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How consumer insourcing is impacting you and your business (and 3 steps to deal with it)

“Home sweet home” has never had the same meaning as it does today. After 15 months of life altered by pandemic, Americans entered the summer of 2021 with dreams of a return to normalcy.  But a funny thing happened as life opened up.  Some people found that being out of the house and ‘normal’ wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. That ‘insourcing’ and doing things yourself or at home, were as rewarding if not more so than spending money on “outsourced” items and services.

While typically used in reference to corporate operations and whether the work is done in house or by an outside third party, insourcing and outsourcing exist in consumers’ lives as well, especially when you consider the decision to outsource yard or home maintenance, cleaning services, and most commonly, meals.

Learn about Consumer Insourcing from Navigating to a New Normal respondents

Navigating to a New Normal participant Kelvin, 56, from the Boston area, described the difference between his outsourced and insourced lifestyle.  “I used to live what I call the outsource life. I was working really hard. I’m outsourcing everything when I’m at work. I would order takeout all the time. I had someone doing my laundry.  When you think about it, that, in and of itself is a supply chain. So doing stuff like cooking on your own Is really insourcing stuff. We started growing our own food to some degree. Being able to cook what you want allows you to address cravings a lot more quickly than [waiting] to go out to eat.”

Less pragmatic but no less valid was Brad’s experience in New York City. “We just have not gone back to restaurants like we did before. We had a bad experience with one restaurant where they jacked up the prices and you had a time limit. I think because of the past year, year and a half, it just broke that habit. It’s just, I’d rather eat here at home. I think we just got into a rhythm and [are] having fun with eating at home. On the flip side, the reward from eating out, it’s just not there.”

This is insourcing. When you don’t see the value in the time or experience in an outsourced solution, you do it yourself.  Gail, 63 who’s now living in rural North Carolina, decided to build a dining table herself. “I wanted to get a table and I said ‘Well, instead of me going out to spend three hundred dollars or whatever, I’ll make my own table.’”  Having never made a table before, she ran into some challenges but has figured out the workarounds and is pleased with the results. “That’s my creativity for the month. So, I’m happy about that,” she proclaimed.

A New Value Equation

For Navigating to a New Normal respondents who were insourcing, the themes that emerged were about the diminished quality of the outsourced experience – being rushed at a restaurant instead of being allowed to linger and catch up with friends you hadn’t seen in months, or the value of an object bought at a store that could be done by your own hand. The value of time has changed. American society is not racing to get things done anymore. We’re in a “stop and savor the moment” phase.

Jennifer, 41, a New York City event planner, has found some of her clients are switching up how they have her set up their gatherings. “From my group of people, they’re just not doing bigger … if people are doing barbecues, they do it themselves, something more casual where it’s like, ‘Oh my husband will grill some stuff’ instead of having it catered and more official.”

There was also an undercurrent of safety in everyone’s comments about insourcing at home. “I’ve not been a big going-out-person, but I took it for granted. Now, I recognize that this has been a haven,” said Barb, a retiree splitting her time in San Antonio and on the road with her husband in an RV.

“I would much rather stay at the house,” Kelsey in Salt Lake City told us. “We have a really cool hangout area now. And so partly I think it’s that we took the time to make things nice at home. But I also think I want to be there a lot more than I ever would’ve if the pandemic hadn’t happened.”

3 Ways to Deal with It

Insourcing doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Here are 3 implications and recommendations for your business to be your consumer’s outsourced solution:

1) Enable Quality Connections

The big insight coming out of the past 18 months is that most people are seeking quality connections with a close circle of friends and family over an extended network of acquaintances. This means lingering over drinks or a meal to have a deeper conversation than was typical pre-pandemic. This is a shift in the value of time. If you are in the restaurant business, urge your staff to resist the impulse to turn the tables over quickly. Let ‘em linger to build loyalty. If you are in the grocery or at-home food business, the opportunity exists to help people entertain smaller groups with quality food and beverages. Perhaps some cocktail and apps suggestions on display in the store? If you are in the tech or content business, how could you help enable those connections?

2) Time Well Spent

As Larry, 68 in San Francisco told us, “I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. There’s nothing urgent that would make me get out of the house.” While time is valued by moments to linger, here, you also want to make it worth their while to get out of the house. This is a high bar to clear if you want to regain consumers’ on-premise business. Now is the opportunity to show your value with experiences they can’t recreate at home. Give them a reason to go out and spend their money.

