Even though the pandemic has yet to peak, UK media and marketing experts Anything is Possible (AIP), has urged retailers and brands to “think smart, make bold moves, get ahead of the pack and be ready to meet the new world head-on”.
This clarion call, in the midst of a huge human crisis, is based on AIP’s latest analysis of consumer behaviour, which the firm insists reveals a “myriad positive opportunities developing from new habits and behaviours”.
The first significant consumer behavioural trend AIP identifies is the increased demand for “comfort and caution” as shoppers hunker down at home to keep safe and make life bearable under lockdown.
Resilience, self-sufficiency and well-being
As the pandemic continues, consumers are focusing on products offering “resilience, self-sufficiency and well-being…to balance the heightened sense of caution and difficulty,” according to AIP analysts.
The consumer demand for comfort and caution is neatly illustrated in a huge spike in online searches for the words ‘paracetamol’ and ‘Disney’ as the pandemic took hold. Yes, Disney’s decision to launch its streaming service in the middle of the pandemic was serendipitous to say the least.
In this environment both premium online content and low-risk luxury interior items will continue to be in high demand, according to AIP.
Great opportunities for retail marketeers
So what are the big take-homes for retail and brand marketeers so far during the pandemic?
As pointed out by ROI Hunter recently, AIP says outdoor advertising is nosediving, for obvious reasons. However, their analysts insist there are still compelling opportunities available. Roadside and vehicle liveries, for example, are a marketing sweet spot as select groups of people continue to use the country’s road network.
The key is for retailers and brands to identify who those consumers are and the best locations to target them, for example logistics drivers at service stations and key workers at known traffic pinch points near key services. Of course, marketeers should have perfectly primed outdoor campaigns ready to roll when social distancing stops.
Daytime TV advertising is back in play
Retailer’s TV marketing strategies are also having to be re-thought. AIP’s take on this is that, “big chunks of the TV schedule which were previously out of bounds are now back in play, so smart brands will increase investment throughout the day and look again at which channels they should be targeting.”
There are similar opportunities for retailers and brands to benefit from an increase in popularity of online news, but they must be aware of placing their brands alongside highly negative news stories.
Social is another channel offering greater opportunities to reach a bigger audience as the effects of social distancing take their toll. AIP suggests the channel is set for a seismic shift in the types of people who use it as well as how and why they do so.
Seismic shift in social media
AIP says: “Despite the risks of misinformation and harmful bubble-effects, social media could be about to undergo another generational uplift. As usage rises, so do opportunities to reach larger, consolidated audiences. The potential space for brands to insert themselves into the online community mix and play a vital connecting role is immense. Brands who step up with positive contributions will reap the rewards.”
While recognising the size of the human tragedy unfolding AIP says: “…there are myriad positive opportunities developing from the new habits and behaviours arising in response.
“These could be fleeting but undoubtedly offer huge rewards for those primed to move first. Bunker mentalities which may be temporarily necessary in the home are a dead end for dynamic and successful brand media strategies.”
Baby boom 2021
“For instance, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to forecast a mini baby-boom in January 2021! The world that emerges into the sunlight will be new and full of optimism. The living habits and working practices we step into now will form the building blocks of the next normal.
“So it’s time to think smart, make bold moves, get ahead of the pack and be ready to meet the new world head-on.”