In addition to dominating the headlines and broadcast news for nearly all of 2020 so far, the novel coronavirus outbreak has transformed the world in ways no one could have expected—from work to grocery shopping to social activities ingrained in daily life. To help facilitate the transition to this new environment and support brands in adjusting to it, creative agency OBERLAND conducted a study in partnership with Guardian US and consumer intelligence platform Suzy to explore the sentiments of American citizens as restrictions begin to ease.
“Just as consumers have developed new habits and built certain expectations about life after lockdowns, so companies need to brace for a reality where comfort zones have been re-evaluated and daily routines altered,” according to the firm, which helps brands achieve a higher purpose, drive positive change and accelerate societal progress through conscious capitalism. “The insights gleaned from this research suggest that what we have come to accept as ‘normal life’ may not look the same—making it imperative for brands to reconsider their business strategies.”
While social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders have taken a heavy toll on the population, the study indicates that Americans are not as eager as expected to resume mingling, said Bill Oberlander, co-founder and executive creative director of OBERLAND. A mere 9 percent of the people polled said they would feel comfortable re-engaging in activities such as eating out, meeting friends, or going to a bar or a movie only a day after the lockdown ends.
“Survey respondents had a heightened sense of caution regarding the attendance of large events, such as business conferences, concerts, or sporting events,” according to the study. “Close to two-thirds of those surveyed would not feel comfortable going to a large function for three months or longer after the economy re-opens, and over a tenth say they won’t feel comfortable resuming these activities for a year.”
Given the extent to which the pandemic has affected Americans’ attitude to daily activities and pastimes, it is inevitable that these behavioral shifts will have a profound impact on business organizations, especially consumer-dependent ones.
“Brands that typically sponsor summer concert series, sporting events, or business conferences will need to find new avenues to reach their target consumers. Will former customers maintain loyalty after months of separation? This existential question applies to all consumer-centric businesses, from retail to hospitality. The future of brands and businesses will be determined by the activities Americans deem ‘worth the risk,'” the report adds.
In a world where consumers crave meaning and seek to identify with the products they use every day, OBERLAND is helping its clients deliver traditional, digital, social, and mobile campaigns that reflect changing attitudes and priorities. Its portfolio offers solutions for every need, providing public, private, and non-profit organizations with all the support they need in the areas of brand strategy, marketing, design, storytelling, and event planning.