Brands may need to shift their positioning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumer attitudes and preferences evolve in line with the changing situation.

Rex Briggs, founder/executive board chair of Marketing Evolution, a marketing measurement and optimization firm, discussed this subject during an online Coronavirus Virtual Town Hall held by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF).

“Brands may need to reconsider their positioning,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Why brands cannot afford to delay post-Coronavirus comeback plans.)

Briggs presented the example of a luxury car with assets including any number of add-on features, and that usually adopts “very much a status-oriented luxury positioning.”

As the social and economic drama continues, “that positioning might shift as consumer psychology shifts into an extreme form of cocooning that I call ‘fortress home’.

“‘Fortress home’ was something that happened in the ’90s, when people began to turn more inward. People began to prioritize social values like safety and security.”

In such cases – and, perhaps, in the near future – “home security systems or other things that make people feel safer might be well advertised,” Briggs said.

Against this backdrop, the “whole luxury car positioning could still be around the same vehicle, but now it’s around a car that’s going to get you home safely,” he continued.

“It’s a car that’s going to take care of the safety of your family. It’s a car with great features that are going to melt away your stress. It’s a car that has the advanced air-filtration system so you’re breathing the purest air possible.”

This refreshed approach involves reframing the appeal of a brand in ways that reflect the developing concerns of the target audience.

“It’s the same physical product, but a completely different positioning. Every brand has to think through their scenarios: Do you think it’s going to go as extreme as fortress home? Or is this going to be some sort of a blip?”

And the best brands, he proposed, “are defining themselves with a mission statement and working from that standpoint, and recognizing that they still can grow share during this period of time.”

Sourced from WARC