Archive for Covid-19

Marketing rules for the Covid Generation

-By Simon French, Comvort Group-

“You are young yet, my friend,” replied my host, “but the time will arrive when you will learn to judge for yourself of what is going on in the world, without trusting to the gossip of others.

Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” – Edgar Allen Poe.

I remembered this famous quote a few weeks ago when I was reading various articles trying to decide which news was real and which…. well. One article suggested this crisis had accelerated change so rapidly, things were happening now that wouldn’t have happened for another 20 years.
Bold statement! So I started to look around and while I don’t think its 20 years, for sure, this crisis has forced trends and events which would have taken much longer to emerge.

We have been looking at the resurgence of luxury brands in China as a guide to what will influence
brand creation and retail as the crisis evolves and presumably, at some point, subsides.

Leaders of the Covid Generation are Gen Z’ers and Young Millennials who are Masters of Digital
Immersion and of processing information. This may sound like the latest Marvel superhero movie but this is today’s reality: this will infiltrate all levels of brands and influence totally the way we make purchasing decisions. The Covid Generation is a global, cross demographic universe which swirls around the Gen Z Young Millennial epicentre.
It is sending out waves of sudden creativity across all product areas which touch us all.
Digitial consumers are livestreaming fashion shows on TMall.
Gen Z’ers and Millennials follow Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s) who create extreme digital value for
brands and services.
They want “Snackable” bites or bytes of brands on TikTok , WeChat and Bilibili.
They don’t want just ads or promotions, they are getting entertainment and they like it.
Gen Z’ers and Young Millennials hang out in virtual malls. They aren’t buying anything, just…..well,
hanging out!
At the same time farmers in China are Shopstreaming their hard to sell products on TaoBao which made me think, is this is a lesson for anything Bricks and Mortar?
Bricks and Mortar is not dead but those store chains and malls who did not embrace the omnichannel experience are on life support at best.

Bricks and Mortar must offer more: an experience, a connection consumers cannot get digitally. This is some challenge.

Bricks and Mortar must offer consumers a reason to believe to physically go somewhere to experience the act of purchasing. It could be Limited or Special Edition products they cannot get online eg Hermes, Guangzhou.
Consumers don’t want a brand, they want to be told a story, be inspired and entertained.

As marketers we have to be aware of this when creating campaigns and/or products.
How do we tell a believable sustainable story-connection and not patronise our consumer?
How do we successfully avoid stereotypes?
How do we create a compelling message and connection while being aware of gender expressions and cultural nuances ?
Alonside that, we all want a sense of Well-Being, Safety and Being Well.
Impossible? No. Not even improbable. It is simply problem solving. Creativity and innovation are virtually byproducts of the process.

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Enjoy the summer.

BC – AC Before Covid – After Covid

Before Covid – After Covid 
A loose framework designed to provoke thoughts and arguments by Simon French, a Comvort collaborator writer.

As the internet exploded, I remember laughing at two terms:
Pre Internet was “BG” – Before Gates and once it was booming, “AG” – After Gates.
This got me thinking, will there be a “BC” – Before Covid and a wait for it: “AC” After Covid.
I, like many others have been speculating about what the world will eventually evolve to once we rid the planet off this virus.
We all hope for a better world, a more caring world, a less politically driven world, a collaborative world. Is this going to materialise?
The spirit might be willing but some governments might not.
The truth is we don’t know…..no-one knows! Not yet.
So with that in mind, the following are merely observations. A loose framework designed to provoke thoughts and argument.
Interconnectedness
On a doomsday scenario on “The end of innovation” Michael Crichton wrote:
“…. This idea that the world is wired together is mass death…
Now, for our own species evolution occurs mostly through our own behavior.
We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on Earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people and it gets harder. Thirty people and nothing happens. Anymore and it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media – it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonalds on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street.
Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. .. People worry about losing species diversity in the rainforest but what about intellectual diversity – our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. But we haven’t figured that out, so now we are planning to put 5 billion people together in cyberspace. And it will freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same at the same time. Global uniformity ……………………. It will be fast too.”
If we read that in the context of this global pandemic it is quite chilling. Especially the first line.
For the rest, he is both right and wrong. Everything is connected; the world is connected more than we think. As a race sometimes we lack basic common sense, we are totally ignorant, unaware of cause and effect.
On a more positive view, what we have seen is innovation and collaboration at its best, out of necessity. Car maker Seat making ventilators, fragrance companies making hand sanitisers, the Indian government turning trains into hospital units and so on… We CAN do things for the greater good, we just have to be motivated and creative enough NOT to do it just in times of crisis.
We have also seen pollution levels dropping, dolphins in the canals of Venice, animals making reappearances in cities. The planet is on loan to human race. Nature is resilient and will take back the planet when we have gone.

Our children adapted to working from home probably better than we did.
Companies moved out of their usual industry.
We have also seen that governments look inwards in times of crisis, at worst they can become too protectionist and xenophobic.
Even economic zones, who should work together, become worthless.
So what will happen when we return to something amounting to ‘normal’?
Will we keep our cities pollution free?
Will we travel less?
Will we consume less ‘stuff’?
Will we care more about foreign workers that build our gleaming malls?
Answer…Sadly, probably not!
“We are not an endangered species ourselves yet, but this is not for lack of trying.” Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See.
So far we can look to China to see how people are returning to their “BC” (Before Covid) lives. Desperate consumerism. There is even a term for it, “Revenge Spending”. This is not sustainable.

I am thinking on some bold predictions…

Stay tuned to follow Simon’s writings.

11.05.2020