COVID-19 was the one event no one could have predicted for 2020. It turned the world, as we knew it, upside down. Our personal and professional lives were affected in so many different ways. Some companies had to learn how to operate their businesses differently, quickly putting new processes into place to protect their employees and their consumers, while other companies had to shut down their businesses temporarily. Families had to figure out childcare and teaching their children from home. Universities had to move to online instruction. We all had to change how we socialize and communicate with each other.
Now that many countries and companies are beginning to reopen and navigate these uncharted waters, the world is different. We are different. The way we communicate and interact has changed, and life won’t be going back to the way it was anytime soon. Maybe that is a good thing. I see opportunities for companies to lead and improve their relationships with their consumers and their employees if they make a few changes.
Planning for a Post-Pandemic World
What you thought you knew yesterday is not likely to be true for today or tomorrow.
Assumptions and findings about your consumers or target audiences have likely changed because everyone has been impacted in some way by the events of this year. Companies should consider taking the time to conduct market research to understand how the needs of their consumers or target market may have changed. Following the latest market research trends will ensure you understand what exactly is going on in your audience’s world, not just your own.
Leverage Primary Research
A few ways to do primary research and talk to consumers safely right now are through online surveys and phone interviews or online focus groups. Both offer different ways to understand the consumer and to see what has or has not changed. Online surveys can provide you with the opportunity to speak to a larger number of people with a lower margin of error, but phone interviews or online focus groups can give you those consumer stories that provide a deeper level of understanding of the issues consumers are facing in their lives. Ideally, it would benefit companies to use both research methods, paired with careful questionnaire development, so they can verify they are getting a broad level of actionable insights before they make any big decisions for the rest of the year.
Perfect Your Message & Amplify It
After doing research to understand their consumers better, companies need to decide how they want to communicate their message. Messaging is crucial to get right in a new era where people are looking at companies to lead and provide comfort. Brand attributes and how companies are perceived will make a larger difference in how consumers interact and make purchasing decisions moving forward. Messages that are old will be overlooked and companies that get it wrong will lose customers. Newer brands and younger companies have a unique opportunity to acquire consumers and make their views known. Ensuring those messages are well received requires taking the time to test the messages to get them right.
Why Market Research Matters Now
Investing in market research before making any big business decisions can save companies the time and hassle of having to relaunch a product or service, help avoid a PR crisis, get it right the first time, and create stronger customer relationships moving forward.
But customer relationships are not the only relationship that matters. Brands are only as good as their employees and employees want to be valued.
Many people lost their jobs in the wake of the pandemic. Employee brand communications are incredibly important to current, furloughed, and future employees. People want to know what a brand values, what it is committed to, and where the company is aiming to go, and the public is taking the time to do their homework. Furthermore, in the wake of the Black Lives Matters movement, people are taking a closer look at the C-suite of companies, company boards, and diversity within organizations. If a brand is talking about diversity, but lacks diversity, it isn’t practicing what it preaches. Many people realize that we, as a society, need to do better to move our country forward, and companies can lead the way by taking action to promote more flexible working and childcare arrangements, transparency about company goals in diversity and inclusion, good healthcare plans, workforce training and retraining opportunities, and providing matching for 401k plans. Employees are a company’s best asset. Smart companies will continue to invest in their employees and the issues that matter to them.
The way forward will be different. Isn’t it worth it to make sure you invest your time and resources wisely to help build a better future for everyone tomorrow? Get started by checking out our market research services.