What We’re Saying

What will the impact of the delayed reopening and the re-emergence of uncertainty mean for consumers, and how can brands respond?

9 July 2021

The re-opening of indoor dining on the 5th of July was a significant milestone, not just for the tourism and hospitality industry but for the consumer. To them, it signalled that life could and would return to a pre-covid ‘normal’. Crucially, increased capacity in pubs, bars and restaurants meant a reprieve from the military-like organisation that has been required to socialise out of home. However, just as consumers were beginning to feel like things could return back to normal and they could take back autonomy over their lives, uncertainty and the unknown have re-emerged. At MCCP, we have engaged in deep listening to consumers across all life stages since covid started so we have been able to determine their needs across each phase.

So, what do consumers need from brands not just now but through the remainder of the summer and into autumn in the face of ongoing uncertainty.

1.Empathy 
Consumers are still emotionally navigating their way through this pandemic. For many, the re-emergence has been unsettling and confusing. New pressures and expectations around how to feel and behave are weighing on people’s shoulders. Many feel conflicted as there is a strong desire to re-engage with the world outside their bubble, but many have gotten comfortable in the small worlds and routines they have created and are finding it difficult to step out again.  By recognising through comms, messaging, activations and initiatives where the consumer is at today (as distinct to where you want them to be), this offers an opportunity for your brand to feel connected and in touch to hit the right note emotionally with your consumer today. This understanding takes deep listening to where they are emotionally and psychologically.

2. Fun and spontaneity
COVID stripped people of freedom and forced them to behave in ways which were highly controlled, disciplined and organised. Consumers are now extremely tired of behaving in such a structured manner and want to reinject spontaneity and release into their lives. However, ongoing public health measures continue to limit the possibilities for such spontaneity. Creating innovative new ways through competitions and activations to engage consumers that are novel and offer a moment of unplanned release and enjoyment will be highly appreciated and remembered by the consumer as high points in a mundane world.

3. Progression
Many have been using the re-opening calendar to shape their world and put structure and definition around the unknown. The disruption to this re-opening calendar has created unease as the structure and timeline that people have found a sense of certainty and comfort with has been disrupted.  People have also lost sense of time and what they are working towards. In the absence of a time structure, consumers will look to brands to help create a sense of certainty to their world, of concrete timing and most importantly of progression and moving forward in a world that once again feels stalled.  

Living with restrictions and being in an ongoing state of uncertainty will continue to impact on consumer needs as people are not yet in a fixed emotional state. The ongoing state of flux will also continue to require an appropriate response from brands who must remain aligned with where their consumer is at along this COVID journey to ensure they continue to deliver against both functional and emotional needs.  This will require more than just a reactive lens but a deeper set of listening skills and a nuanced set of planning skills if you want to resonate. Listen and consider first.

To find out more about MCCP ways of working, contact our Insights Director, Mary Sheahan, marys@mccp.ie

 

 

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