May 22, 2020

Consumers Having More Emotional Experiences With Brands Due To COVID-19

By Laurie Sullivan

Work-at-home measures have prompted new consumer habits and routines such as the rise of virtual work, virtual social and community gatherings on Google Meets and Zoom, and a renewed focus on health fitness, hygiene and telemedicine.

Facebook on Thursday, for example, said it would make a shift toward implementing a work-from-home workforce during the next decade, which will require additional tech resources such as cloud services.

Work-from-home status could completely change consumer behavior, with 66% of professionals participating in a survey from Bind saying they would consider relocating out of major cities.

BrightEdge analysts reviewed consumer behavior from March to Mid-May and presented it in a webinar.

Key industries include ecommerce, digital transformation, retail, education, entertainment, hospitality, healthcare, beauty, B2B, data centers and cloud computing.

Giving marketers a clear understanding of the change and the impact of COVID-19, BrightEdge organized industry insights into four sections based on the type. The categories include Rebounding, Accelerating, Stabilizing, and Recovering.

Consumers are having more emotional experiences with brands as they search for products and services. Safety, social distancing and avoiding contact are priorities, making online research important.

As behavior has changed, so have the journey and the marketing mix. Marketers need to rethink traditional marketing mixes and the role of digital in the role of product, price, digital and place or local.

All these changes have forced CMOs and marketers to evaluate the entire customer experience with their brands. Considerations for change should include recent data that BrightEdge has revealed.

In mid-May, BrightEdge saw Apparel, Baby and Maternity, Beauty, Restaurants and Cuisine, Data Center, and IT Network rebound. These areas initially saw a decline in interest, but have recovered fairly quickly. The data suggests this is where marketers need to focus on those categories that are winning.

Digital Marketing, Pet Adoption, and Garden and Patio are among the sectors that experienced increased interest from the start. Now there is an opportunity for marketers to continue that growth.

Collaboration, IT Security, Gaming, and Grocery are among the industries that saw a surge in search interest as the shutdown began.

Now BrightEdge sees some pullback, but search volume remains higher than prior to COVID-19. These are opportunities to double down on that strength and retain consumer interest.

Concerts, Hotels, Things to Do, and Wealth Management were hit hard by the shutdown, with thousands of events and conferences canceled. Now, however, these sectors are in the early stages of trying to renter in the Recovery phase. Despite falling demand, companies need to think about transformational strategies to help in their recovery.

Similar to consumers, companies must adjust operations. Some will rethink their entire business model as conditions continue to change.

Advertising and marketing investments will fluctuate — making it vital to reprioritize, protect the brand, find efficiencies, and build on viable opportunities as they come up.

Interestingly, in mid-March, newly remote workers searched for solutions to help them work from home as the lockdown took effect. This is when related searches peaked, with more than 50,000 searches daily to determine how to remain productive.

Searches for video conferencing surged more than most other areas. In late March, more than 3 million searches per day were related to video conferencing.

Queries for toilet paper drove the most dramatic spike in search volume among health and hygiene products at the beginning of the lockdown. Peppermint oil and fish oil saw increased interest due to folklore around their COVID-fighting capabilities being shared online.