With the ongoing protests, the coronavirus pandemic, and the following economic crisis, people have been forced to adapt and find new ways of living and doing business. In a modern world full of conflicts, where rapid growth, as a rule, happens at peoples and planet’s expenses, no one has ever thought about the consequences of racing towards development.
People have developed various cultural and social groups, each with their specific peculiarities and rules that have made the overall situation worse and further increased the number of conflicts. Having been designed by humans and not by nature, the modern world a priori is imperfect, serving for good & for bad. Hence, people are now facing various contradictions which, during any disruption or conflict, reveal the existing social fault-lines. Take Covid-19 or a financial crisis back in 2008 which both caused a dramatic change to the world’s economic and political construct.
One of the main things that Covid-19 has revealed is the ability to distinguish such cracks in the world and be able to adapt and respond to them in a correct and effective way. Brands are no exception and the current crisis is a chance to figure out how to do it mindfully.
When we talk about the fault-lines that occurred during the pandemic, the first thing that comes to mind is the existing dispute between strong growth obsession (in terms of consumption) vs the number of available resources both for humans and the planet. What the environmental consequences of this are, we already know. But what are the brands currently facing? The levels of demand and supply, as a result of the pandemic, have been seriously affected, each in its own way. The impact on people’s income has affected the amount of demand while the current lockdown – the supply. Following such a reduction, the overall levels of consumption have also decreased which resulted in people becoming more conscious and thinking twice before the purchase. If before everyone was massively buying things they actually didn’t need, blindly following the trends, the situation has now changed. People are learning how to save money, consume less, and make more with the smaller amounts of supply. Therefore, brands now need to find a solution to exist beyond consumption and sustain themselves without the need for constant unstoppable growth.
First, brands need to move from consumption obsession to defining their purpose. Asking the “why” question in terms of the brand’s existence and determining its main mission. The brand’s purpose always guides it and allows it to correctly respond to all kinds of situations, whether it is a crisis or a world’s pandemic. Looking at things from a purpose perspective shows authenticity and builds connection and trust.
Secondly, it has become more important to give simple things instead of complicated and inaccessible. Covid-19 has proved that people are able to survive with the minimum, enjoying the small things. They have learned to find beauty in nature, outside walks, and board games with family. They stopped looking for complications in terms of food and now strive for simplicity when it comes to preparing a meal or choosing food in the supermarket. Brands, as a matter of fact, need to adjust to this new “normal” in order to satisfy the more realistic and simple needs of their customers.
Thirdly, brands have an opportunity to change their mindset and encourage their employees and customers to support equality, diversity, and consciousness. Covid-19 has shown that people can survive when they unite, help each other and support, when they are grateful and responsive, realizing that everyone is equal in the face of a global pandemic.
Fourth, it is all about who your customer is and how your brand can come up with a solution to their problems. Consumption does not define people, these are just the things they do to satisfy their basic needs. Brands need to focus on bringing help and solutions rather than increasing consumption. It might seem impossible and contradicting at first, but the more you dig into it, the more sense you will see. Sometimes it will mean less consumption from a particular social sector and it is absolutely fine. In the end, people will anyway continue to buy, it is just about thinking more about them as humans, rather than just consumers, and determining how they can benefit, interacting with different brands.
One of the most important things that Covid-19 has shown us is the powerful resilience of mankind. The way people, companies, and brands around the world have managed to cope with difficulties, adapt and survive. Some of them have closed down their business but remained true to themselves. Others have changed the direction and succeeded in an absolutely different field. While there are those who not only survived but thrived as never before. In light of recent events, one of the truly essential things for marketers is to respond to the ongoing critical situation by understanding people’s reality and reacting as agile as possible. No more, no less.
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