Now is not the time to stop advertising. You don’t want to land on the wrong side of this flux. More than ever you should be investing in long-term advertising.” – Richard Shotton -Behavioural scientist and author of The Choice Factory

Richard Shotton explains why life-changing events, such as what we are living through now, will change customers purchasing habits – and brands should avoid being left behind. (Opinion piece, 17th April,2020)

Habits are routine and are hard to break.
Habits are an almost subconscious routine way our brain makes our daily decisions easier. They are also the biggest influence over consumer’s purchase decisions! Disruption to any habit is difficult, especially for marketers and brands.

So, what changes a consumer’s buying behaviour?
The biggest impact on a habit is the disruption to a consumer environment. A change in environment destabilises existing behaviours and provokes question and review.

COVID19 has us all living through a life-changing event
Social distancing (including the end of it) is a major life-changing event. Everyone is affected by the current crisis, so life-changing moments are no longer restricted to a niche audience. These events have (and will continue) to radically disrupt an individual’s environment, change our habits, consequently forcing us to evaluate our purchase decisions and our means of doing so.

Why should every marketer care?
The main implication of all this is the purchasing habits of your customers will be changing – and continue to change for a while after social distancing ends. Your customers are more likely to switch to your competitors, and your competitors’ customers are more likely to switch to you.

The phenomenal change to our norm will continue to impact consumer’s buying patterns,  becoming the most opportunistic time to advertise, target and gain new customers that are adopting new buying behaviours.