New consumer mindset and Maslow’s Pyramid
I believe that everyone is experiencing similar challenges with the pandemic. However, it is clear that the intensity is different. What you can be sure of is that everyone is looking for security in almost every field from financial to physical.
PANDEMIC CONSUMER MINDSET
There is a tremendous need to reduce the risk, either of personal contamination or to reduce unnecessary expenses. Covid-19 brought several social changes, but the most profound of them was the change in values that directly changes consumer behavior and markets.
To understand consumer relations, we need to consider that there is a consumer, an atmosphere of values, needs and feelings that surrounds him. In addition, there is a dynamic market with several different forces acting in multiple fields, such as scientific, social, political and economic.
What we perceive as consumer behavior is actually the combination of this complex atmosphere and its variables involving the market, companies and consumers. Any small change in part of this ecosystem will generate changes in the behavior of the market and consumers.
At this moment we were bombarded by several changes simultaneously and a transformation so great it takes time to calm down. Its consequences echo and resonate with markets and individuals and it will take some time to adjust.
MASLOW PYRAMID AND THE PANDEMIC
Maslow’s famous pyramid, well known and studied by psychology and marketing, was greatly affected. American psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a theory in the 1940s that created a hierarchy for human needs, separating the basic needs from the more sophisticated ones as an achievement.
According to Maslow’s theory, human beings first seek to satisfy their basic or primary needs and only then seek secondary needs following a hierarchy. For him, only after we are satisfied with our physiological needs can we move forward to seek satisfaction on the next scale of needs. According to the theory, a person who does not satisfy one of the physiological needs such as eating, drinking water or sleeping is unable to meet security needs. If deprived of sleep (physiological need) we cannot maintain our attention (need for security) for example.
Maslow’s theory was created at a time of less complex needs and desires than today. Although there is a current that criticizes the rigidity of Maslow’s theory and the existence of such an organized hierarchy between needs, the concept is still very interesting and should be used.
For marketers, the Maslow pyramid concept makes it easier to understand the basic needs behind a purchase decision. It also allows the creation of triggers that stimulate consumption. For example, when a person buys clothes, they may only be looking to protect their body (need for security) but they should probably be looking to feel beautiful (self-esteem) or be seen as beautiful and elegant by a group (social need).
If the motivations that truly lead to consumption are well interpreted, it is possible to better define the purchase journey. In this way it is possible to direct the communication in a more assertive way creating stimuli that make sense and are motivating to generate the sale.
Faced with the pandemic, we need to rethink and use Maslow’s concepts to understand what the customer is essentially buying. For example, when we buy a moisturizer today, we may be trying to solve a need for security to protect the skin; leaving it hydrated and less vulnerable to bacteria. However, the consumer may also be looking for well-being, relaxation and self-care, through the fragrances and texture of the product (need for Self-Esteem). Understanding these needs is the big question at the moment.
NEW VALUES AND A NEW MOMENT
The key to understanding the moment well is to separate desire from need and have a more flexible perception of individual demands. The new moment created a new consumer full of fears and with new interests.
With the pandemic, basic needs were altered. If, according to our scale of demands, we were in balance with some needs, for many the pyramid was completely inverted. As a society, we usually sought experiences at the top of the pyramid and health and safety concerns were under control. Overnight it no longer mattered being rich or important, with the pandemic we all started to need safety and health, which became fundamental. And so it happened with so many other concerns, such as financial losses and also the loss of loved ones.
When a basic need is suppressed, it needs to be addressed so that we can move on in search of new needs. And so we have lived through these times.To deal with this impact on our hierarchy of values, we need to process all of these changes and the mental and emotional consequences. In this way, we managed to reorganize things, to start rebuilding our new world and our new priorities.
THE NEW CONSUMER
With the reduction of physical encounters and the growth of virtual contact, we ended up having more connections but with less quality. The speed of the virtual world intensifies the encounters but does not deepen them.
We are all going through this paradigm shift in personal, professional or between brands and consumers. Building these new relationships has been a challenge for everyone at the moment.
