Understanding the Consumer During Coronavirus

Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv

Pete Stein (CEO, Huge)
Pete Stein (CEO, Huge)

When the Coronavirus upended the status quo all over the world, everything brand marketers knew about their consumers went out the window. Over the period of self-isolation and at the initiation of re-emergence, brands and businesses the world over had their nose to the grindstone, trying to figure out how to re-enter the lives of their consumers. But in order to do that, you must first understand the way the consumer has been affected and thus changed post-isolation. Enter Huge, the experience design and digital marketing agency who took the approach of better understanding the current consumer using customer experience personas in order to help better communicate the breadth of ways people may be feeling after the first few months of the pandemic.

Pete Stein (CEO, Huge) and members of his team got together to address the Brand Storytelling Elevate Summer Session Audience to discuss their findings on post-isolation personas. What they found demonstrates that consumers are varied in their feelings and approach to the world and their spending habits after having been asked to self-isolate, only to return to a world still confused and plagued by Coronavirus. And although everyone seems to have at least a few things in common right now (we’re all consuming lots of media, worried about finances, and want to trust the safety of the businesses we re-engage with), ultimately there’s a spectrum of feelings as they relate to re-engaging with what feels like an unsafe world. Here are the five post-isolation personas your brand can observe to evaluate your consumer base in a world with Coronavirus.

Band-Aid Rippers

The Band-Aid Ripper is far to one end of the persona spectrum. This individual wants everything to re-open. Band-Aid Rippers are getting a lot of attention during this moment as we’ve seen them in the news and social media championing a number of different reasons for their positioning and with varying levels of concern over the actual virus. Huge found that their average low level of concern over the virus and its impact exist for a number of reasons, one of which being these individuals haven’t seen the virus’s impact first-hand, and often misinterpret the encouragement and enforcement of preventative measures as a threat to their livelihood. There is still an understanding of risk, this group simply weighs it differently.

Trapped Butterflies

Similar to the Band-Aid Ripper, the Trapped Butterfly is also eager to get out of the house sooner than later, but their motivations are different from the previous group. They get their name from having once been Social Butterflies, but with traditional social interaction on pause, this group is working to adjust. Trapped Butterflies recognize that there is something to be concerned about and they’re willing to comply with restrictions, but likely will continue social engagement because separation from people is mentally taxing on them. They weigh the risk of re-emerging in public spaces and make an effort to get connected while staying safe.

Polite Optimists

Polite Optimists are willing to let the Band-Aid Rippers and Trapped Butterflies test out re-entry into public spaces before making the leap themselves. They’re prepared to wait until they feel reassured, and plan to watch case numbers before putting themselves at risk. To the polite optimist, it is very important for businesses to follow health and safety guidelines issued by the World Health Organization and the CDC. Polite Optimists evaluate each social or purchasing interaction and take appropriate personal safety measures before engaging with the world.

Eggshell Walkers

Anxious and reluctant to return to public life, Eggshell Walkers are often at higher risk themselves or have family members who they could put at risk. Members of this group feel the threat of the negative effects of the Coronavirus a bit more for these reasons, another of which is knowing someone or several people who have fallen ill to the virus. They are highly concerned about the virus itself and don’t have any intention of returning to public spaces until there are definitive signs of improved safety and quality of life. This group puts the responsibility on businesse