August 7 | 2020

360º Attention Talk: adapt & survive 2020

Alex Araque

On Thursday the 6th of August we sat down for a 360º video Attention Talk with Manon Hietbrink, research director of Mindshare, to talk about what data says in regards to COVID-19’s impact on consumers and its relationship with brands.

Manon was accompanied by our strategy director, Daniel Vargas and Niek Eijbouts, creative director. During the talk the three discussed the fundamental changes in consumer preferences due to the current crisis and how can brands adapt to the new normal in order to survive the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Manon: ‘Research shows us that when people go through life changing events, the established patterns don’t work anymore. This is especially true when the impact is not limited to some countries, but everyone in the world. At this moment we know people are more open to brands but have higher conscious levels than before. Every choice they make, has to feel 100% right for them.’


The best practices

What this means for advertisers is that consumers are looking for brands that help them decrease insecurity levels and give them some kind of control back. A good example of this is what Dutch telecom provider KPN did at the beginning of the lockdown with their “Ode to Holland”. (Dutch video below)

It was one of the first ads that gave people a sense of security and they complemented this with concrete actions. While the ad worked perfectly at the beginning of the crisis -because it was at the right moment with the right tone of voice- it does not work anymore. After countless “togetherness” ads, people are fed up with that sentiment, now they are looking for more practical help.

A few weeks after we saw Nike seizing the moment correctly with their “For once, Don’t Do It” campaign during the BLM protests. Nike had a very strong position about the situation and was not afraid to communicate it. More importantly, it communicated with the right tone of voice that fitted the moment and stayed truth to the brand. People are expecting brands to lead, because everyone is insecure and conscious. L’Oreal wanted to seize the moment as well and it did not work, they overpromised and did not deliver to consumer expectations. Consumers are more alert than ever before.

While the current environment calls to have a serious and conscious tone of voice, this is not the only way to success. The trio discussed how Burger King with its “Christmas in July” campaign succeeded while being funny. Niek Eijsbouts, creative director: ‘We all want 2020 to be over, and humour is a perfect way for a brand like Burger King to win the hearts of their fans.’

We’ve been here before

Finally, the trio pointed out how this is not just a trend that came from the COVID-19 crisis. Previous years have shown similar changes in consumer preferences in regards to the active role that brands play in the world and therefore, their responsibility. If anything, this health crisis accelerated the change and it’s unlikely to stop any time soon.


Key Takeaways

To end the talk, Manon gave her 3 takeaways for brands in order to survive 2020:

  1. Be there: Crisis and life changing events are the moments when consumers are more open to new brands.
  2. Be authentic and stay true to your brand: have a unique position and express your message from that point of view, consumers are highly critical of blunt statements.
  3. Listen carefully: it’s very important that advertisers listen to people from an objective point of view. Listen, research and test your assumptions. Everyone is on the same boat and that makes being relevant even harder.

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