Life After Lockdown – Ten Consumer Trends for Small Business

We’re all currently thinking the same question “How is life going to be after lockdown?” both in general and in a business context. Well fear not, I can help answer this courtesy of some brilliant insight work undertaken by Mail Metro Media, in particular, their Head of Insight Luke Hand- you can find the original study and further information here: https://www.mailmetromedia.co.uk/news/mail-metro-media-masterclasses-for-small-businesses/

For full transparency, this was presented by the Federation of Small Business https://www.fsb.org.uk/ as part of a look into the impact of lockdown on small businesses, exploring consumer sentiment during COVID-19, media consumption shifts and how businesses and brands can still be very relevant.

I’m keen to share this as I know it will affect a lot of us and in doing so, I hope it might help unlock some ideas as to how best to respond to life after lockdown. The top ten are:

  1. Celebrate The Everyday – 65% of people will appreciate the simple things more than they did previously – how can brands ensure their products enable and form part of these everyday moments?
  2. Health and Appearance – 33% believe their appearance has worsened – an enforced sedentary lifestyle has resulted in people feeling worse about themselves and their health – how can businesses help them allay some of their fears of lockdown?
  3. Communities in the Spotlight – 65% of people believe the impact of coronavirus has helped communities come together – the limit on travel has made people appreciate local shops and services more – ensure you stay front of mind, once travel restrictions are lifted
  4. Home is Where the Heart Is 49% of people appreciate their home more than they ever did before the pandemic – we’ve all spent so much time in our homes and gardens and this will set to continue – how can brands maximise the enjoyment of indoor and outdoor space?
  5. Enable New Experiences 52% of people can’t wait to let off some steam – with sectors re-opening, 2/5  people are ready to embrace new opportunities/experiences, so ensure businesses in leisure/travel/recreation are ready to react accordingly
  6. Be Accessible to All/Playing It Safe with 38% of spending to be online post-lockdown and 3 out of 5 cautious about going out, small businesses who have eCommerce ability should continue to promote availability of their products online and traditional bricks and mortar businesses should ensure they communicate it’s safe to return
  7. Ongoing Importance of Flexibility and Reassurance 91% of people believe travel companies should be telling people about their cancellation/refund policies – a lot of us will be looking forward to getting away domestically or abroad for the first time in a while. Businesses in the travel/hospitality sector need to demonstrate and communicate how they are being flexible and adapting to changing regulations
  8. It Pays to be Practical 70% of people want help from brands to help them navigate the economic uncertainty – there’s been an explosion in people searching for ‘how to’ or ‘how do I’ content – if your business is providing a solution, how could your marketing communicate this to create awareness?
  9. Importance of Humour 58% of people would prefer uplifting advertising at this time – let’s be honest, it’s been a fairly rubbish year for everyone with the stark and dour Government Corona adverts hardly enlivening the party. The right use of Humour in a brands’ advertising could be the perfect tonic to get a response.
  10. Newsbrands in Demand 4 out of 5 adults engage with an online newspaper website every week – although a news publisher is behind the above insights, it’s still a channel worth considering to reach your audience, especially with the increase in news consumption in current times

I’m looking forward to discussing how the above will impact my clients’ business and how we should be planning to make the most of the opportunities’ afforded. Please do get in touch here Contact if I can help turn any of the insights above into actionable campaigns to help get your business moving again in our post lockdown world.

What Cobra Kai can teach you about marketing

Ok, let’s get one thing clear – there has been no endorsement from Netflix or the makers of Cobra Kai for me to write this article.

But I will confess I’m a huge fan and it seems many others are too, with an 8.7 on IMDB and 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, check out either to see what all the fuss is about if you’ve not been fortunate to watch it yet. What struck me whilst watching, there were as many lessons on marketing that can be taught from Cobra Kai as there are on Karate.

For the uninitiated (shame on you), Cobra Kai picks up the story of the two main protagonists from the original Karate Kid, Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, 34 years after their epic fight in the final of the All Valley Karate championship. Johnny decides to re-open his old dojo (Karate training centre), whilst Daniel runs a very successful car dealership, whose brand/ethos is based on his karate training/mentor, Mr Miyagi.

Here’s what Cobra Kai can teach you about marketing:

  1. Be brand authentic – your brand should ideally be based on a truth that represents what you offer – it should be the customer outtake when they see your advertising, visit your website or purchase from you. It should also be consistent, as it’s more likely to be remembered. If it’s fake or not being communicated correctly, this will become apparent. In Cobra Kai, Daniel bases his marketing on his Japanese Karate background – in his advertising and by giving away Bonsai trees with every car sold. Slightly tenuous, but his brand is his name ‘LaRusso’ and Karate is his great passion, meaning a very powerful and authentic brand story that comes through in his marketing.
  2. Messaging – can a new customer understand your offering in as little time as possible? We’re exposed to around 5,000 messages a day (source: Yankelovich), so it pays to be as concise and on message as possible. The Cobra Kai motto is: Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy which is admittedly a bit dubious, but also is memorable and encapsulates the Cobra Kai ethos.
  3. Open to new channels – sometimes, a fresh approach to how you advertise could reap benefits – no doubt there will be core channels depending on your business, but you should also be open to alternatives which could expose you to a new audience. And the beauty of a lot of direct/digital channels are you can test them at a low cost and to refine your messaging. When a fight goes viral at school and a Cobra Kai pupil is involved, it’s the right medium for the right audience and results in a surge in memberships.
  4. Synergy – when the sum of the parts is greater than individual action, yes it might mean a bit more effort and/or spend, but the results will be worth it. Of course not every communication needs to be a campaign, but you will be more effective if you can achieve as much synergy as possible. It’s a great metaphor for Karate, as Daniel teaches his students about learning all the different techniques to defend yourself, which when combined, make his pupils a more complete fighter.
  5. Know your competition – I’ve saved the best ’till last – a bit of healthy obsession with the competition is fine, in fact, I would encourage it. ‘I should just focus on my own offering’ is a reasonable response. But then how will you know where your product or service is positioned when a potential customer weighs up a purchase decision? Or when a customer finds your competitor on Google as they rank higher due to their SEO keyword strategy? Get to know your competitor and you’ll be able to ensure your product or service is unique and will stand-out to potential customers.

Competition is at the heart of Cobra Kai, in fact, it could be described as rivalry! And although each side has it’s good and bad points, they do both embrace the first four elements listed above which are successful for them in different ways.

Whereas my Karate skills are none existent, I can definitely help with formulating a plan to make your marketing more effective and help take on the competition. Get in touch here and do check out Cobra Kai too – series three has just been released on Netflix.