3) Transparency is Authentic

Staffing shortages are creating havoc in many businesses, and some are raising prices due to supply chain issues as well as increased payroll costs.  A fatal mistake is leaving your customers in the dark about what’s going on.  “At least make your customers aware that you are charging them extra,” Dajon, 24, Phoenix shared with us. “A lot of companies are starting to charge for simple condiments like ranch.”  Consumers weren’t born yesterday, give them a chance to have empathy with you by sharing what’s happening and causing your prices to increase or why your service isn’t up to usual standards.

Another factor that is dampening people’s desire to do more outsourcing is the diminishing power of FOMO, which we will be exploring in upcoming conversations with N2NN participants. And there is still the general feeling of anxiety, which this piece in the Washington Post does a great job explaining.

Where are you on this journey? Insourcing more, outsourcing less? What are your customers and consumers valuing most in their experience with you? It may be time to dust off those old value equations and give it some consideration.


How else is the world changing and what does it mean for your business? Check out these other Navigating to a New Normal thought pieces…

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The most exciting, and terrifying, time to be in consumer insights

As a moderator, the dream scenario for any focus group or group discussion is when the participants pick up and begin having the conversation without you needing to push, prod or probe. It’s like gold. And gold is what I felt like we struck when we asked 3 of the brightest client-side insights leaders we know to participate in a roundtable discussion about a range of issues facing the industry today.

I felt like a kid getting to eavesdrop at the grown-ups table at Thanksgiving! Elizabeth Oates, Sr. Director, Consumer Insights at Ulta Beauty, Humayun Rashid, Director, Microsoft 365 Research & Insights, and Marlene Straszewski, former Senior Director, Consumer Insights at General Mills each shared insight and perspective on the evolving role of the consumer, what research methods will be in demand in the future as society opens up again, the power and importance of listening as well as what’s needed from insights agency partners today.

Honestly, when I was preparing this post and was searching for highlights, there were so many great insights and perspectives that I strongly recommend you find time to watch the entire 55-minute conversation. If that’s not possible, further below are some highlights and the “needle-drops” where you can find them in the video.

Does the Consumer Still Play a Role in Research?

“What I would say is different today versus maybe five years ago is really shifting from thinking about a respondent as a consumer. [It’s shifting from] somebody that we’re selling [something to, to] somebody that we are here to serve. Even the term respondent and the term consumer is shifting to be talking more about people, and humans and talking about how can we solve real human problems.” –Marlene Straszewski

“We find that building platforms and building things where the stakeholders are forced in some ways to participate [helps with humanization of the consumer]. We’re trying to have this scenario where the distance between the respondents and the stakeholders is becoming closer and closer and closer so that they are more in tune with those consumer user needs, and then obviously you don’t have to ask the consumer to then fix those user needs.” –Humayun Rashid

“I’ve noticed a bigger need for [learning loops]. Rather than what we might have done 5-10 years ago with a long research program that goes from A to Z, we’re seeing more and more use of the idea of ‘learning loops’. Learn, go talk to consumers to understand, don’t use consumers last response as the source of the answer, but use that response truly for insight and then trying something, experimenting, learning. So this idea of learn, experiment, learn, experiment and learning as you scale, rather than going and getting the answer.” –Marlene Straszewski

“What’s different for me now is that we, as insights leaders, have to really apply the insight to the business and that it’s us that’s really changed. We’re now an interpreter. We need to interpret and influence. And really, we have to be business professionals as much as we are insights professionals.” –Elizabeth Oates.

Returning To In-Person Research

“I think at the end of the day, we’re here to get truth, not answers.” –Elizabeth Oates

“My job is to be the [consumer’s] voice when I get back to the office and not being there with them is kind of like … ‘[A]m I really hundred percent paying attention?’ I’m not in that home sitting on the edge of someone’s tub while I’m watching her put on her makeup. Like, you’re 100% in there and you can really ingest it and really understand her life. And what’s happening for her. So I think there’s more onus on us as the insights folks to really dig in and pay attention.” –Elizabeth Oates

“I think one of the most important research moments I had in my career is when I went to the homes of inner-city youth in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on the west coast in south LA. That face-to-face was super valuable and stayed with me, to this day. I met one person outside of McDonald’s and then walked to [his] house because he wanted to do that journey of what they like and what they do and how they are with their friends. And that was super important, that you would never be able to get in a Zoom interview … We should look forward to kind of saving money and doing Zoom groups if the situation allows them and we don’t lose quality. But we shouldn’t be doing this if we lose the quality of that respondent experience. I absolutely, really strongly believe in that.” –Humayun Rashid

What Stories Have Stuck In Your Mind That Have Inspired You?

