Side effects of COVID-19

As time passes during the pandemic, the “new norm” is looking more and more like it could become the “everyday norm.” Quarantining has caused new side effects of consumer behaviors. People have changed their way of life and this has impacted their buying habits, travel plans, socializing, and more.

Our strategy team coins it: The COVID Radius.

The reactions these side effects will cause in how brands market their products and services could determine who survives and who doesn’t.


The COVID Radius

Quarantining has kept us home initially, but even as restrictions lift, the distance that we travel for work, fun, and daily life continues to shrink.

Purpose-Driven Trips

No longer comfortable (or, in some cases, allowed) to wander or drop in, our trips out of the house have become “purpose-driven” – picking up an online order or grabbing takeout – rather than “experience-driven” – browsing at a store or dining out with friends. The implications are significant, impacting where we will go, what we will do, and even who we will see.

We leave less, making non-essential errands and trips feel more burdensome. We choose to shop in larger, less frequent spurts, and we constrain ourselves to the options closest to home. (Food Dive 2020)

We trust less, further confining us to our shrinking radiuses. In our safety-centric world view, new places and people come with a risk, so we limit ourselves to the familiar. (Edelman 2020)

We discover less when we stick close to home and to the places we know. We’re less likely to stumble upon something new and tightened budgets make trial less appealing. (BBC 2020)

Brand Reactions

Location, convenience, trust, and safety all have heightened importance as our circles shrink. Marketers must adjust their approach to ensure services and products fall within The COVID Radius. Though every brand is different, they must meet customers where they are through three strategies.

Identifying the ways that brands fit into customers newly confined lives will be key to maintaining trust, satisfaction, and usage.

Emphasize what makes us feels safe or comfortable, drawing parallels to more familiar experiences or encounters that we trust.

As discovery dwindles, so does the experience of finding and buying something new. Reminding people of that excitement will attract new customers and reignite old ones.