As we emerge blinking into 2021, we think it's safe to say that we're different people than we were before COVID-19. The human impact of the coronavirus is significant, and as marketers, we want to be attuned to this change so that we can meet people where they are post-isolation. Here are some of the ways we anticipate consumer behavior will be different in 2021, and how brands can bridge the gap.
The New Post-Isolation Personas
According to Huge, five new consumer personas have emerged over the past year. One group is ready to get back to normal, one is quietly optimistic about the future, one misses hanging out with friends, one is nervously apprehensive, and one is pretty cozy sitting at home. Sounds about right to us, but why have these different groups emerged from a fairly similar shared experience?
There are a few reasons. The influence of news media, the specter of financial insecurity, and perceptions of risk in public spaces are the major ones. Where you fall on each of these largely dictates which persona you'll fall into.
Creating a Post-Isolation Customer Experience
"Uncertainty" has been the buzzword of 2020, and it's definitely been a key influence in shaping these new audience personas. Fortunately, we can use our marketers' toolbox to help alleviate uncertainty, minimize fears, and address perceptions of risk in 2021. Here are some simple ways brands can help reach these newly emergent personas.
- Communicate policies and changes. Building trust means communicating openly about what you've done to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. Consumers expect retailers to align with health officials' recommendations, so be clear that you are.
- Be compassionate and human. The simple act of going outside involves a significant weighing of risk - one that has to be weighed up against financial security and daily needs. Consumers are largely exhausted by this risk assessment, so be kind, thoughtful, and accommodating.
- Allow consumers to feel in charge. Consumers have had many of their typical choices taken away from them this past year, and that can come with a loss of agency. Empower consumers to make decisions with regard to their purchases, and they'll happily take the reins.
- Reassure your customers. Consumers are cautious about returning to normal life. Find ways of reassuring them that they're in good hands - for example by communicating your cleaning and sanitization routine - so that they can engage with the world as safely as possible.
- Build social distancing into your business. For highly cautious consumers, keeping your distance can be a winning recipe. Opt for contactless payments and access, or build delivery or take-out into your business model.
- Cater to the homebodies. Remaining at home is still the safest way to operate, so cater to those who are remaining in self-imposed lockdown. Home-based entertainment, meal kits, crafts, and subscription boxes can win this group over.
- Rethink your pricing model. Changes in employment and finances have hit many households hard this past year. Adjusting your pricing model to be more flexible can help consumers enjoy your product or service regardless. This may mean introducing new pricing tiers, a freemium model, or lower-priced product runs.
It's All About Creative Connection
The future is here, don't be one of those businesses who wait to get ahead of the marketing stampede that's coming in the next six to twelve months.
Now more than ever good business is about creative content, connection, and engagement. By understanding these new audience personas and striving to meet their needs through clear communication, thoughtful business adaptations, and a focus on customer service, you'll be able to ensure that your brand thrives in 2021.
Need some help adapting your business to take into consideration the post-isolation consumer? Need a marketing team that can take action for your business with a plan and a system? Let's grab a virtual coffee and chat!