Back to Business as Usual? The Lasting Impacts of COVID-19
In the last few weeks we have seen that a lot of what we did in physical spaces can be done online: exercising, visiting museums, watching concerts, and wandering around national parks to name a few. Most of it for free too.
But when we eventually get over this surreal moment, will we want to go back to ‘the olden days’, or will businesses have created new customer expectations for all?
Most of us probably don’t entirely want to go back to doing things like before. It’s quite handy having access to everything at our fingertips. But, equally, we’ll need to start interacting with physical human beings again at some point. (We probably won’t be getting another free concert from 100+ artists!)
The New World and the Old World Can Co-exist
Brick-and-mortar gyms allow us to stay fit when we go to the office, but online classes keep us fit when we are working from home, on holiday, or when we simply can’t face yet another bad day of British weather.
Online shopping has been around for years but, with self-isolation, it has opened up a world of possibilities to a generation of elderly consumers that previously used offline shopping to get a bit of exercise. These customers might still want to use online shopping on days when they can’t leave the house.
Online concerts, visits, and tours of museums, galleries, and parks have finally given people with disabilities an equal opportunity to explore and enjoy cultural activities.
So, keeping a balanced mixture of old and new ways of engaging with brands will not only increase convenience for consumers but also provide fairer access to all segments of society.
It Will Be Costly but the Benefits Should be Worth It
In the space of a few weeks, brands have attracted new customer segments and revenue streams. To name a few: the elderly for online grocery shopping, entire families for online gym classes, and even teenagers for video-conferencing platforms like Zoom (it’s easier to hold a virtual birthday party on Zoom, we’re told). So businesses have a new army of loyal fans in the making that they can cater for now and in the future.
Some planning will need to go into keeping those customer segments engaged. Brands must:
- Analyse who their new customer segments are, what content they consume, how they consume it, and where.
- Create personalised content, and include relevant offers and rewards in their loyalty programme.
- Adapt their marketing plan to support this progression.
- It’s highly likely that business in 2020 won’t go back to how it was pre-COVID-19. But consumers' expectations will not change much either. They will still be looking for empathy, trustworthiness, and excellent customer service.
If you can rally your resources to find a way to bring the benefits of the old world with you into the new one, there are opportunities for your brand to turn this situation into something positive long-term. Even if we need to start paying for a celebrity concert again.
About Elodie Rodriguez, Consultant
Elodie joined the UK Strategy team at Brierley in 2019 after a decade of working with marketing leaders for some of the UK’s largest FMCG and retail brands. In her previous role at WPP-agency Kinetic, she led Tesco’s Food Love Stories outdoor campaign which won the Cannes Lion Media Planning Award in 2018 and became the brand’s most effective campaign ever. Driven by her own passion for sustainability, she gets excited about opportunities to use clients’ CSR initiatives as a mechanism for customer loyalty. Her competitive streak is the key to developing unique solutions for clients, resulting in both competitive advantages and measurable results for her clients. Elodie attended Cass Business School in London and has an MSc in Management.
Brierley offers a range of F.A.S.T. Track Modules which deliver strategy and consumer insights that can help you in evaluating and enhancing your member experience. Our Strategy and CI Teams can help with projects such as CX Journey Mapping, Competitor Evaluations, Communication Audits, Loyalty Ideation Workshops and more to ensure you maximize every opportunity to drive engagement. To learn more contact us.