This pandemic brought us social isolation by reducing our contact with the outside world, but in a way it connected us with our essence, with what really matters to us and in what surrounds us. For brands to connect with this new consumer, they need to understand him and notice the changes in his mindset to communicate better with them.
NEW COSMETICS CONSUMPTION DEMANDS
The isolation, fear and anxiety brought about by the pandemic led consumers to seek safety in products and ingredients. A new, more careful and concerned consumer now demands much more of his cosmetic products than he could ever imagine.
We will explore some changes in consumer behavior and associate them with new consumption needs. These are called market opportunities and the sensitivity of brands to adapt to these demands can make all the difference with competitors.
HEALTH AS A FOCUS
Health has never been more sought after than at this time. And we are not just talking about physical health, which is very important, but especially emotional and mental health.
The word balance comes up with strength to help structure this moment. The consumer seeks health in all fields, as in food, ingredients and beauty becomes a great ally of health and well-being.
In the pandemic world with invisible enemies, strengthening the immune system is crucial. In this atmosphere, the already known foods and ingredients that improve immunity have been in great demand and acceptance.
Plants and assets that improve immunity are called adaptogens, because they contain substances that naturally stimulate the improvement of the body. These substances had been known in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and were called “superior tonics”.
However, the term adaptogen appeared in 1947 when the Russian pharmacologist Nicolai Lazarev created it when he tried to define the type of action of some plants such as ginseng. From then on, studies evolved and became more and more known.
The concept of adaptogenic ingredients and plants was already a major trend for the beauty market. At this moment after the pandemic, this trend, which was already on the rise, was accelerated. The search for improved immunity and holistic health is increasingly strong in the beauty market.
The skin is being perceived today as the great protective barrier of the body. In this way, there are great opportunities for brands to enrich their products, and in addition to complying with their functionality, they can now contain assets that further improve immunity. It is the “icing on the cake” that consumers are looking for. Ingredients such as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), CBD, Lemon Myrtle, Vitamin C, among others are part of this category of adaptogenics.
The current moment brought a lot of stress and changes, however, silently and slowly we began to “get ready” emotionally. We started to review our choices, how we are dealing with the planet and also with our personal universe.
Is my consumption being positive for me and the world I live in? How can I make better choices? From these questions came many changes in consumption needs. Some trends have been intensified and new ones have emerged.
This entire crisis has led to greater consumer concern about products, their ingredients, their origins and safety. The concern to increase your risk of exposure through the use of something inappropriate on the skin, brought transformations to the world of beauty.
Packages with a higher risk of contamination, such as pots, started to have less demand. On the other hand, single-use packaging, pumps and tubes have grown and this behavior must be maintained.
Interest in packaging that has less environmental impact has also increased. This crisis has warned us that if we do not change the way we relate to the planet, other crises may come.
The crisis has grown more sustainable consumption. According to data from a Mckinsey survey, 45% of consumers made sustainable choices when buying during the pandemic and are likely to continue to do so. This shows that there is a change in behavior and that it should last.
The socio-economic impact has led consumers to make choices that are in line with new personal values but that also fit in their pocket. Brands, in turn, need to make quick adjustments and adapt to this reality.
HOPE AND TRUST
Resilience and creativity are the new guidelines of this moment for companies. Uncertainties continue, but we need to try to maintain a certain normality. We must continue working, doing our best and getting closer to consumers to understand them.
For consumers, the best word is hope, the feeling of confidence that things are improving. There have been many transformations that have taken place, many fears and uncertainties, but we still have faith. It is a time of change but we have the opportunity to become stronger and better than we were before.
The uncertainty and emotional impact of this moment led us to think about the end. What if it was all over now? This thought of the end, therefore, leads us to think about the present and the beginning. And so we almost silently begin to rethink our lives, our work, our values and to consider some strategic adjustments for our life and our world.
To overcome this crisis, it is necessary to understand the depth of the changes in values and behaviors and to sensitively adjust our present, in order to start designing a future compatible with the new scenario.