Assessing Category Engagement Models During the New Normal

Senior Vice President

Customers have been forced to change the way they shop, buy, and engage with categories and brands. Discretionary purchases in categories such as retail, hospitality, and travel are more affected by these changes than essential purchases like food, health, and telecommunications.

 

The Current Situation:

 

•  In just a matter of weeks, customers have acquired new needs, emotional triggers, and behaviors, which may include feeling protected from contracting germs in retail stores and spending more time “cocooning” at home., Existing brand relationships are challenged as the availability of desired products may fluctuate both in-store and through e-commerce delivery options.

•  Most categories have been forced to react to this “new normal.” Savvy leaders are looking forward past the initial crisis to predict foundational changes to category and brand engagement for the long-run.

 

Savvy leaders are looking forward past the initial crisis to predict foundational changes to category and brand engagement for the long-run.”

 

Looking Forward:

 

•  We can assume customers will continue to want safe and seamless shopping, buying, and delivery experiences for the foreseeable future. There may be less demand for in-person experiences, and better tech-enabled interactions. Prior to COVID-19, brands that were better positioned to use technology to replace in-person interaction have already adapted more quickly to the new norm.

•  Some in-person categories could be forced to innovate fairly significantly. For instance, what does the airport and flight experience look like? How can new packaging options give customers more confidence in the safety of the products? Will customers feel better interacting with heath providers through telemedicine versus visiting a clinic or hospital filled with sick people?

•  Virtually all categories are going to have to re-assess their delivery and service proposition in light of ongoing virus-avoidance and health concerns. For instance, financial service representative at a bank’s retail locations and in-home telecommunications service people may need to operate behind plexiglass screens or wear masks to create a sense of health security to their customers.

 

patient having video chat with doctor on tablet pc

Virtually all categories are going to have to re-assess their delivery and service proposition.”

 

What’s Next for Your Brand:

 

•  Being a customer-centric brand and staying close to their needs has never been more important. As your category and brand starts to make the necessary evolutions—whether they be big or small—success depends on having a deep understanding of the new functional and emotional needs of customers.

•  Displaying brand attributes like empathy and transparency could potentially set you apart from competitors. Drawing on all sources of customer insights—data science, behavioral, and market trends—ensures you are hitting the right tone on emotional needs moving forward.

 

As your category and brand starts to make the necessary evolutions—whether they be big or small—success depends on having a deep understanding of the new functional and emotional needs of customers.”

Reach out to discuss how to assess changes to your category and brand.