Marlene shared a story from a TED Radio Hour podcast she listened to about the Art of Listening and how it inspired her.

Humayun talked about a recent experience visiting Oregon, where a number of positive encounters with a largely white, conservative community proved the point that when we put our biases aside, we can see the good in people.

Elizabeth told us about the vulnerability displayed by Ulta Beauty’s President, Dave Kimbell, about the lessons he’s learned about himself during the pandemic. His willingness to be vulnerable really opened the door to conversations across the organization so others could share their stories.

What’s Needed From Agency Partners Today

“I need partners who are able to think of new ways of doing things. The world has changed, and there has never been a more exciting or terrifying time to be in consumer insights. As the world changes, so must we.” –Elizabeth Oates

“Bringing a holistic perspective. Not only the point in time, pulling in information from disparate sources but also over time, and noticing where you’re seeing changes and shifts happening. I do believe we are in a state of transformation right now in the business world, in general, and in society.” –Marlene Straszewski

“Research becomes extremely biased around the stimulus that the stakeholders provide and that’s where we are asking our research partners to really think about that.  In the [CVT testing platform] the most important thing for us is that stimulus. It’s that way of being able to have them partner with us to understand us, understand what the product is, the product truth, and then, [through our research partners], give us a considered response about that.” –Humayun Rashid

Teetering on the Edge. Of survival

As the city hurtles into yet another lockdown, we deep dive into the lives of three women in Mumbai. A female taxi-driver, a nurse from Kerala and a skilled beautician who now works in a factory as a daily wage earner.

These women had arrived in the metropolis, known as Mayanagri, the City of Dreams, and had been at the cusp of a successful trajectory of work, before the pandemic changed everything.

Their stories will at once break your heart, and at the same time, uplift you with their indomitable spirit and never-give-up attitude. The fall has been hard but they are all ready to reset, reinvent and get back on their feet.

The pandemic and subsequent lockdown stripped many women of their aspirations of a life beyond meeting basic needs that they had started believing was finally within their reach.

In India women face daunting challenges to land a spot in the male-dominated workplace, indicated by the abysmally low numbers across surveys. Even as more and more women get better educated and strive to move beyond the confines of the home.

The inability to earn what one is capable of, and the insolvency brought about by the pandemic, are seen as a personal, individual strife. It is striking that the larger system and its failures to take care of the basic needs of its citizens, is never blamed.

Will mere resilience be enough for these women riding out this seesaw of uncertainty, as the finishing line to their future goals keeps moving beyond their reach?

For further details on this ethnographic research, see https://www.foundingfuel.com/article/teetering-on-the-edge-of-survival/

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

After weeks of “light” lockdown, Germany went into a full lockdown again on December 16th. Advent, Christmas and even New Year’s Eve – hard to imagine how people would comply and deal with the limitations. That day, IKM started an online community to observe changes in behavior, compliance, emotions, and observations of consumers in their close environment.

Christmas time is usually a very hectic time, one event chasing another, big Christmas parties and numerous get-togethers at Christmas markets, last minute shopping, stressful preparations for family gatherings and the holidays packed with seeing as many different parts of the family as possible. Yet, despite all the frustrations, loneliness and renunciations, lockdown during holiday season has had a few positive surprises and grounded many consumers, and they found different ways to make use of this “additional time”.

–         Time to slow down

Life seems more relaxed, less people around in public transportation or shops and less noise form traffic, planes, or neighbors partying. Moreover, readiness to help each other and contacts in the neighborhood has increased.

“I actually enjoyed slowing down”

“I enjoyed having more time for myself and not having to always plan something with other people”

–         Time with the family

While being stressed with home office and the need to take care of the children, homeschool and entertain them, being at home also offered new opportunities for families. More quality time together, and the opportunity to do things that would usually not be easily possible.

 “I potty trained my son because I was at home all the time”

–         Time to learn / teach new ways of communication

One of the key challenges of this lockdown was to spent time apart that is usually defined by spending it in big groups with close family members. Thus, new ways to communicate have been introduced to other family members and video chats (Facetime, WhatsApp, Zoom) allowed for at least some closeness. A tradition that will often be kept even after the lockdown.

“We love to do the video chat with grandma and will keep this a regular tradition in the future. It is nice to stay in touch like that, bringing us closer together”

–         Time spent in smaller groups

There is something positive about having to limit the number of people and spending time with smaller groups. It can actually be more fun and allow for deeper conversations. Also, it often gave a perfect excuse and allowed to change the habit of having the same people around every year.

“To be honest, I did NOT have to invite 1-2 people this year which was very convenient”

“On Christmas, we will do a video chat with my in-laws. My husband’s brothers celebrate with them. I am glad I don’t have to join them. It was always a very annoying obligatory date for me, and I prefer to sit at home and get cozy, which I can actually do this year”

–         Valuable time spent actively together

Board games had their comeback. Forgotten games and puzzles were found in the back of drawers. Families and group of friends revived playing board games and realized how this can be fun to actively spent time together.

“We played Monopoly almost until midnight, which we haven’t done for a long time. The five-year-old threw the dices and, that evening, the whole family enjoyed this special time together”

–         Time to learn new skills and hobbies

Some learned how to cook healthy meals or more elaborate meals. This was the time to try out new recipes and start baking. Some revived skills in sawing or creative hobbies that had become lost in memory due to a stressful everyday life. Meditation and yoga via YouTube helped to stay healthy.

“Together with a friend, I started painting stones and putting them outside in different places. It’s really a sort of exercise right now and puts a smile on many faces”

–         Time for creative outdoor activities

People spend a lot more time outdoors to meet with other family members and friends

to reduce the risk of infection. This winter, gardens, balconies, and parcs have been turned to a new use, providing space for outdoor meetings. Outdoor decoration was more extensive during Advent 2020. Fire pitch, heaters and infrared lamps have been installed, people met to grill marshmallows, drink mulled wine, and eat sausages.

“Our way to replace the Christmas markets and get into Christmas mood this year”

“We moved our social lives outdoors; this has become our new normality”

–         Different gift giving and time together as a gift

A common gift, often mentioned, were gift certificates for joint events, allowing them to look forward to a time when Corona is over and spend valuable time together. This has become so much more important than in the past. Also, more people gifted homemade or self-decorated gifts, as there was less opportunity for shopping, and more time available to create something.

“I received either outdoor experiences for the future, hopefully, or self-created gifts like a painted stone to hold the door”

Read more findings from this long-term consumer community: https://ikmarketing.de/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Times-of-Corona.pdf

Mexican Millennials Respond to the Pandemic

During the pandemic, ThinkGlobal Qualitative and its partners conducted a two-week-long multi-country online study among younger respondents around the world in order to identify the core emotions and potential trends that have emerged among consumers.

The study was conducted in Mexico, USA, France, Germany and South Africa. These are highlights of our findings in Mexico among Millennials from medium and high socio-economic levels.

Millennials are a market segment with ever changing preferences. One day they are totally into doing something or consuming a brand, and then they just as quickly move on to something else without looking back. It is a smart and socially involved market segment and Coronavirus has certainly changed many of their views and perspectives towards consumption, society and life.

Many started lockdown with panic purchases or increases in online shopping. Spare time and fear resulted in an online shopping spree, as against the current more controlled shopping where they are re-thinking what they really need.

  • “I had too much stuff/ I was consuming too much”

Millennials are now re-orienting their priorities in a range of areas from food delivered to their homes to furniture and beyond.

  • “I purchased an office chair for my home”
  • “I purchased plants because they make me happy and I created a small corner for myself to relax at home”
  • “I adopted a dog from the shelter.”


RECONFIGURATION OF DESIRES AND NEEDS

Millennials are re-evaluating many of their preferences, goals and desires. The history of desire will be rewritten. Desires will be framed by a paradigm shift on the question: What is really valuable in life? And what can brands do to support these new desires?

Family is one of the elements that Millennials value most.

For many who still live with their Parents, close coexistence has strengthened ties and made them give a higher meaning to the concept of family

  • “What I value most is the quality time I can spend with my family, my boyfriend, my friends and my pet. Today I know that those “little things” that I share with the people I love are what make me the happiest.”
  • “I feel like all of this has given me a chance to re-examine what is truly meaningful, like spending time with someone I love, caring for my plants and my Pets, enjoying new types of exercise and my body, and all those small things that show me what life is actually all about”

For Millennials who live by themselves, lockdown has demanded a big sacrifice, who miss hanging out with nuclear family and friends. They have realized the value of face to face interaction, and although they have kept in touch through social media or digital platforms, they feel it is not the same as personal interaction

  • “I have always had this love/hate relationship with social media and online platforms….but now it is the only way I stay in touch with my loved ones”


ETHICAL LIVING

Social inequities: Young people are especially sensitive to the injustices and social inequities derived from ideas that seek to prioritize economic position or models of supremacy.

