Welcome to Limbo Land

Hello from Limbo land, our new place of residence for some unknown period of time. How are you all doing out there?  Planning your next holiday? Virtually clothes shopping for your first post limbo pub visit?  Or drowning in a world of ‘ifs’ ‘buts’ and ‘hopes’?

It is both an interesting and impossible time for market research.

Historically one of the inherent problems with consumer research is that consumers never really know what they want – that isn’t a criticism but the challenge that we face in this industry.  It is the role of advertisers to persuade us that we really do want their new product. As consumers we are just a mass of unconscious choices, influences and basic instinctual behaviour that researchers need to understand and explore to help clients unlock the potential of their offerings.

But fast forward to COVID19 days and trying to second guess consumer opinion is next to impossible. There have been numerous surveys exploring consumer thinking, but one thing that they all have in common is the use of terms such as ‘I hope’ ‘I believe’ – there isn’t really an ‘I know for sure option.’ I don’t fill out many surveys but I will admit I do have a tendency to tick a lot of ‘don’t know’ options, usually because I’ve got question fatigue and can’t face making a decision or I just want to get through the form as quickly as possible – (this is one of my guilty admissions, I know as a researcher I should do better, but in my defence I am a qualitative researcher…).  But in our Covid19 days never before has a ‘don’t know’ option been so valid, because in most cases we really really don’t know how we will be living in the next few months/years – let alone what we might be buying, joining or doing for our entertainment.

But on the flip side, this is also a unique time to understand the brands and markets that are adjusting and really listening and responding to the uncertainty in a thoughtful way.  We can certainly hone in on consumer feelings and emotions in a way that we couldn’t before, even if we can’t really pin down anything more than this, emotions are often a leading motive in purchase.

Personally my views seem to change day to day, along with my emotions – which seem to be linked with my wine and ice cream consumption – but one day soonish (probably within the year??) perhaps some level of normality will return, maybe, hopefully, I believe so.

Today I received an update from a financial advisor about the stock market – and I think his clear summary can pretty much sum up anything that is being asked of the public or anyone else at the moment:- ‘Our conclusion is…we honestly have no idea, and neither does anyone else’.

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash