Previous blogs in the series
blog 1 of the series: A look back at advertising during the world wars
blog 2 of the series: Dominant themes in the post-covid19 world
blog 3 of the series: Marketing themes during crisis: assurance and nostalgia

Theme#3: Sense Of Empowerment

In times when all the decisions about our lives are being taken by higher authorities, it is but natural to feel helpless, feel a loss of control. Therefore, consumers will have a strong desire to regain this control in some way or the other. They would want to take ‘charge’ of things still in their control.

They might even show signs of ‘fierce possessiveness’ in the effort to gain back the lost control. While they may have no influence over government policies, they would have, over products & services that they buy. 

This is where, marketers enter the picture. 

As marketers, we need to recognise this feeling & help the consumers feel empowered again.

But, how can we help the consumers feel empowered again?

  • Empower them with information, facts, evidence + Empower them with choices, options allowing consumers to ‘feel’ they are making an informed decision.
  • Creating contactless purchase experiences esp. for hi end product categories like auto, jewellery, watches etc.  helping potential customers make their choice by not actually visiting the place of sale/ retail. For example, like how BMW launched contactless experience.

While in such times, luxury purchases may not see a boom however the idea of ‘Contactless buying experience’ is worth exploring.

  • Empower them with products that make them feel more independent/ less vulnerable (like vacuum cleaners, dish washers, self grooming tools like trimmers for men, for women threading, waxing, facial kits, products like Inverters in case of power failure, tools/ containers to preserve water in case of water shortage esp. if it’s a lockdown situation etc.)
  • Empower them with Digital solutions & products, allowing them to ‘work from home’ safely & easily, without any hassle,
  • Apps for virtual meetings, conferences
  • IT solutions for creating back ups, common drives/ shared drives
  • Continuity of businesses through easy, quick E-payments
  • E commerce/ online shopping
  • This is an essential feature under ‘Empowerment’ as it allows the consumers to protect their livelihood in such tough times.

Picture source: Facebook ad

Empower them with skills; both professional (online courses) & life skills (cooking, plumbing, electrical, cleaning, maintaining the house, ideas of DIY@ home; preserving vegetables & fruits for a longer period of time etc.)

  • Empower them with products that ensure safety, hygiene & protection solutions (e.g. while alcohol based sanitizers can be used on hands & inedible objects, what about vegetables, fruits & groceries; how to ensure they are free from viruses, bacteria or any kind of chemicals or pesticides, any product ideas there? )

Theme#4: Escapism In Humour & Fantasy

  • Increased levels of anxiety, stress, uncertainty will lead to people finding escape routes in the attempt to balance it off & maintain some kind of sanity.

    It’s a way to distract ourselves from the constant horrid stories floating on TV & internet. It is a way to reset our brains to cope with the stress of isolation i.e. no stepping out, no change in our surroundings or people we see, the work we do, it’s a stressful monotony that refuses to break.

    It is in such times, that we forecast, Humour & Fantasy may become preferred ways of communicating with the consumers.

    Consumers are watching stand up comedy, watching the re runs of, ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’,  ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai’, ‘Appu ki altan Paltan’, ‘Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai’ etc.

    YouTube’s most trending videos are mostly about humour e.g. Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chasma, Lockdown Funny Compilation, Stand up comedian Rajat Chauhan, Couples During Lockdown etc. etc. & the list goes on.

Consumers are flocking to Tik Tok like never before; making funny videos or lip-syncing to popular dance numbers or showing one’s moves to gain that 15 seconds of fame; helping you forget the misery of current times…escaping into a world filled with happiness, joy & social validation.

Quoting from the Reuters-

“Even medical experts say humour is a vital part of surviving the cascading catastrophe brought on by Covid 19.

Mental health professionals say humor is a balm for soothing nerves, not just by tickling funny bones but also by decreasing stress hormones. Clinical evidence shows high levels of stress can weaken immune systems.”

In times like these, escapism through humour & fantasy act as defence mechanism for people. Therefore, these can be best used as communication themes.

In the next series of this blog, we will look at two more marketing themes: Pride in Roots and Spirituality