Discrimination in any form worries them and they would like a more equitable and just society, that provides the same opportunities for development regardless of skin color, religion or social economic level

  • “I’m feeling overwhelmed with sadness and frustration, my heart is heavy for the black community.”
  • “I’m extremely disappointed with the way the American Government is handling the protests, and the rhetoric they are creating around them”
  • “I am now worried about taking care of myself while taking care of others and the planet”

Expressions of superiority: Mexican Millennials reject expressions of superiority because they can lead to the oppression of others. They are willing to protest in favor of social justice.

  • “My main news source these days is Twitter and it is great in some ways, but terrible in others. It inspires me, but there is a lot of unprocessed anger there, as well as moral superiority, which is dreadful.”
  • “People who suffer oppression will likely continue to depend on risky work to survive within this system.

Anti-capitalist feelings: Mexican Millennials believe that capitalism has led to prioritizing material goods over people, so they want to change that attitude that has led to inequality and injustice.

  • “Shopping used to be my way to deal with anxiety, but this offers a false promise of fulfillment. Now I’m trying not to fall prey to that idea. I am more aware of sustainability and social justice.”

Ecology: This generation is concerned about the environment and the consequences of pollution; they are in favor of things like shared rides, as well as technology that may help the environment.

  • “I expect there to be a massive increase in the use of bikes as a mode of transportation. I also expect ride sharing to continue but probably on a lesser scale, since the risk of infection is higher. And of course, cars will definitely still be around, but hopefully the future of the industry becomes centered around zero emission cars.”
  • “Caring about our environment and taking action to change what we can, defend our beliefs”.


MENTAL HEALTH

In addition to the trends related to physical health, for some time now, mental health has been a meta-category that will need to be addressed by products and brands. What are products doing – whatever the market segment – to take care of people’s mental health on a daily basis?

Millennial Mexican consumers have become more selective in their attitudes towards life, preferring small things that give them true pleasure and discarding what hurts them or is ephemeral.

  • “I like consuming media that is soothing, enriching and insightful”

Millennials report increased purchases of products to pamper themselves and to help them reduce stress and cope with the lockdown situation in a more rewarding way.

  • “I’ve increased my purchases of things that make my home feel special, I’m using up more scented candles, I got a ton of new crystals, and I’ve been really thinking about getting more plants – I think there’s been a focus in getting things that feel like a treat for me.”

And regarding health in general, for many Millennials, the fear of getting infected, or infecting someone they love, will remain present until a vaccine or cure is found.

  • “I am eating more frequently at the market, and I bring my own silverware, because I think that at this moment it is very important to support local businesses and families.”
  • “At some point, we will have to leave our homes to face the new normal, and I know that a very high percentage of the population is likely to get infected”

Happiness: For Millennials, happiness means seeking satisfaction in what they do and in their relationship with society. The pandemic has been a time of self-discovery and has made them reflect on whether they are really happy and what they need to achieve happiness.

  • “I want to learn new things every day. I imagine myself in 2025 as someone who is looking not only to have professional and economic success, but also as someone who is looking to be happy and to be able to share that with the people I love.”
  • “I have stopped spending money in things that make others perceive a certain image of me. Now, I spend money only in what I think will make me happy”
  • “In the long term I feel like I’ve been forced to look at my life choices and the way my career has evolved, and really question if this is the path that I want to keep going on. It’s been a few months of a lot of self- discovery”


SOLIDARITY

The loss of freedom and collective uncertainty due to the lockdown has awakened feelings of human kindness and the desire to overcome this situation together as a society.

Belonging to a community and being able to contribute is relevant for young people, who believe that the world is interrelated and that we must think collectively in order to generate benefits for more people.

Millennials consider that previous generations had an individualistic, selfish approach and did not consider the future of humanity as a whole.

  • “I would love to get involved in something like a local garden, or community farm. Something that makes me feel connected to my community”
  • “I think tourism will be more conscious, maybe something that will include helping communities… I think vacation-volunteering-programs will become more popular. People are engaging more with communities so I think this type of tourism will increase its popularity.”

