“There's no place like home” took on a whole new meaning when COVID-19 hit.
With companies like Google, REI, the New York Times and Twitter keeping employees home until the second half of 2021 and beyond, the home place economy is not going away any time soon.
Even if some of us go back to a hybrid or even full time office work, the desire to get home quickly and stay there safely will stay strong.
Gartner’s “U.S. Top Trends 2020: Values Backdrop” report found that cocooning started well before the pandemic, has grown stronger during it and is expected to continue well after the immediate health threat goes away.
That means brands will have to adapt their approach to reflect the realities of a home life that is always evolving but ever-increasing in importance.
Marketers will have to become “first place experts,” by mastering the 4Es: environment, education, escapism and experience.
Since the pandemic, there has been a sharp rise in the time, energy, and money being spent on making homes the most they can be.
This creates opportunities for brands in nearly every category to show how they can help people make their most valuable space the most viable one through products and services that are adaptable or reconfigured to fit the need.
Studies show that learning can be an effective stress reducer, resiliency supporter and confidence booster.
All brands have the potential and the platform to encourage learning for both personal or professional growth, widening their audience or deepening their consumer connection through the shared value of learning.
Pre-pandemic, the Internet offered escape, from binge-watching content and scrolling social media feeds to open world gaming and virtual reality travel.
Throughout the pandemic, consumers craved escapism from technology. It came in the form of reading physical books, cooking comfort food, playing board game and decluttering homes.Non-digital recreation made a comeback.
Marketing has always been about some type of escape. Brands have the option to help people escape—alone, with others, or through observation. They can escape to the past, amplify the present, or imagine a different future, but the audience must be in control.
Many marketers equated their brand to an experience.
Then the pandemic hit. Delivery drivers became the new essential workers for the stay-at-home economy. The mailbox became the new storefront. Unboxing became the new moment of impact in an experience economy.
Marketers have to rethink the customer journey and provide relevant impactful experiences in the context of home.
How to Become a First Place Experience Expert:
- Make the digital home environment—websites and apps—a frictionless, joy-inspiring experience for shoppers and buyers.
- Provide options that give people the choice and the confidence to craft their own journey, even when it starts and stops at home.
- Cultivate empathy and offer technical and educational support so employees can better serve and build connections with customers.
- Elevate the experiences they create to celebrate and reward the time, energy and emotions people put into and want out of their decision to invite a brand into their homes.