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I know what you need this summer: 5 things your customers crave Ken Hughes - July 29, 2021

Customer Experience Ken 2C7591E98203Ca27A8B1F443A81800D9

As we face into the summer of 2021, the Big Take Back summer, we are in a very different psychological and social space than previously experienced, as is your customer. Last summer we had just come out the other side of the initial pandemic exposure, vaccines were still unavailable, and other more transmissible variants were yet to give us second and third infection waves and their resulting lock-downs and sheltering. Fear and uncertainty lurked under the thin ice of 2020.

At the time of writing, we still face uncertainty. The UK rates of infection have gone from a stable 2,000 cases a day back to 20,000+ a day in under a month, while India seems to have come out the other side of its 350,000+ cases a day horror story. Colombia and Brazil are struggling as is Russia, where infection rates have doubled over the past 30 days. We are by no means out of the proverbial woods.

And yet we are. Perception is an amazing thing. From a consumer sentiment perspective, it is all over. If you are reading this in Europe or the US you will certainly identify with this. Regardless of the statistics on cases or vaccinations, the consumer themselves seems to have had enough and decided to take their lives back.

Vaccines will continue to be administered at pace, new booster shots developed to tackle the new emerging variants, and the ‘acceptance’ stage seems to have been reached by most in their grief cycle. We’ve navigated through denial, bargaining, anger and depression and now it’s time to get on with our lives. That’s the sentiment, we’ve done the hard work, and now its time to move on.

For brands and businesses, this means opportunity. Any business that fails to capitalise on The Big Take Back will possibly lose out on one of the biggest moments in brand attachment of our times. So, this summer, here are 5 consumer values to keep in mind.

5  consumer values to keep in mind this summer

1. Escaping the Box of Home

We have spent so long imprisoned in our own home, county and state. Working-from-Home combined with few vacations has meant that consumers yearn to escape the four-walls of home. While the travel and hospitality sectors are the ones set to make the most from this, any brand can tap into and leverage this sentiment.

Consumers are hungry for escape. Give them a reason to go somewhere beyond the environments they know. The Big Take Back, certainly in the short-term has a very ‘away form home’ feel about it. The big day out, the trip away, the outdoor life, the picnics, sunshine and friends, the fresh air and fun. Adventure is out there, not at home. These are all images you want to be highlighting in any marketing communications over the next 3 months, regardless of what business you are in.

2. The Desire for Social Reconnection

A ridiculously obvious value, but isolation breeds a desire to reconnect. Social connection is a huge part of our mental health, and once the physical connections were restored (hugs and handshakes are slowly becoming the norm again), it is Social Reconnection that most hunger for.

Spending time with friends and family, catching up in the same physical space, drinks and dinner, walks in the park, laughter in person as opposed to over Zoom. Digital disconnect becomes desirable, real-world interactions aspirational.  As a society, social reconnection is a priority.

This is a very positive mind and heart space, and if you are not taking advantage of this, using your brand as a conduit for reconnection, you are missing out.  Frame whatever you selling within the social reconnection space this summer.

3. Memorable Shareable Experiences

Most of us are prompted by Google Photos or Facebook, at various times or seasons, as to what we were doing ‘this time last year’.  Sadly, our memory/image banks have run somewhat dry over the past 18-months.  We are lacking in memories and their underlying experiences. We all remember the conversations with friends over the past year where we had nothing new to say, no new experiences to share, nothing to post on Instagram.

Experiences are the foundation of memory. Experiences evoke an emotional response and it is those emotions that help code the memory. It thus follows that any positive experience we now have, one that evokes joy, delight, laughter and a feeling of belonging or freedom, will be remembered. The trick here is to ensure your brand or business is the conduit through which that experience was delivered. Linking our brands to an experience is key, as the brand then becomes coded with the positive memory.

As brand owners we always seek to build brand loyalty, tribal following and customer lifetime value. With our customers seeking attachment and having such a strong desire for ‘experiential currency’ right now, we would be foolish not to capitalise and deliver on this value, particularly over summer months.

4. From We to Me

The Community value is one I have written about before, and one that was very evident throughout the pandemic. ‘We are all in this together’ until we are not. We are a tribal people and tend to work together in times of adversity. But when those times are over, there is a self-indulgence that remerges.

We have all done what was asked of us by governments, our healthcare professionals and society at large. We stayed at home, we worked and went to school at home, we didn’t see family and friends, we didn’t go on vacation. We did what we were told for the greater good, for the WE.

3D illustration of a magnifying glass over a paper bakground with focus on the word me. Concept of egocentrism

Now it’s time for the ME. The Big Take Back is a very personal journey and one laden with self-indulgence. This is about what I deserve as an individual, what I desire. I want to indulge myself, reward myself, and nobody is going to tell me any different.

Tap into this. Position your brand or business to support this sentiment this summer. Facilitate indulgence, make it all about them.

5. Fuel my Empowerment

Successful personal recovery comes about from a desire to succeed, a desire to want a new life. This is the much written about Empowerment value. Consumers right now are hugely empowered for their Big Take Back journey. They want their freedoms back, they want control over their lives again, they relish that feeling of empowerment.

If you want to have your brand truly enter consumer heart space, you need to reflect and resonate this value with your customer. You need to give them this control, this feeling of achievement, that your brand and business can help them fulfil their desires.  Any marketing or product communication should all be looked at through a lens of empowerment.

So, there you have it. Five values that are key to consumers this summer. If we can reflect these values back at consumers through our marketing communications and product proposition, we become a brand that is accompanying them on their recovery journey, a brand that facilitates it, that becomes a conduit for their positive experiences. We form emotional ties that otherwise may have taken years to achieve. Don’t let these opportunities for brand attachment pass you by.

This blog contains material drawn from Ken Hughes’ latest keynote The Big Take Back: The Consumer Psychology of Recovery. Click here to read more and book this inspiring keynote for your next physical, virtual or hybrid event.

Ken Hughes is now considered one of the World’s leading speakers on the subject of consumer values, organizational change, leadership and agility. His virtual and live in-person keynotes are famous for their high-energy, thought provoking content as well as their impactful and inspiring delivery.

This blog was first featured on Ken Hughes’ website.

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Ken Hughes

Ken Hughes is now acknowledged as being one of the world’s leading authorities on consumer, shopper and cyber shopper behaviour. He is internationally renowned for helping his...