“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
Einstein’s genius is undeniable and his legacy extraordinary. When faced with challenges, Einstein persevered and continued to innovate. In these challenging times, as with Einstein, brands that acknowledge new realities and develop solutions will prosper.
Since the onset of the current health and economic crisis, businesses have closed, schools have shut down, and states have locked down. Life has changed and so have consumer behaviors. According to Social Media Link’s COVID-19 Brand Sentiment Navigator, in April 2020, more than half of the 5,400 consumers surveyed reported having tried new brands and 48% say they would stick with them.
Consumer attitudes toward brands have also changed. In the same study, 67% of consumers said the pandemic has greatly/somewhat impacted their view of brands, up from 58% the previous month. The top 5 brand values key to maintaining consumer relationships are: Good Value 79%, Quality Product 71%, Keeping Customers and Employees Safe 58%, Readily Available 58%, and Giving Back to the Community 47%.
For example, as consumers increasingly moved to working from home, there was an urgent need for products to help them work remotely. Best Buy stores were entirely closed during the last six weeks of the quarter. Remarkably, they were able to retain 80% of sales. Fortune’s recent interview with Corie Barry, Best Buy’s CEO, who also happens to be the youngest female CEO in the Fortune 100, shared the company’s strategy – listen and show empathy. For customers, they “doubled down” on stocking products, were among the first to offer curbside pickup, and focused on convenience and safety in every interaction. And, for employees, while Best Buy initially furloughed workers, they have since brought back more than half, raised hourly rates, and created an employee assistance fund.
Another example is Domino’s Pizza. Fear about health, increased unemployment, and the difficulties of being at home all day are just some of the factors pushing consumers toward food that makes us feel better. When Ranker.com asked people to list their top comfort foods, pizza ranked #1. Recently, Domino’s reported 2nd quarter sales increases for US stores by month of 7.1%, 20.90%, and 14.0%, respectively (PRNewswire). To address current employee needs, Domino’s has added health and safety measures, increased wages, and created thank you bonuses. For customers, they have developed contactless delivery and carryout. And for the overall community, Domino’s launched “Feed the Need”, donating 10 million slices of pizza to first responders , essential workers, and people in need.
The coronavirus has yet to show signs of easing, The challenges are many and the difficulties it presents endure. But for brands willing to embrace the new realities of shifting consumer behaviors and attitudes, new solutions can drive future growth. So in the spirit of Einstein, ask yourself, what is your next opportunity?