Under the pandemic temporarily altered the relationship between brands and their consumers. Over the past few years, people have fundamentally shifted their focus from consumption to life and health. Regardless of nationality, age, or gender, individuals’ values have shifted from the concepts of sensibility and consumption to more reality-based concepts.
What significantly changed consumer behavior was the transition to online due to the worldwide spread of infections and the initiation of lockdowns. According to McKinsey’s research, online sales volumes in the first three months of the pandemic reached the equivalent of ten years’ worth of sales. These numbers clearly reflect the scale of the change.
These changes forced many companies to shift their focus towards their own survival in the battle against Covid-19. They also had to confront the fact that the effectiveness of previous forms of communication with consumers was diminishing.
To build and maintain customer loyalty, brands needed to seek new customer touchpoints.
Mastercard has stated that they identified three core values and needs that became crucial for consumers during the pandemic year. The company is currently building relationships with customers.
1. The first one is a sense of well-being.
People want to be healthy, happy, safe, and comfortable. The company views it as an entirely new platform for developing brand loyalty. For example, in Latin America, Mastercard initiated remote healthcare benefits for cardholders.
2. The second significant need listed by the company. Today, consumers want the ability to choose from various options within loyalty programs. They want to choose the types of rewards and benefits and determine how to use them for themselves.
3. The third element is the customer experience. The company demonstrated flexibility and, when it became more challenging to attain a sense of well-being through travel or vacations, it quickly converted it into relevant products such as home delivery, entertainment content, and more.
Throughout the world, people experienced significant stress during the pandemic, and now there is an increased demand for maintaining psychological comfort and physical health. As a result, companies are striving to offer promotions and programs that align seamlessly with this trend of seeking health and safety awareness, as well as maintaining work-life balance.
For example, a Russian company called Kaspersky Lab announced a cybersecurity project. This project presents various methods to cope with stress and anxiety, offering a virtual space for overall relaxation. According to representatives of the company, many individuals have faced increased anxiety, mood swings, burnout, and insomnia issues due to the pandemic.
McDonald’s has decided to resume corporate communication to educate employees about the significance of working for the company. In their advertising campaign, under the slogan ‘Not a job for life, but a life for a job,’ McDonald’s employees talked about their experiences with the company.”
Many companies have also started paying attention to parent-child relationships. People who were confined to their homes had to communicate more with their children in order to balance parenting and work. The issues stemming from maternal burnout led to the emergence of many projects designed to assist both children and parents.
Yandex.Market, the Russian online marketplace, launched the Mamtra project to combat emotional burnout syndrome caused by young mothers’ parenting. It includes meditative playlists, images, product videos, as well as products with positive slogans, not only for mothers but also to maintain a sense of gentle motherhood.
In the spring of 2021, the Russian television channel ‘Friday!’, along with the Sharap Foundation and VKontakte, launched a social campaign. The organizers encouraged parents to talk to their children. A special app provided information on situations where children might need help from adults.
Building brand loyalty is a highly creative process, and companies need to consider offering all the products and services that consumers desire. Companies must provide not only products but also values that customers can resonate with. Brands must strive to provide as flexible and personalized positive experiences as possible by engaging in conversations with consumers. Experiences that he or she would want to repeat.