Your Consumer Has Changed: How to Market & Advertise in a New Reality

We are early adopters. So we pride ourselves in being able to anticipate trends and changes in the market, and being able to act on them with agility. 

There have been such wild changes in our daily lifestyles over the last few months because of COVID-19, and keeping a finger on the pulse of fickle trends is a full-time job (it’s literally our full-time job). 

But surely the fundamentals of marketing and advertising wouldn’t change, despite a pandemic and lockdown? 

Although, how do you sell anything without coming across as insensitive right now? Can creativity, innovation, honesty and authenticity in your brand’s marketing really circumvent that? 

The answer is yes. And no. It’s complicated. 

But the first step is knowing your audience – your consumers. And today, a consumer is not just someone who is buying your products or services. It is also someone who is consuming your online content on social media and other online platforms.

That’s what we want to talk about – and what you should be thinking about.

How to market right now – A do and a don’t

1. Do aesthetics

Visuals communicate on subconscious levels. You need to always consider how the logo, colours and design elements of your brand make your audience feel. 

So a major consideration with your marketing right now is colour and the impact it has. Choose your colours wisely so as to engender feelings of trust and comfort rather than anxiety or panic. 

Perhaps even change your logo completely now that you have the extra time to give your brand more focus. We can help.

2. Don’t lecture 

After reading the news on social media, living through the effects of a pandemic, and having their lifestyle completely altered – do you really think your audience wants you to be telling them to wash their hands? As marketing mogul Reg Lascaris put it: Don’t dictate to your consumer; relate to your consumer.

Your consumers are people, with real feelings and troubles. They are also experiencing a sense of online fatigue and lockdown burnout to some extent. You and your brand want to be heard and stay at the front of your consumers’ minds. But if you put yourself in their shoes, you’ll see that they are looking for positivity and humour right now. And you can choose what tone fits your brand, between light-hearted and feel-good, to give them that right now.

Maybe you can’t sell your products or services right now. But you can still offer insight, information, relief, or just a smile to your audience via your online presence.

What is your audience currently going through?

We’re all going through the most right now. Should that not make it easier for us to relate to one another? 

Some people are currently experiencing more stress and anxiety than ever before, because they don’t know where their next pay-check is coming from or if their business has a future. Others have had their basic needs met and their futures reassured, and they’re comfortable with the current arrangement.

Some people are introverted and loving all of the me-time and the chance to just be at home. Others are extroverted and craving good old human connection that is not through a screen.

What do all of these people have in common?

  • This was not anybody’s choice and we have no control over the new lifestyle we are now living while the coronavirus is a threat.
  • We are now living on social media and being bombarded by all sorts of stimuli all day, every day.
  • Our routines, habits and micro-habits have changed drastically, as have our needs and wants.

On the topic of needs and wants – In Grade 4, we learn about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow’S Hierarchy Of Needs

According to Dr Christina Swart-Opperman, industrial psychologist, entrepreneur and senior lecturer, this pyramid is more of a diamond shape now, after the outbreak of COVID-19. She says:

Motivation drives behaviour and provides an explanation for people’s behaviour. Research also shows that survival needs will always be prioritised. There are those who may say that what we are seeing is a new take on the well-known motivational theory of needs by renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow. A case can be made that this pyramid has been turned on its head as our needs are changing due to our new working conditions. This is applicable for those individuals who are able to work from home and who are fortunate to be paid a salary - and are not worried about their basic needs – instead they may find themselves gravitating towards more spiritual and psychological needs. Isolated from friends, family and hobbies with lots of time on their hands, they may start asking questions about why they are doing what they are doing and if they really enjoy their careers, for example. However, should the situation change and lower-level needs are no longer met, their attention will move to satisfying them before any others.

If you can recognise this in your consumers, it means that you can adapt the way you interact with them. 

Be genuine in your care for your audience and try to eradicate their fears and help them reach their new objectives. We could all do with more reasons to feel good about ourselves right now – and that can come in feeling heard.

So what now?

Now is NOT the time to go off the grid and disappear. 

A brand is a business; but a business is not necessarily a brand. If you can’t make your brand’s presence known regardless of how much you can currently offer, you only have a business – not a brand. And we all know ‘how bad business is going right now’.

The digital and SEO upsurge started before the coronavirus even began. But a crisis only reinforces trends that were already beginning to form. 

Now is the time to start thinking about how your expertise can use the digital space, or rather, how the digital space can use your expertise.

Contact us today – Let us help you find your place. Because we see the bigger picture, and we see you.

We are different. And you can be, too.