How can you adapt your communications to meet new consumer behaviours?

One thing is certain: no one knows exactly what our “new normal” will look like. Currently, 85% of Canadians report that their buying behaviour has been affected by the coronavirus according to The Numerator [1]. A Rutgers Business School study on the impact of uncertainty and stress on consumption also reveals that consumers have a great need to be in control, at least when it comes to their personal choices. To stand out positively during and after the pandemic, and to address this need, here are five essential things to incorporate into your communications.

Sharing a common goal

Every company must not only recover from the crisis, but also demonstrate its positive contribution to society. A recent Léger survey [2] shows that Canadians are more aware of buying locally and that food and health are at the heart of their concerns. Whether to allow consumers and society to be safe or to inspire, brand positioning must be resolutely human.

From words to action

Consumers’ antipathy towards environmentally-unfriendly companies will increase as much as their expectations of those with targeted and sustainable actions. According to a recent Mindshare poll, only 2% of Canadians expect absolutely nothing from businesses in this time of pandemic. Operational changes in your business will inevitably create expectations for the future. If you want to engage consumers in your process of evolution, you will need to communicate what drives you with both transparency and sensitivity.

A cohesive and conscious community

In these uncertain times, 60% of Canadians do not want to see new advertising campaigns [3]. Now that consumers are more sensitive to sales pitches and lack of authenticity, references from close friends and family and also from recognized personalities will be under the magnifying glass. Influence marketing campaigns will only pay off in the short term when they are executed effectively and authentically.

A need for simplicity

The whole crisis is putting inevitable pressure on companies. A Léger study [4] predicts that 71% of those who have adopted online behaviours for the first time intend to maintain at least one of these behaviours after the crisis. A major finding from the same study concludes that the pandemic is benefiting organizations offering online products and services, and that there are major opportunities to be seized to sustain these gains over the long term.

A few leads:

  • Simplify your online payment process
  • Get efficient, friendly and competent online support
  • Optimize the navigation of your website (computer and mobile)
  • Be sure to engage your potential consumers through multiple channels of communication

A desire for involvement

Given the growing need for human contact, consumers want more than ever for brands to listen to them. To forge this connection, you can develop ways to involve consumers in the creation of a product, experience or initiative. And this can be done easily—given the increased use of social media and the desire to socialize, their opinion can be solicited via these platforms or through chatbots.

Would you like to share your challenges with us in these uncertain times? Or ask us your questions? Drop us a line, we want to hear from you.


[1] https://www.numerator.com/resources/blog/impact-coronavirus-covid-19-canadian-consumer-behaviour

[2] Report: Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Behaviour of Canadians, by Leger Marketing. April 9, 2020

[3] Angus Reid Study, March 16, 2020

[4]  Report: Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Behaviour of Canadians, by Leger Marketing. April 9, 2020

Noémi Foucault About the author
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