The pandemic, and the ever-changing guidance for social interaction, has led to rapid changes in people’s behaviour. While falling revenues make it tempting to cut budgets, reduce activity and save money, some businesses have seen opportunity in the chaos. Changing behaviour is always a business opportunity, if you know about it and can move fast in response. Here are three options to consider.

+  Process and service innovation

Enforced change doesn’t have to be for the worse. Some businesses have responded to enforced changes to create new ways to serve customers, which generate efficiencies and keep the show on the road. They’re mostly process-related, and they can be beneficial to customers too. Mostly we don’t bother to consider change unless we have to, but we may well stick with it once tried, as described here.

+  Brand-building

Cutting marketing communications is a common response to recession, but there’s robust evidence that brands that maintain their visibility through advertising reap long term benefits that last way beyond the recession period. This is a good time to revisit your brand proposition and ensure it’s relevant and focused. Then communicate that with confidence. Not sure what to say in these troubled times? Have a look here

+  Stimulating consumption with product and usage ideas

Big data has transformed our ability to see changing trends. It used to be a long slow and esoteric process. Now, businesses like Black Swan crunch all sorts of data sets in real time to give businesses early warning of changes in demand, new tastes and emerging preferences. Spotting behaviour change can be very simple. If you know Google searches for cocktail shakers are up, then promoting cocktail recipes and launching new flavours, as Gordon’s did, isn’t such a shot in the dark.

Remember the home-baking frenzy early in lockdown? Marketers at Baileys picked up online chatter about making “luxurious desserts” and started sending out recipe ideas involving – of course – Baileys. They followed through by making sure it was easy to shop the recipes at food retailers’ online stores. UK sales of Baileys are reportedly up this year. There’s more on the Baileys story here.

Thought leadership | October 2020