The new normal is not a concept for the COVID-19 era. Why?
It takes time for the world to settle with any new mega social shift. Consumerism will change and then settle. While the impact of COVID-19 continues, it will take time for brands and their stories to settle to bring in the new normal and its norms.
The critical focus for brands is to decide the extent to which their present stories should continue. The emphasis has to be on behavioural re-targeting (or behavioural re-marketing) as a form of creating new and relevant narrative hooks.
Taking the example of the beauty industry, consumers have lately experienced extreme digital stress. Staying home has reduced the levels of Vitamin D in the body system. Brands are re-focusing their messages on the benefits story to create a revised definition of beauty and one which is largely nature- and nutrition-infused.
In sync with times
An example of such messaging is by Purity Vitamins Bronzing Water body mist and face serum, a product infused with vitamins D and C to brighten and protect the skin. The messaging has been around the Vitamin D boost, which has the positive impact of sunshine but without the damage of UV rays.
A McKinsey survey showed that in Egypt around two-thirds of consumers have seen a recent decline in income. Some 61 per cent of consumers in Saudi Arabia believe their personal or household finances will take a hit for at least two months.
As a result of such sentiments, the advent of deals in the ecommerce space has been a hot trend. Hence the retail industry has seen a refocus on an assortment of merchandising. Majid Al Futtaim creating a campaign around ‘click-and-collect’ endorses the new norms of social distancing and limited personal contact.
The automobile industry faced an unprecedented slump in the COVID-19 era is also changing its messaging thrust. The Nissan Patrol, a traditionally powerful brand in the region, came up with a brand new look and advertising with a new logo to symbolise the need to usher in a new era.
The social depression around COVID-19 led to a fresh buzz in the marketing and messaging, and Patrol has successfully channelled that enthusiasm for greater consumer interest and confidence.
All of which suggests positive psychology as part of the new normal in brand messaging and communication. Adaptable marketing will focus on brands, their marketing and their stories, which communicate that positive message. The need for freshness and a stepping out of the COVID-19 imposed stories will create that positive marketing.
The idea remains to get the right message with the right tone and focus.
- Rakesh Kumar is CEO of Human Strategic Marketing.