Millennials are taking things into their own hands, they are taking responsibility to improve their surroundings, society, even the economy. There seems to be a new ‘ethic of solidarity’ – Millennials realize that their economy depends on others, which is something they must change immediately. Young consumers have an important code of solidarity that encompasses multiple areas and is manifested in many ways.

  • “If others do not win, I do not win, if others do well, I will do well too”.
  • “Fashion can change the way you feel and you can help others with fashion and beauty.”
  • “Having empathy for others leads to common well-being; if everyone is taken into account, we can create a better society.”
  • No more selfish capitalism, everyone must show the solidarity and value the ecosystem to which they belong.”

Responsible consumption: Since many decided to stay at home, they are not spending money on restaurants, clubs, gas, tolls, etc. Instead they are spending on improving their homes, entertainment and new hobbies.

Some are able to save money since their regular expenses have gone down, while others have increased their online shopping.

  • “I’m trying to: save more, be more selective with where I spend my money, get into the habit of donating to causes I consider worthy, and also enjoy what I have while I have it (I realize now more than ever that life is short and finances uncertain).
  • “For a while now, I have been trying to buy only what I need (to buy less) and to be more aware of where and why I buy it.”

Responsible purchasing, fair-trade, ethical brands, animal welfare, ethics and fair-trade are important for young people as a way to favor their purchases towards those brands and products that take into account these conditions.

  • “I think more and more I would like to eat at places that are being ethical in their treatment of employees and that also source their products locally.”
  • “I subscribed to a service that delivers a box of fruits and veggies that are grown by local farmers from Xochimilco” (rural part of Mexico City)

Consuming local and organic: There is a huge trend towards organic / natural products, which gives them a sense of being closer to nature and favoring a healthier diet

  • “I want a small place with a nice backyard or patio where I can plant some vegetables”

With the pandemic, some young people have been more motivated to decrease their meat consumption, not only because of their personal health, but because of concern about the environment and global health

  • “I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of reducing my meat consumption and/or becoming a vegetarian, not only because it will have an impact on my health and the environment, but it can also help to prevent a future pandemic (epidemics are generally caused by the consumption of animals).”

There is also less consumption of processed products. Being able to cook and eat at home has led to increased importance of home-cooked food and a decline in consumption of processed food

  • “I will continue cooking and eating at home, I’ll stop buying ready-to-eat food and I will try to eat even healthier.”
  • “In the future I’d really like to still eat homemade food, this is now very important to me”

In Mexico, Millennials from medium and higher socio-economic levels seem to believe that people and corporations (brands) working together could help achieve real improvement (many are distrustful or disappointed in the government); people tend to prefer brands that share the value of supporting each other to come out of the crisis as fast as possible.


MOBILITY AND SOCIAL SPACES

People who can stay at home and decide to gradually get out of the quarantine are privileged. Those in lower socio-economic levels do not have that luxury, and in order to earn some income, they are being forced to use public transportation, go to work, etc.

The most valuable brands will be those that occupy an urban or exterior space and do something relevant with it.

Millennials are talking about emotional, physical and even spiritual freedom.

Outdoor spaces have gained even more relevance, but dramatic changes will need to occur to allow Millennials to feel safe and protected, while also supporting a really strong set of values related to equality, environmental protection, etc.

Nevertheless, interactions with strangers, outside the protection of their homes, have become weird and paranoid because their health is at stake.

  • “I leave home to shop for groceries or something like that, but one can feel the fear in people, they have this need to avoid any type of contact with anyone, they even avoid to have eye contact with others and I think that’s very sad”


INCREASED VALUE OF HOME & HEDONISM

During lockdown, most gained an increased appreciation of their home and re-discovered different places at home. Many mentioned that home used to be where they just came back to sleep. Now home is the safe place, where they re-connect with nature.

  • “I love sitting on my balcony, next to the plants and listening to birds”.

Their ideal home includes an outside place that connects to nature and includes plants. A place to have friends over. They also value large kitchens, because they re-discovered that cooking their own food implies being healthier, a moment of relaxation and also saves money.

Blurred work/play boundaries: We live lives in which the boundaries between pleasure, work and entertainment are no longer clear. Home spaces now have different uses: the dinner table is now the working space for several family members; the living room is where they exercise, the bedroom might now have an area with plants that is someone’s personal and private corner. This has created the need to rearrange the furniture, buy new furniture, plants, etc.

