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Adapting to the unexpected.
Covid-19 changes in consumer behaviour

A lot has been written about COVID and rightly so. It has had a deep impact on all of us. And it will take years of research to arrive at an accurate understanding of this impact. The Strategy School was set up bang in the middle of the first lockdown, in a way that makes us COVID kids. And we have felt the effect of COVID in full measure.

Many reports have attempted to understand the impact of COVID. All of them analyze the impact that this pandemic has had on India in numbers. These numbers are of two kinds
1. Disease-related: number of people infected, positivity rate, number of deaths, recovery rates, etc.
2. Economy-related: GDP growth rate, unemployment rate, household spending, etc.
These numbers draw an overall picture – a macro picture. But as people who have focused on strategy all our working lives, we want to understand the impact of COVID at a completely different level – the human level. We want to create a micro picture. We want to gauge the impact of COVID from an individual’s point of view. We want to mine individual stories and understand how people have adapted to the unexpected. 

This then is a recording of our journey in understanding individual stories and forming that elusive micro picture. We will share these stories as a series of blogs, nine in all. To get as comprehensive an understanding as possible we spoke to people from seven different segments

  1. Small farmers
  2. Migrant workers
  3. Unorganized sector workers
  4. Small traders
  5. Small business owners
  6. Young urban individuals
  7. Urban families

We tracked their dreams and fears and behavior across six periods which cover distinct phases of the pandemic.

  1. December 2019
  2. March 24th to June 7th, 2020
  3. June 8th to August 31st, 2020
  4. September 1st to December 31st, 2020
  5. January 1st to March 31st, 2021
  6. April 1st to June 30th, 2021

We start this journey with the hypothesis that some of the changes in individual behaviors and attitudes sparked by COVID will endure. And that brands will need to learn from this and adapt their strategies. We will use these seven stories to delve deeper into the larger consumer mindset shifts triggered by COVID. This will help uncover the paths that brands can take going forward.

About the author

Suresh Mohankumar

A seasoned strategist with 28 years of experience conceiving, launching and growing some of India’s biggest brands, Suresh, has worked as the head of Strategic Planning in large advertising agencies.

He is known for breaking down complex situations to bring meaningful insights to the surface in order to arrive at a water-tight strategy.

He has handled a variety of categories like Automobiles, Jewelry, FMCG, AlcoBev, Leisure, Food, Fashion, Retail, Technology, New Media, etc.

By Suresh Mohankumar

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© The Strategy School 2020