After a year working from home… what’s keeping us busy?
At ADK Insights, we have always prided ourselves on our ability to get close to our clients and develop with them a really collaborative and fruitful partnership. We have long been used to sharing information, updating each other on the latest news and trends, and generating new approaches and solutions to meet the ever changing business challenges. It was true before COVID19, and it’s been essential during the whole lock-down experience.
These have been challenging times for everyone with numerous new and unforeseen obstacles to negotiate. Here we explore what those obstacles are and how we have been keeping ourselves busy in tackling them.
Managing from home
Like most of the business world, the majority of our clients has been working from home since the corona virus lock-down regulations came into force. Some have managed to work highly efficiently, as long as the work is within their department team. The challenge lies in the more cross-functional work which relies much more on interaction. Many clients claim that bumping into people in an office and having spontaneous discussions is important, and you don’t bump into people or get pulled into a meeting while it’s happening on Zoom.
And yes – there are still many logistical issues – the attention span of online meetings can be limited, and there’s often less impact with an online presentation and less engagement when it comes to sharing new ideas.
Also – let’s face it – for many, their best ideas come when they are thinking out loud and with others. There is really no substitute for that. Yes, efficiency comes as a great benefit, but it goes at the expense of thinking outside the box.
Nevertheless, hours gained from not having to commute to the office are used much more productively working from home. It’s been amazing how we all switched very quickly to digital communication, and many see this as not just a passing necessity, but rather as the foundation for a new way or flexible working, with 2 or even 3 days a week working from home likely to be the normal from now on.
The last six months have also changed how our clients are working. Some were used to continuously talking to a wide range of distributors, dealers, retailers and even customers and exploring their opinions and sentiments. But this has stopped, with the result, although many of our clients may not be willing to admit it – that they have lost touch with consumers.
Trying to keep in touch with consumers
Clients have conducted less research, but that does not mean they are not interested. In fact, clients are trying to invest in more focused insights, particularly where they can identify and gain a better understanding of future consumer trends that will continue despite the disruption into our ways of living.
No doubt research is crucial at a time when peoples’ lives and views are changing so quickly, whilst underlining that not all these changes are permanent. We all need to be really mindful in distinguishing those attitudes that are actually going to change from those that consumers merely say are going to change. So, if there is ever a time to filter what consumers are saying with a sharper appreciation of behavioural science, now is the time. Even at ADK Insights we have added five new consumer measurement tools to our six flagship tools.
Large brands have commissioned research to help them understand what the COVID19 period means for how consumers are feeling, living and consuming food and beverages. They are doing more empathy research and are using that research to produce insights and directions for their business leaders who are making decisions everyday about how to best keep the business running, or how to communicate with consumers and customers.
Clients with large insights departments have moved much more to online, audio, and to adaptive technologies such as e-focus groups, WhatsApp ethnography and online mobile surveys.
[Not…] Knowing how to adapt to super-fast changes
The big concern for most of our clients is understanding what the big drivers of consumption actually are and how consumers are weighing their different options between consuming at home or shopping out/going out.
In the near future, it will more than ever depend on our clients’ approach and strategy towards their consumers. Our clients are starting to acknowledge that consumers are interested not just in their product offering but what they can do for them in their home, in a way that matches their practical needs, given how relevant proximity, security and safety are, as well as urgency of delivery and connectivity.
Many clients have found out that different people react to COVID19 circumstances differently, so brands need to cater foremost to people’s needs rather than approaching them in a product-driven, advertising-driven manner.
Socially, a lot is changing – and faster than any of us expected. Older consumers are much more technology savvy nowadays and younger consumers (millennials on focus) are more active, more planet-conscious, much more attentive and are driving new shopping, commuting, eating and cooking trends.
Consumers want to engage in this moment of change: for older people because they have a lot of time on their hands and more focus on themselves, the level of tech savviness has spiked dramatically because everyone is now dependent on their devices to stay in touch with the outside world, even those who might not have done so before.
Equally people who are usually less attentive, such as millenials, now want to be heard and be part of the solution; even those consumers who previously might have been hard to reach previously, have changed. People want to help and be helped so they are keeping the channels of communication open.
Right now, the need for consumer-centric thinking and understanding about what 2020 means for people’s needs and lives is arguably more acute than it’s ever been. There are a lot of established notions about consumer behaviour that are suddenly in question, and therefore – we all need to regard this time as an opportunity for driving consumer-centricity even deeper into our clients’ ways of working and culture.
How can we help?
ADK Insights is ready to help its clients better manage these challenging times. ADK Insights combines both qualitative exploration of the rational and emotional factors that better identifies the needs of consumers during the COVID-19 period, along with the quantitative scale and full global SNS coverage to validate their ideas, habits and wishes.
To find out more about our dialogue with consumers worldwide, please contact Nimrod.