How to understand consumers in a crisis

Earlier this week, I was privileged to join Marketing Week on their Lowdown webinar series to discuss How to Do Consumer Research in a Crisis.

I joined Marketing Week editor Russell Parsons, Helen Edwards from branding agency Passionbrand and brand and comms research expert Lucy Bannister from The Nursery.

It was a valuable discussion about the role of consumer research and insight during these uncertain times. So we thought we’d recap some of the key points. You can tune into the recording of the full webinar below.

Three big themes that came out of that discussion were as follows.

1 / Consumer understanding matters more now, not less

Insights remain vital to marketing decision making. There are some practicalities to consider – about reaching the right people, asking questions and doing so in the right way – but none of these are excuses for marketers to stop listening.

2 / Look in all directions to look forwards

From an insights perspective, that means using multiple sources, sweating the data you have already, looking at how consumer behaviour and attitudes have changed in previous crises such as the 2008 recession, and taking advantage of consumers’ heightened awareness of how their habits are changing right now. Bringing all of these together is the only way to understand the current situation and what might come next.

And from a marketing and strategic point of view, be equally open to multiple ways of implementing what you learn. That might mean changing your communications or how your brand shows up. But it might also mean product or service innovation, or reconsidering your business model, or your route to market.

3 / Mitigate fear with empathy

This is not an easy time for many people. And consumers and research respondents are going to bring that context into their shopping habits, how they respond to brands and what they say in research. We can’t pretend those fears and anxieties don’t exist. But we can mitigate and understand them.

Listen to the full webinar recording.

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