July 7, 2021 / Thought Leadership

Defiantly Human Insight Series

CP Strategy Team

Each month our strategy team dedicates their time to unearth new consumer trends to help our existing clients and intrigue potential prospects. This month we share four trends that, with the right lens, can create meaningful opportunities for brands to create deeper connections with their audiences. 

Check out why consumers are reflecting, laughing, fixating and celebrating new discoveries.

Consumer Behavior #1: 

The pandemic is accelerating pre-existing trends. One of them is retro love. Nostalgia. Looking back.

Times of trauma lead to times of nostalgia. Sometimes nostalgia is considered a kind of depression associated with the pain of wishing something could stay the same. The author Don DeLillo describes it as a “settling of grievances between the present and the past.” However, the designer of Burger King’s new retro logo would prefer that we think of the nostalgia involved as going inward instead of going backward. That’s baloney in a good way.

The pandemic has created an environment of opportunity for brands willing to celebrate comfort items from our pasts. This was a trend pre-pandemic, but has accelerated because of lockdowns and life under stress. Brands can remind people of the power of a good old fashioned handshake, someone knowing your name, rewarding hard work…the kind of actions and behaviors that we remember fondly.


Consumer Behavior #2: 

The power of laughter.

The pandemic set the stage for humor to play an even bigger role than usual. 

A study found even barely funny leaders are about 23% more respected and seem more competent and confident. As long as bosses aren’t outright inappropriate or aggressive, employees who rated them as having any sense of humor also reported being 15% more satisfied and engaged in their jobs. These leaders were also found to be 27% more motivating and admired. 

People want to laugh, and they appreciate people who make them laugh. The brands that make people smile are increasingly brands you will invite into your life. You don’t have to be a “funny brand,” but associating the brand with other brands (or people) who make people laugh could have a powerful residual effect/impact.


Consumer Behavior #3: 

Stop living with your head down.

The pandemic and lockdowns further accelerated our fixation and preoccupation with our devices – phones/tablets/screens. We have been increasingly living our lives with our heads down, and your brand could be the brand to remind people to lift your head up, see what’s around you, what’s going on, what you’re missing by being digitally preoccupied. The real conversations that can happen and the real manifestation of dreams as people build businesses. 

You can’t make your move with your head down. Live life head up. Just saying this might give your brand the positioning that would resonate with people.


Consumer Behavior #4: 

The pandemic was a period of discovery and the birth of new behaviors. Celebrate them.

During the pandemic, people got more in touch with their biophilia—the idea that humans are genetically drawn to and fulfilled by nature. People purposefully engaged in outdoor activities like never before and there was a soar in plant purchasing. 

People reinvented themselves, looked at changing the way they look at the world, their jobs, their priorities. Formerly decisions that we felt were set in stone were being re-looked at. The unimaginable took place. We became open to change. 

Sometimes it is difficult for consumers to consider change. But if companies are changing the way they ask their employees to come to work, can changing to something better be that hard?

Sources⏤Consumer Behavior #1:

Bradley et al. (2020). The great acceleration. Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice. McKinsey & Company.

Sabanoglu T. (2021, March 26). Global retail e-commerce sales 2014-2024. https://www.statista.com/statistics/379046/worldwide-retail-e-commerce-sales/

Frost, P. (2020). An accelerant to social change? The Spanish flu of 1918-19. International Political Anthropology, (13)2, 123-133. 

Galloway, S. (2020). Post corona: From crisis to opportunity. Platforma.

Moore, G. A. (1991). Crossing the chasm. Collins Business Essentials.


Sources⏤Consumer Behavior #2:

Aaker, J. & Bagdonas, N. (2021). Humor, seriously: Why humor is a secret weapon in business and life (And how anyone can harness it. Even you.). Penguin Random House.

Apte, M. L. (1985). Humor and laughter: An anthropological approach. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Bitterly, T. B. & Schweitzer, M. E. (2021). Humor and coping in a pandemic. HKUST Business School, 012.

Fayyad, S. (2020). The role of employee trust in the relationship between leaders’ aggressive humor and knowledge sharing. Journal of Association of Arab Universities for Tourism and Hospitality, 19(1), 143-157.

Hu, W. & Luo, J. (2020). Leader humor and employee creativity: A model integrating, pragmatic and affective roles. Asian Business & Management.

Xu et al. (2020). Language skills in business negotiation from the perspective of adaptation. International Journal of Multidisciplinary and Current Educational Research, 2(4), 181-187. 

Yang, C. et al. (2021). Linking leader humor to employee creativity: The roles of relational energy and traditionality. Journal of Managerial Psychology.


Sources⏤Consumer Behavior #3:

Alberts, I. (2014). Challenges of information system use by knowledge workers: The email productivity paradox. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 50(1). 

Mark et al. (2016). Email duration, batching and self-interruption: Patterns of email use on productivity and stress. CHI Proceedings, 1717-1728.

Newport, C. (2021). A world without email: Reimagining work in an age of communication overload. Portfolio.

Palmer, M. (2011). The end of email? Financial Times.


Sources⏤Consumer Behavior #4:

Crawford & Woodworth (2020). Biophilia and human health. New Design Ideas 4(2), 112-118.

Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do. Penguin Random House.

Edersheim, E. H. H. (2017). The definitive Drucker: Challenges for tomorrow’s executives—Final advice from the father of modern management. McGraw-Hill.

Kahenman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Madison, A. (2021). How the pandemic has changed the houseplant industry—and why. https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/a35966943/how-the-pandemic-has-changed-the-houseplant-industry/

Reis, S. et al. (2020). Pandemic, social isolation and the importance of people-plant interaction. Oram. Hort. 26(3).

Sullivan, E. (2021). Covid lockdowns turned buying plants into the next big pandemic trend—for good reason. https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/covid-lockdowns-turned-buying-plants-next-big-pandemic-trend-good-ncna1256223

Wilson, E. O. (1984) Biophilia. Harvard University Press.