Adapt, Innovate, Focus, Communicate:
Brand Engagement in Times of Change
In our recent wave of the Future of Money Study, we looked at the impact of COVID-19 on Americans’ financial lives. There’s no doubt that people are anxious about day-to-day financial survival, and this extends to worry about what the future may hold for them from a money standpoint. They are changing the way they work, spend, save and invest in order to make it through these uncertain times.
With the recent civil and political unrest, gradual re-opening of states, concerns about on and off spikes of the pandemic and the unknown magnitude of the impact on the economy, we will continue to face uncertain times. What we learned in our recent research is that people need assistance and great communications now, in the near term, while they are having trouble planning too far out. Brands need to help people now, while they work on strategies to address the future.
Brands must adapt in order to thrive—and to help their customers thrive.
This landscape creates unprecedented opportunities for brands who are willing to accelerate the development of:
Innovative digital products and services that speak to the consumer’s increased need for ease-of-use and connectivity when it comes to managing their money
New customer experiences that are integrated and grounded in exceptional service that is focused on audience needs
Empathetic, relevant and frequent communications that put customers at the center, illustrating tangible support and a community-oriented mindset
For brands to keep up, these kinds of consumer-centric offerings will need to launch at record speed, while also allowing for strategic adjustments and refinements as sentiment and needs shift. Quick-footed moves to meet consumers’ needs in the time of COVID-19 will have to happen alongside the development of long-term strategies. In order to inform these important moves, financial brands and institutions absolutely must connect with customers on multiple levels.
Market research can give you a foundation for building these connections. Your consumer insights strategy should be:
- Fast and effective for immediate needs: Inform short-term planning for products, experiences and key messaging that will resonate with a consumer in distress.
- In-depth mix of methodologies for long-term planning: Quantitative, qualitative, behavioral research, ethnography and more can give robust, layered insights into how people believe their financial lives and behavior surrounding money will permanently change, and their expectations for the future.
- Empathetic and emotion-oriented, for the human in all of us: Emotions are driving consumer behavior more than ever before, so understanding the complexities and intensity of these feelings is vital. Dig into consumer sentiment to inform all of your communications and offerings.
COVID-19 is clearly hitting every aspect of the financial ecosystem. It will be critical for the duration of the crisis, and post-crisis, to have a deep understanding of Americans’ changing financial needs and behaviors. Americans are looking for their financial institutions to help guide them through tough times. Reach out to us to learn more.