The Meaning of Work and Play Post Sept. 11

  • by November 7, 2001
Life will never be the same following the tragic events of September 11. In a recent study published by Worldwide Partners, Inc. and Carton Donofrio Partners, consumers revealed that everything from what they purchase to what makes them feel safe has been dramatically altered.

The study, whose participants were surveyed from the United States, Israel, Northern Pakistan, Indonesia, Columbia, China and France, examined how people are shifting their psychological patterns post September 11.

The results, especially among U.S. consumers, revealed that they are: re-examining the meaning and importance of their jobs; the amount of time they spend with their families; the need to have control over their lives; how they spend money and plan for the future; and how they view business activity in their own environments.

As a result, according to John Goodchild, chairman of the Weightman Group, a Worldwide Partners shareholder, advertisers will need to communicate their clients' messages with a greater sensitivity to these new fears, anxieties and expectations.

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“This study is interesting in two ways,” Goodchild said. “First, it clearly shows that consumers have been deeply affected by the September 11 tragedy, and that we as communicators need to understand what lies beneath the surface. Second, there are ways marketers can tailor their messages, and still assure they are relevant and viable.”

Goodchild added that while President Bush is encouraging Americans to resume their normal lives, advertisers need to acknowledge that consumers' buying habits and overall mood continue to reflect the post-September 11 anxiety.

“I think we need to realize that what was once `normal' for Americans has changed exponentially, and this means that our marketing communications strategies should be cognizant of that.”

The survey found that while consumer spending patterns have changed tremendously, consumers are trying to get the most out of them, buying items that give comfort and security to their families. Also, many consumers expressed a renewed sense of spirituality and a realization that family comes first.

Goodchild added that the business implications, based upon the survey, don't have to turn off consumers. The survey results suggest the following tips to for marketers to remember in light of recent events: “take the opportunity to proclaim your brands' values as reassurance; reassure customers by being an anchor of tradition; connect with customers through nostalgia; continue to put your media money in traditional media as well as alternate methods of communication.”

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