Settle in for the long haul

[11 September] Throughout the pandemic, Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer has been researching consumer behaviour, attitudes and expectations across 60 markets. We’ve already reported on the global population acting more alike than ever before, and these barometer updates reinforce this belief. The latest wave of research has indicated that people across the globe are settling in for the long haul, with expectation that a return to normal is not going to happen soon.

PPE sales have increased and hygiene habits look set to remain of high importance, with 55% of people continuing to buy more sanitising products. Levels of concern for the situation have somewhat stabilised at 71% globally, however this fluctuates by a per cent or two depending on the localised situation as clusters emerge.

Attract new audiences with online content

With autumn closing in, we’ve been looking at the final quarter of the year and where the opportunities lie for clients and brands. With many events delayed throughout the spring and summer, schedules are packed for sporting events, festivals and peak shopping times. Delivering content to audiences is crucial, and our innovation team has already been investigating ways to do this. Many festivals are delivering online content, engaging with repeat visitors, but also offering a huge opportunity to impress those who couldn’t or wouldn’t attend a live event.

Could supply chains be affected again?

The great toilet roll shortage of March seems a long time away, however supply chains still remain challenging for many retailers, however it’s now bikes and personal exercise equipment that are harder to find. This is concerning for retailers, and shoppers, particularly in the run up to Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While there are always going to be last minute panic shoppers, this year the masses will need to be more organised than ever, as even online shopping could see longer delivery times than usual.

Luckily, Santa lives a fairly isolated life anyway, so he doesn’t need to worry about staying isolated before the big trip on Christmas eve. It’s a different story for the deputies who entertain hundreds of children in Shopping Centres every year. Not only will social distancing put an end to sitting on Santa’s knee, but many of them are likely to be in the most vulnerable age bracket, and no one wants Santa to catch Covid. Getting letters to the North Pole will be risky too, so parents will need to prep and send earlier than usual to catch the last post in time.

Ho Ho hOOH to the rescue

Coming into the busy winter period OOH is well placed to deliver vital audience engagement in innovative and interesting ways, cutting through the noise to create a memorable campaign. Forward planning of campaigns is vital to ensure coverage is achievable and key locations are secured. The Kantar Covid-19 Barometer also found a continued sense of community, with 69% globally supporting local shops. Not only is this good news for retailers, but it’s reassuring that OOH can target people at community level, with a robust network of panels at convenience stores as well as along key arterial routes.

Across the world, over half of audiences believe consumer habits will change as a result of the crisis. We live an increasingly digital life, with online work, education, shopping and entertainment common. This overloading of a digital existence may have lost some charm with media consumption dropping across many channels.

In addition, thinking of ways around the perceived problems is also important. Whether that’s reassuring customers about products in stock, where Dynamic OOH can deliver live product data, creating a virtual Santa experience, or delivering festival content, Outdoor formats are placed where the audiences are.

Communicating with audiences across demographic targeting is also important. We spend a lot of time targeting parents, and making sure HSFF content isn’t placed close to schools, but what about the kiddos? Maybe now is the time to offer some reassurance that Santa will be fit and healthy for his big trip, and a reminder that letters should be posted nice and promptly, helping the elves locate the sought-after items in good time.

When the landscape shifts and the messages need to change quickly, adaptability is how brands can stand out. Use flexibility to your advantage and think about the messages you want to deliver on responsive OOH, connecting with audiences and their online trends, in cultural moments and during seasonal changes.