A change in our everyday – in a COVID-19 world
There is no question consumers are still impacted by brands, but not as much as they’re impacted by the world and events around them. For example, at any sporting event you’ve seen brands reaching eyeballs and driving product engagement. Or consider the political environment where people see candidates pontificating on issues they think will sway their electorate while flooding media channels with ads on a minute-by-minute basis. In any situation, consumers are typically hit with a variety of messages in a fragmented world.
Now take a moment to think about the life-changing events we are experiencing today, amidst the COVID-19 environment. Think about what kind of impact it is having on society as a whole. Our “new normal” is a disruption of what we consider “our daily lives” – and as people are staying home for safety and security – the usual fragmentation of our days is suddenly becoming more uniform.
It should come as no surprise Nielsen recently reported that we should expect a sharp increase in TV consumption and general content intake – based on recent South Korean viewing patterns and past weather events here in the US. When events like Hurricane Harvey impacted Texas and Louisiana in 2017, TV usage went up 56%. And in 2016 the blizzard that hit New York spawned a 45% jump in TV usage time.
With this “new normal” potentially continuing for some time, marketers have an opportunity to connect and engage with consumers – in a medium we are all too familiar with. The splintered and fragmented media consumption that we normally deal with every day is now converging with our streaming and connected lifelines. Consumers will turn back to watching living-room quality content on their TVs, getting news updates from their laptops, and grabbing headlines from their mobile devices. For marketers, these platforms that have usually complicated and fragmented consumers’ time can now be activated again as a mass channel, allowing brands to be more relevant in the now.
Don’t walk away from marketing because of COVID-19 – rather, continue to be brand partners and engage consumers with a dialogue that matters. As consumers look for the brands and products they are familiar with, being present and offering a sense of normalcy is important. Beyond the corporate emails describing your safety precautions, find ways to connect that are appropriate for the time. Your actions will be remembered.