Lockdowns have lasted longer than the 66 days research suggests it takes to form a new habit – so 2020 really will be an inflection point when we witness a paradigm shift.

Writing for WARC, Edward Lee, Executive Strategy Director, OMD EMEA, argues that the term ‘paradigm shift’ – which suggests that life as we know it won’t be the same in future – is applied far too loosely, to the latest tech, or product, or platform.

Yes, there are frequently new behaviours and changes in attitudes, but there is rarely anything that can be described as a fundamental change.

He adduces two reasons: “The first is because we hold entrenched attitudes and behaviours close within us, which in turn defines our identities and so are reluctant to fundamentally change, and the second is that these adoptions are gradual, which does not necessitate a sharp course correct.”

COVID-19, however, has overturned those assumptions, halting much of what we have taken for granted, imposing new ways of living our lives and creating new boundaries.

The new paradigm is uncharted but Lee attempts navigation through an “understanding of human truths and their associated tensions brought about by the pandemic”.

Lee has previously written about the tensions that are created by the gap between situational change and reality, between what is possible and what people actually do.

Here, he identifies four main tensions that act as drivers of the new world we all face:

  1. Economic tension: People are under increasing disproportionate economic pressure but still keen to spend, leading to new patterns.
  2. Attitudinal tension: People want to try new things but also stick to what they know.
  3. Social tension: People have a heightened desire to go out and be social but are anxious about being around other people.
  4. Habitual tension: People want to go back to certain known routines but are embracing new rhythms in our lives.

Brands will need to assess each of these and understand the implications for them if they are to meet future consumer expectations across a range of areas, from user experience to media strategy.

For more details, including “provocations and opportunities” for brands, read Edward Lee’s article in full: Applying COVID-19 consumer tensions onto your brand decision-making.

Sourced from WARC