The architecture of homes will change dramatically in order to allow for spaces to have multiple purposes. Those who share a home with others will need their personal corner or space. They seek to connect with nature in a safe environment and this will gain even more relevance and open the door to a new set of home improvement products in many different areas.


DESIGNING THE FUTURE

Concern about politics and how they affect societies: Young people have a critical attitude towards the government and the actions politicians have taken, as well as the way they are managing the economic and health crisis. There is a great fear that Mexico’s poverty levels will grow even more, and that everyone will end up living like in Venezuela.

  • “I hate Lopez Obrador (Mexico´s President), because I value working hard and being able to have a good life style. But this ‘a-hole’ President believes that giving money away to people that don’t work is correct and he has a very communist and austere way of seeing how everybody should live. He hates entrepreneurs and big companies, he wants people to be mediocre and ignorant.”

Racism and inequality: Many Mexican Millennials care about international politics and tend to show concern towards the statements and actions that U.S. President Trump has taken as they go against what they want, which is a more egalitarian world without distinction of race or social level. This is closely related to how Hispanics are treated in the USA.

  • “Everyone is worth the same, the color of your skin doesn’t matter, or where you come from. Donald Trump seems to value classism, racism and fascism.

Self-centered optimism: Younger Mexican consumers hope to learn how to be at peace with uncertainty, they want to feel ok with changes and things that are not in their power to control, in order to focus their efforts on pursuing their dreams. They have high expectations about their future and having a successful career and personal life.

  • “I see myself managing my own company.”
  • “I am focused on being a better person and achieving my goals despite the negative actions taken by politicians.”

Coronavirus is transforming people’s lives. We have covered a decade of change in weeks; one prime example is the speed with which people adopted new technologies.

Sticking to these new behaviors will depend on the satisfaction that people get out of the new experiences. We should prepare for consumption declines and trading down. Brands will need to address their footprint offer, and creating shopping experiences for the new reality as they follow consumers on their new journeys.

 

Marketers Get a GRIP on the New Normal

People wearing face masks

Image by Rawpixel

We conducted research with marketing and insights professionals around the world to understand the challenges they are facing during this crisis and best practices in handling those challenges.  The top four challenges raised were:

  • Growth – how to maintain and grow the business in a volatile world
  • Recovery – how to function most effectively in the new normal
  • Innovation – figuring out the new ways brands will interact with customers
  • Pivot – how to make those changes quickly and effectively

The white paper discusses those challenges and outlines approaches companies can use to not only survive the crisis, but actually thrive.  Read the white paper here: Marketers Get a GRIP TGQ

Conduct Better Multinational Research by Accounting for Cultural Differences

QRCA VIEWS Magazine, Summer 2020While it may seem counter-intuitive, sometimes conducting research in different countries in an identical manner is NOT the most effective approach!

This article draws on the experience of our ThinkGlobal Qualitative associates and provides examples of smart ways in which they modified market research for their countries in order to obtain more accurate results.

Read the article here: https://qrcaviews.org/2020/07/16/conduct-better-multinational-research-by-accounting-for-cultural-differences/

 

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Quirk's Magazine, July 2020The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on marginalized populations in the United States. This article by Roben Allong, Patricia Lopez and Iris Yim, the cover story of the July 2020 issue of Quirk’s magazine, explores possible contextual and cultural factors behind the pandemic’s impacts specifically on Hispanic, African American and Asian communities to provide a better understanding and foundation, post COVID-19, for more successful research studies and brand interaction, oriented towards these audiences.

Read the article here: https://bluetoad.com/publication/?i=665445&ver=html5&p=44

Re-Thinking the Rules of Engagement for Virtual Research Theatre

Covid-19 has changed the rules of human engagement. Behaviors such as hugging, kissing, laughing out loud, that we use to show connection and engagement, are no longer acceptable without wearing a face covering or social distancing.  As the frequency of online qual research accelerates, this crisis presents a unique opportunity to adapt and create new best practices to facilitate a different, deeper, more meaningful interaction.

This article presents five guidelines that can be deployed to elevate engagement for a more insightful qualitative study, whether in-person or virtual, and may inspire you to re-think your approaches to engagement.

Read the full article here: https://www.qrca.org/blogpost/1488356/348234/Re-Thinking-the-Rules-of-Engagement-for-Virtual-Research-Theatre