“In these uncertain times...” How quickly we became tired of these words that were meant to reassure. The pandemic has become a new exercise in how marketing professionals can extend empathy and remain relevant in a world with constantly evolving challenges.
As a brand, what can you do to add a layer of understanding to how consumers were seemingly affected in different ways, but all share similarities in their experience? We have identified 12 high-level archetypes of consumer that have revealed themselves in the past 18 months. Below are several of the more common archetypes that you might already recognize.
The Resetter, The Comeback & The Challenger
On the surface, these consumers appear to have taken the challenges of the pandemic in stride. After having their lives paused, Resetters want to get everything back on track. The Comeback found lockdowns as an opportunity to rearrange their priorities to develop a sense of accomplishment, even if others can’t always relate to their eager enthusiasm. Challengers are a solutions-oriented group that doesn’t want to dwell on the past and, like the others in this group, is looking forward to their return to normal in their own way, helping others move forward too.
Brands can connect with these archetypes with forward-thinking messaging -- especially as these archetypes can be concerned that they potentially appear to others as insensitive. Leveraging humor to align with their positivity, and inviting them with opportunities to contribute, can help them feel connected to others.
The Transformer, The Apprehender, The Negotiator
These archetypes are also forward-looking, but with hesitancy. Transformers are ready to take lessons from the pandemic and implement them across their communities. Apprehenders are equally eager for a return to normal -- but only if it’s timed right. They’re not prepared to start rebuilding if they aren’t sure of the outcome. Meanwhile, Negotiators aren’t prepared to give up on their newly established lifestyles.
Overall, these archetypes have realized that they have gained a surprising amount during the pandemic and consequent lockdowns, but are ready to move on a little at a time.
With some healthy skepticism, these archetypes may be quicker than others to write off brands as insincere and opportunistic. For brands to communicate effectively, leveraging commitment in action in an authentic way will go a long way. Giving them a secure and stable cause to connect with can help foster a sense of togetherness.
Ultimately we must lead messaging with empathy for brands to show consumers an understanding of their unique challenges as we move forward, prioritizing adaptability and keeping communication open. After all, every time is uncertain -- we just feel it more acutely than ever before.