The UK has been living with lockdown for nearly three months, which has meant that consumers’ lives from all aspects has drastically changed. However, we are fundamentally creatures of habit and tend to steer clear of change. Having consistency allows us to make shortcuts in our everyday lives, saving us time, energy and providing us with feelings of comfort. So when our world is sent into chaos it causes us stress and feelings of negativity. It is therefore no surprise that currently 50% of Brits state that they are experiencing feelings of apprehension and 43% feelings of worry1. Demonstrating that having so many unknowns in this ‘new’ world drives feelings of negativity.

As we try to make sense of this unknown, we find ourselves asking questions and lots of them, to help provide ourselves with a degree of clarity. Google trends shows us that the majority of the searches are centred around questions. Interestingly, the question topics have moved to being focussed on far broader societal and economic questions, such as ‘what does a shrinking economy mean’ is up 5000%2. But also, the format of the questions have shifted to ‘when,’ ‘where’ and ‘why,’ with questions like: ‘when do you have to wear a mask,’ ‘what are the quarantine rules in the UK’ and ‘when will lockdown end.’ This highlights consumer need to try and make sense of everything going on around them.

As we try to make sense of what is going on, we are also adapting. Questions related to ‘how’ are currently less related to brands but broader behaviours. Consumers are adapting by either wanting to upskill themselves or being forced to rely more on their skillset because products aren’t available. Examples include ‘how to make coconut macaroons’, which has increased 170%3 in the last week and ‘how to use Microsoft teams’ has increased 150%4 in the last week.

During this period brands need to be providing consumers with reassurance to help alleviate their apprehension and worry. Providing answers to their questions is an easy win, potentially framed in the wider societal and economic climate to help add context. As an example, TSB recently launched a TV campaign featuring staff members – to provide a “message that we’re here to help and to give customers a sense of calm and reassurance.” Alongside this their website has a section specifically for Covid19, pre-empting questions consumers may have. This provides solutions to empower consumers to tackle their question themselves, which will help provide them with a greater feeling of control over their lives.

  1. Lightbox Pulse 2,3&4.Google Trends June 2020

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