The impact of COVID-19 heralds a 2021 consumption model influenced by emotional and organizational stress. The trauma caused by the pandemic and its transformational power over factors the population considers priorities will put the “emotion economy” front-and-center in brand relationships more than ever before. At the same time, and in conjunction with the forced process of digitalization taking place in many areas, organizational consumption logistics will also change in response to the requirement to react swiftly to new consumer needs.
The emotional stress stemming from the pandemic, which the world has been living through for many months, will mean empathy will be a key brand personality trait. The insecurity and uncertainty we are experiencing will also mean these key issues include a need for homes to be perceived as safe and healthy places, and the products and services offered must be simplified. Furthermore, the taboo around mental health will continue to fade, making it easier for brands to participate in these types of social conversations.
In terms of the logistics behind how we consume, the shift toward new city models will be joined by strong growth in activism in favor of local consumption. All this will take place within a context of desynchronized consumption, since more people will be working from home and e-commerce is growing. This will force many brands to reconsider their retail strategies and/or advertising schedules. Moreover, two phenomena that might seem contradictory will, in fact, complement one another: The expanding cancel culture, which is tied to boycotts of brands that conflict with certain communities’ values; and the predominant role of accessibility, stemming from the economic needs of today’s reality.
More than ever, creativity is becoming a key factor in transforming a scenario of risk and instability into one full of opportunities for consumer-brand relationships.