Conversations in the unstructured mass of the internet may not have helped to predict COVID-19, but are helping to navigate the deeper consumer trends at play as people respond to a big shock to their lives – the AI company Black Swan is parsing that information to understand what matters to brands.
Black Swan Data, has been exploring the trends in those conversations at scale through two ongoing reports: Pulse, which explores higher-level culture, and Beacon, which is a category-level trend report looking at food and drink. (Read WARC’s in-depth report: Consider the Quarantini: Black Swan Data surfaces the key consumer conversations defining lockdown)
Some of the biggest changes in the category are directly related to the health situation: in beverages, immunity and immunity-boosting products have come to the forefront of the conversation. Sudden benefit-platforms that had previously been middling, have emerged right at the top. What this looks like in practice is lots of vitamin C and acerola cherries (part of a broader superfood trend), explained Chris Todd, insights director at Black Swan.
Within that, plenty of these new ideas aren’t particularly grounded in science: see, for instance, the rise of the garlic mouthwash, or, perhaps more appealing, the Quarantini (making a regular cocktail but throwing in a vitamin C lozenge at the end).
It’s worth pointing out, however, that these are evidence of a trend both deeper and more serious. Even in this short time, the conversation is maturing: “we’re seeing more of a focus around actual scientific claims rather than things that are through an associated benefit,” Todd observed.
The likelihood is that the trend will go back toward scientifically-proven, locally-produced items in which people can take confidence, rather than hoping for turmeric to have extra benefits.
Sourced from WARC