Marketing trends and consumer attitudes are often in response to national or global events, technological advances or even failures. As new and different ways of doing things are introduced, they develop into long-term trends that brands have to learn to quickly embrace in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Businesses have had to respond to the current Covid-19 pandemic in ways that mean they can continue to operate, albeit sometimes in a restricted way. The 2008 crisis shook economies after fraudulent Wall Street practices meant that consumers came to demand greater transparency. As a result, the sharing economy was born with brands bringing communities together, through businesses such as Airbnb and Uber.
Following this, greater awareness of climate change meant that consumers became more ecologically aware and the green economy began to emerge, with firms having to demonstrate sustainability values and ecological awareness.
With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers began looking for reassurance and security, wanting to maintain social distancing and looking for transactions that posed minimal risk. Contactless became the keyword, with the focus on purchasing and paying for products without any contact with other people.
With home deliveries, it became a standard practice for delivery couriers to leave goods in a designated spot at a customer’s home for them to collect without having any contact. Technology has meant that items can be searched for and paid online with delivery to the door.
Building brand loyalty is a key aspect of the new worry-free economy. Businesses are live-streaming product launches with real-time sales. Virtual shopping is becoming more popular. In China, as the shopping malls closed their doors, department stores collaborated with brands to allow shoppers into a virtual shopping mall and place orders online with real salespeople in real-time.
Using social media to run private domain traffic has also become increasingly common, with brands using chat groups to greet customers, offer discounts and live stream. Increasing engagement in a virtual world is becoming more important than ever in the worry-free economy.
People crave interaction more than ever when they have to live in isolation, so now is the time to strike up the conversation and get people hooked on your brand. Building trust and engagement is key and we can learn from China to focus on doing this now so that when the crisis is over (or moves to the next stage), the loyalty has been established and the customer base is solid.
The mood in China now is of social responsibility with consumers willing to pay more for those brands which have demonstrated adaptability and supportiveness. Examples include firms which turned from alcohol production to make hand sanitisers and those offering to make masks during the crisis. These efforts have built trust and consumers are looking for brands with a sustainable ethos of social responsibility.
Now is the time to look at the developments taking place in China and embed relevant elements into your own strategy. It may be daunting to look at the future and work out the new way forward, but this presents great opportunities too.
If you would like more information and guidance on how to prepare your business for the new worry-free economy, why not get in touch with us today at Clifford Associates and find out how we can help you overcome the talent resourcing challenges and seize the opportunities that the latest digital transformation presents.
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