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Planning For The Future Consumer Experience

November 10, 2020


Planning For The Future Consumer Experience

What’s Been Gained and What’s Been Lost

As we enter the last couple of months of 2020, we definitely have a tendency to get a little introspective. That’s not a bad thing—taking the time to reflect on where we’ve been helps us prepare for where we’re going. And in a year like this, taking that time to gather our thoughts and prepare is crucial.

So, let’s take stock. What trends have emerged in the last seven, eight months, and where are we going to go from here? I think these are the major takeaways.

Self-Discovery and Efficiency

Recent research shows a lot of people put emphasis on self-improvement this year. Many of us re found it tough to keep our motivation, especially when we don’t have a clear direction. Others rediscovered old passions or started leaning in on new interests. And focusing on the self seemed to be more popular than ever.

In some ways, that’s down to two factors:

1.      We actually had the time for once.

2.      We had nothing else to do.

So many people were laid off or working part-time, and we couldn’t go out to restaurants or engage in nightlife. Taking an online course, reading a book, or watching educational Netflix series were options we had that were open to us.

We also became more efficient this year. Work’s a great example: a lot of people are switching from merely looking at attendance. Instead, they’re looking at productivity statistics—how much do you get done in an hour when you’re at work?

This is good news, and it will likely play into longer-term trends we’re going to see in the coming years. We’re going to push for different ways of measuring ourselves as employees. That could lead to changes in things like the eight-hour workday. In turn, we could open up more time for self-discovery and self-improvement.

And that’s the second thing we’re likely going to see: people are going to push more to have that time to themselves. Once we have it, we’re not going to want to let it go.

The Irreplaceable Piece of “IRL”

Another trend we’ve seen is people recognizing that there are some things that can’t be duplicated virtually. We can host a virtual concert, sure, but is it the same as attending a real-life one? No! And Zoom birthday parties are fun but definitely not the same as being in the same room as the birthday girl or boy.

That loss of social connection is one of the greatest pain points.  It's something we’re going to carry with us into the future. We’re going to appreciate these things more—you know the saying, you often don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

People are missing traditions or hosting or celebrating and such. People are missing social contact. When this pandemic is behind us, experts are predicting that we’re going to see increased demand for experiences.

I think we’re also going to see a finer point put on two things:

1.      Taking the time for experiences.

2.      Savouring these experiences.

So, not just birthday parties, but birthday parties that actually have meaning and weight behind them. Events that were considered less fun like Grandma’s 80th, our kids may be jumping in and supporting us planning something extra special—because we couldn’t this year and because we might not get to next year.

What This Means for Marketers

So, what are we looking at here? We’re looking at a population that’s going to be more efficient, especially with work. They’re going to be pushing to free up more time for what they feel is really important.

We’re going to see a push to “slow” as well. People are going to be hungry for experiences, yes, but they’re also going to look for quality time with each other. And they’re going to make the push to make sure they have that time, to put relationships front and centrewhenever we’re all completely free from lockdowns.

We’ll be more on the clock than ever at work, but more willing to hit pause on our schedules so we can create meaningful social connections.

Marketers are going to need to tap into that desire in some way. For a restaurant, one idea was that people might eat out less—but that they should focus on the experience of dining in a restaurant setting. That might translate into more exclusivity.

We might see the same in shops. Instead of shoppers coming in and out, they instead book a private time—a time carved out for them—and they bring along two or three of their besties. That becomes something exclusive, luxurious—and dedicated to social connection and meaningful experience.

People have already indicated a willingness to spend more on new experiences and travel. We need to be ready to incorporate that in some way. And we have to be able to speak to the desire for social connection as well.

So if we can offer all that up—something that feels luxurious, novel and exciting, that doesn’t take social interaction for granted—we’re going to have a winning strategy. Offering one-on-one or more “exclusive” experiences might also speak to a changed mindset about crowds, health, and safety.

We also need to think about energy. People cite that as a key aspect missing from their virtual experiences. Is dancing alone in your living room on a stream with 20,000 people really satisfying? Most people say no—the energy of that 20,000-strong crowd is missing from the stream. Same with online yoga classes and even Zoom meetings. You’re missing the energy and vitality other people bring!

So that’s where there’s going to be an opportunity for brands, to deliver what we’re missing in a world that’s more than ready to make time for it.

Of course, the kinds of experiences we should offer depend on our brand. If we market fruit spreads and coffee, then maybe luxurious brunch dates are our wheelhouse. 

As we rethink our strategies, where we’re going and what we’re going to deliver to our customers in the future, we have to remember our brand essence.

Remember to start with the why!


Here to inspire!

I am a business person who has excelled in driving a competitive edge through marketing, strategy, innovation, building irresistible brands and unlocking the genius that exists. I am writing is inspire or create new consideration. If you have ideas or questions that you would like me to put a pen too, I would be delighted.

I would also be grateful if you shared this or any of the articles I have written to inspire others.

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