as possible.
  • Takeaway: Businesses who innovate quickest and restructure their traditional way of operating and reporting will experience lesser growing pains from transitioning to remote workspaces and social distancing measures than those companies who drag their feet.

Consumers are changing the rules

One thing is certain, and that’s the fact that consumers have always called the shots and now is no different. Consumers directly affect the demand for both products and services, and that is never going to change. They are setting trends, and some of those trends will remain long after people forget how to spell coronavirus.

Employers who respond to these trends with heart, transparency, and creativity will increase their odds of not only survival, but also their likelihood of thriving.

Author: Evelyn Lindell