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Which of the 4 pandemic stages are you in? Study shows how companies should treat you in each

Which of the 4 pandemic stages are you in? Study shows how companies should treat you in each
[Photo: Blake Wisz/Unsplash]

You know how the world is changing forever and our lives will never be the same? That. Right. It presents opportunities for businesses to integrate themselves into consumers’ lives, but carefully. Recently scared people are not rational people, and so talking to consumers right now is a narrow tightrope. A new study from JoyCorps pinpoints what to say and when.

The project was intended for the dozen businesses in JoyCorps’s accelerator, which houses entrepreneurs in Asia that work with vulnerable communities. The study was so helpful that JoyCorps decided to share the findings globally. The study surveys 25,000 customers in North America, Europe, and Australia, and it uses AI analysis to glean the language, emotions, and needs of customers.

The four phases of customers

  1. Comfort. Before the pandemic, most customers felt safe and in control.
  2. Fear. A two-plus-week phase marked by irrational and emotional concerns as people grapple to understand what is happening.
  3. Learning and adjusting. A five-plus-week phase where customers change their habits and adapt to a new lifestyle. Many consumers are currently in this phase. It is here that companies have the opportunity to become part of customers’ new day-to-day lives as they relearn how to find control and calm.
  4. Establishment. A phase where consumers cement new habits.

Note that as the crisis continues and hits some regions hard, customers may revert to a previous stage.

[Image: courtesy of JoyCorps]

What to do in the two moments of impact

Moment One:

  • Communicate stability, familiarity, and how your product can help the consumer gain control. This is not the time for excitement, adventurousness, or any conceptual or wildly out-of-the-box products. Emphasize ease of order and delivery, and that your company has figured it out.
  • Think essential comfort and belonging. This applies to everything from toys, which might promote nostalgia, to watches, which might provide comfort.
  • Try new ways of communication and purchase. Good ideas include subscriptions and celebrating local. The delivery and purchase process might be new, but the product itself is familiar, appealing, and comforting.

Moment Two:

  • Be utterly welcoming, human, and relatable, using “we” language. Everyone needs belonging, so that’s what you’re offering. Your tone is “we expect things to return to normal, but we’re embracing a new outlook and way of being.” Provide platforms for customers to interact with the brand and have a say, because your brand is integrating into their lives, and those lives are currently full of conversations about what the heck is happening in the world.
  • Think interactive, experiential, and ecosystem. You are doing the work for the overwhelmed consumer, so rather than selling single items, you might put together subscriptions or entire meals or arrange curated experiences around single items.
  • Try encouraging many forms of consumer expression, including feedback and personalization, allowing customized orders, and any other personal touches that make sense.

Remember: People are cautious and emotional, and they seek structure, stability, and harmony—which you can provide. But how you talk to them makes all the difference.

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