The pandemic has shaken things up in all the industry. And for the PR professionals, the pandemic has made it very clear that a strong communications strategy and crisis communication plan is required to stay afloat and come out of the pandemic in a better position.
It is also important to embrace the power of the pivot. As leaders and PR professionals, you should be smart enough to adapt to the fast-evolving trends in the marketplace if you want to tackle the challenge and emerge stronger post-recession.
And the power of the pivot lies in understanding your consumer. You should understand what they are feeling and experiencing now and what they want and expect from the brands they love.
You should consider these trends as you continue to navigate the pandemic and craft your strategies for 2021.
Here are four consumer behavior trends that PR pros should adopt as they are going to change how you do business completely.
1. Customers will buy more from safe brands
Ever since the pandemic started, consumers have begun to buy more health-related products such as hand sanitizer and immunity boosters. But apart from that, it is said that consumers are also more likely to buy from a brand that they think to be safe and reduce risk.
As per the Consumer Index Report by Ernst and Young reports, 26% of consumers say that they favor brands and products that they believe to be safe and reduce unnecessary risks. And 57% of consumers say that they now pay more attention to how healthy the products are when they purchase from a brand.
As PR pros, you shouldlet your customers know how you are prioritizing the health and safety of your consumers.
2. Value-based spending
In the US, the COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter Movement have impacted how people spend their money.
Clearly, consumers are inclined to do more value-based spending. Consumers want to buy local goods and services or from businesses owned by the Black people. So, as a consequence, they want the brands from whom they buy to be aligned with their values.
The Ernst & Young survey points out that 59% of consumers are likely to buy more local products in the long term.
Also, statistics suggest that 63% of buyers are more willing to buy from purpose-driven brands that support the same social causes they do. Most of these people want to buy from brands that are vocal and support the same social, cultural, and political causes as they do.
Here’s a quick infographic that conveys the importance of being vocal when it comes to social issues to build customer loyalty:
Thus, as a leader, you should emphasize what you are doing to bring change in your industry as well as in your community. It will humanize your brand and earn the favor and trust of your customers.
3. Humanizing online connection
More and more people are spending time on their devices. Starting from socializing to shopping, everything is done online these days.
There are some digital experiences that customers are getting used to, such as the BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup in Store). Your business website and social channels are the entry to your brand. Thus, you should invest in e-commerce, virtual events, your social media channels, as well as your content to allow consumers to discover and engage with your brand.
To humanize digital connection, you can create virtual events, authentic content like video, and empathy. Also, consider using performance support platforms like WhatFix to empower employees to perform tasks effectively using just-in-time and interactive help.
4. Driven by data
Consumers are ready to share their data with brands that they trust. As per a report, 53% of consumers are willing to give their personal information if brands can use it to monitor and track an infection.
The trend of sharing data has increased business opportunities and transparency between the brands and consumers.
Marketing and communications leaders should use the data to understand their customers better. They can give personalized offers, promotions, and better experiences.
Also, ensure that you don’t take advantage of their trust. Use it securely to offer a more personal customer experience.
These are the four consumer behavior trends PR pros should know for 2021. By incorporating these trends into your communications strategies, you can gain the trust and loyalty of your target consumer. And it will also ensure that your brand continues to grow and flourish through and beyond the pandemic.