More than ever before, we are in the midst of witnessing a global consumer mindset shift towards the digital age. At the beginning of the pandemic, many marketers and businesses weren’t sure how to respond. Should businesses close or remain open? Should marketers keep pushing out the same kinds of advertisements as before? How are we supposed to talk to our customers while everyone is experiencing the harsh reality of a global pandemic?
Well, there is some good news. Data and search engine analytics are helping us understand how consumers are feeling right now so that we can better serve our target audiences. More people are shopping online, attending virtual events, and learning online so that they can stay engaged and connected from the safety of their homes.
Companies must adopt and integrate immersive online experiences into their business model if they want to satisfy this sudden and significant change in consumer behavior. This article will shine a light on the recent consumer behavior shift and discuss how brands can utilize this data to advance their business model in order to stay ahead of the curve.
What happens to a social species during mandatory isolation?
Science tells us that humans are a naturally social species–even introverts need some form of interaction. Without the ability to socialize, humans can fall victim to mental health problems such as depression, and in extreme cases, death. Lab studies by Julianne Holt-Lunstand, a research psychologist from Brigham Young University, revealed that chronic social isolation increases the risk of mortality by 29%.
This is because we as a species are psychologically and biologically “programmed” to need social networks. These social networks are what connect us to the world and people around us. Once that connection is severed, we risk falling victim to a variety of health issues.
Holt-Lunstad’s studies and others have found that having someone close to us can reduce our cardiovascular response to a stressful task. Meaning that when we are connected to friends, family, and the world itself, our physical responses to stress are reduced because of those relationships.
So, what happens to a social species when governments pass mandatory social distancing regulations? While there isn’t a plethora of information covering the effects of short-term social isolation, search engines are discovering through data that people and medical field workers are suffering from increased boredom and anxiety. A recent Jama Network Open study has reported that nearly a quarter of people in the U.S. are experiencing symptoms of depression. The number of people experiencing depression has increased three-fold compared to pre-COVID.
Because of the amplified need for help, telemedicine has exploded in growth. And while telehealth has allowed psychiatrists and therapists to serve more patients than ever before, they themselves are at a breaking point due to an influx of patients, overtime work, and balancing the unknowns of a pandemic.
As humans, we have the ability to adapt to any situation, no matter how challenging, which explains why we are witnessing consumers’ willingness to overcome and adjust to the new at-home lifestyle. Knowing this, what action can brands take to make a positive and necessary impact in a time of newfound boredom and isolation? It’s up to brands to analyze the data and take action. As the world transitions into an innovative, digital era, how will you advance your business model to fulfill evolving consumer demands?
The change in consumer behavior demands virtual connectivity
Since many consumers are staying at home, google searches are changing drastically. There’s been a 100% search increase in “boredom.”
Gyms and therapy offices are closed, which has resulted in a 100% increase for “online therapy” along with “workout with me” videos. It’s apparent that health and wellness are top of mind for consumers as evident by these types of searches.
Consumers are finding new ways to stay engaged and connected through a time of uncertainty. This digital shift in consumer mindset has led to an increase in use of platforms such as Zoom and Facetime because these platforms are the safest and easiest ways to stay virtually connected.
Brands are beginning to notice the uptick in new trends such as working from home, monthly subscription services, online events, eCommerce, and more. This is why companies such as Orangetheory and Lifetime are pivoting to release online workout classes in order to keep their customers engaged and active.
People are searching for new ways to shop, to learn, to stay fit, and to connect. If this pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that consumers are ready now more than ever to embrace the digital age. Brands that can’t pivot risk falling behind for good.
Why you need to pivot your business online
Brands must take action. To align with their target audiences’ desires, marketers and business leaders should implement innovative technological solutions to improve the at-home consumer experience. By studying recent search trends, you can put an action plan in place to satisfy recent and growing demands for more engaging, online experiences.
The number one solution that you must consider in order to stay ahead of the curve is to pivot your business online. More and more customers are purchasing goods and services online rather than visiting in-store. The holiday season is going to look vastly different this year as 75% of consumers have stated they will be doing most of their shopping online compared to past years.
However, pivoting your business online isn’t enough. This goes beyond just setting up an online store–it goes deeper. Smart businesses are going to pivot online to keep up with this digital shift. Especially right now, if you want to stand out from your competitors, your business needs to offer value like no other.
Offer an unmatched customer experience. Your website design should be remarkable, your content engaging, and your product and service marketed in such a way that it’s hard for your customers not to buy.
Keep in mind this isn’t just a matter of figuring out how to pivot your business online so you can make sales. This is the time to fulfill a need in order to foster Brand to Human® relationships. Right now, people want digital experiences that help them stay safely connected to the world. So, what can your business do to virtually serve its community in order to instill a sense of belonging for your target audience?
Here are some examples: nonprofits are figuring out how to launch virtual fundraisers, summer camps have gone online, businesses are launching virtual masterclasses, and the list goes on. A virtual happy hour or a goal-focused webinar could be the value add that sets you apart from competitors. Bringing your customers and your employees together to foster a community of brand advocates should be one of your company’s main focuses.
At IDealogic®, we understand that this pandemic is not only putting businesses and people at a disadvantage; but also, it’s forcing companies to enter the digital age at an accelerated rate. We are the experts at developing Fortune 500 brands with our scientific, award-winning branding, marketing, and advertising strategies. Partner with us today to have your business brought into this new digital age.