Marketers are readying themselves for a post-pandemic world in which consumer behaviours have changed, but they should consider not just what those behaviours are but why they have emerged so quickly.

Writing exclusively for WARC, Dr Cristina de Balanzo of Walnut Unlimited observes that marketers have built careers upon trying to change and nudge people’s behaviour, but not always with success.

The current upside-down context, however, has meant many behaviours have changed in a short time – not always willingly. And what, she wonders, has happened to our attitudes, which are much harder to alter?

Since much of the behaviour change that can be seen is enforced, it means that people’s attitudes have probably not changed much, she suggests.

“The driver for these behavioural changes is forced by the government and our own sense of the greater good, not a change in values, beliefs, or attitudes,” de Balanzo writes. “The fact that attitudes have not really been affected could mean that none of these changes are going to stick.”

Walnut Unlimited conducted research to understand the attitudes behind COVID-19 by applying reaction time testing. “Using implicit techniques in this way allowed us to show that, despite people’s changes in behaviour, deep down we are uncertain about the rules that should be followed,” she reports.

“At an implicit level there is uncertainty and weak attitudes surrounding our new conditions.”

This, de Balanzo argues, “is yet more ammunition for the theory that these behavioural changes might not lead to deep changes in the long term.

“There is a need to go further to understand what people cannot articulate or show through their current (forced) behaviours.”

Click here to read Dr Cristina de Balanzo’s article in full. The psychology of lockdown: navigating uncertainty explores how people need to feel in control and how marketers now have to address very different issues than before. 

Sourced from WARC