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The importance of understanding people where they are in 2020

The pandemic has brought with it significant changes to the way we live our lives.

Businesses need to take care, and sensitivity is needed, to avoid any suggestion of exploiting what has been a very difficult time for many families. But at the same time, brands need to make sure they are aware of changing attitudes and new priorities and needs.

They need to communicate with their customers recognising where they are now, what they are going through, and the challenges that face them.

The changing role of ‘home’

A key change which seems likely to stay with us for the foreseeable future is the shift to a new meaning of ‘home’. Instead of being a place of refuge, escape and relaxation, home has become the place where EVERYTHING happens.

This has brought benefits and even joys. Workers saving on commuting time, families eating together more, and parents spending more time with their children (and not just when they walk in on an important Zoom call!).

But it has also brought challenges. It can be more difficult to navigate work/life balance, to find time alone, and sharing space, equipment and wifi can cause problems.

A YouGov study published this week showed that there is an appetite for continuing to work from home at least some of the time, and trains are still running at 15% of normal capacity – so it looks likely that the new ways of living, and shifted meaning of home will continue for some time yet.

The potential for brands to play a role

The way consumers deal with these changes, and the way they interact with your category, and are helped to navigate the changes by your brand, could influence their loyalty for years to come.

It is important to understand the challenges your consumers are facing – and their unmet needs. How can your brand support people in the shift from home as a place of escape, to home as workplace, entertainment space, educational institution and even gym?

At a time when trust in institutions is being eroded, people increasingly look to brands for dependability and support. Brands need to remain relevant in this new world – and a key step is to understand the role they play now, and could play in the future.

To achieve this, it is important to meet people where they are, and to gain as rich an understanding of their lives as possible. Online ethnography (remote observation and understanding of the way people are adapting to their new ways of living) can help you understand your customers’ new world, and through that understanding find creative ways to meet their changing needs and consumption patterns.

Get in touch via the website, or email info@museresearch.co.uk, to learn about how online ethnographic research can get the most out of your research budget, and help you to make truly informed business decisions.