May 11th 2020

Welcome to the New Normal!

"We're staying at home" is now said in almost every commercial on TV, on the radio or on advertising posters. On social media, #zuhausebleiben has become a real trend. From everywhere, the outcry is raining down on us: Stay home. Keep your distance. Isolation is seen as an act of solidarity.

Abstand halten

Change - the archenemy of the inner pig.

Admittedly, this is new and unfamiliar for all of us. And change (if you are honest with yourself) nobody really likes at first. Change pushes us to abandon the familiar, to rethink, and to venture into unfamiliar territory. These changes stir up insecurity. But since we are all equally affected by this change, there is no point in burying our heads in the sand. Normality will return, just in a different form: The New Normal.

Basically, in the form of crisis development, this is also a completely normal process that we are currently going through. I would like to introduce you to the five psychological phases of the crisis.

Phase 1: Incubation

Changes are basically rejected at first. At the beginning, no one really wanted to accept Corona or take it seriously. Corona was in Wuhan and that was fortunately far enough away from us. In this phase, people try to turn the crisis away from themselves by ignoring it. As if the cup would pass us by on its own.

Phase 2: Panic

But with Heinsberg and Ischgl at the latest, Corona was suddenly very close. It became clear that ignorance would get us nowhere. And our fear and uncertainty turned into chaos and panic. In our case, the supermarkets were bought empty. Toilet paper and noodles became scarce commodities. At the kiosk around the corner from me you could still buy toilet paper. For a bargain price of 5 € the 6er packing.

Phase 3: Depression

After the first panic, when the dust had settled, we fell into a kind of depression. A regular daily routine, fixed structures or social contacts: Corona eliminated many of the pillars that supported our mental health. The fear of the unknown and the protracted waiting led to demotivated and even depressive states.

Phase 4: Reconsideration

But there is light at the end of the tunnel! Since we can't change anything about the situation, we have to accept things as they are for the time being. New solutions must be found to deal with the challenge. Certain products may only be purchased in limited quantities, we have to keep at least 1.5 m distance and, in the meantime, wear a mouth guard if we want to take the train, go shopping or participate in public life in any other way. As far as possible, we continue to work from home in the home office and teach the children via PC in the "homeschool".

Phase 5: Normalization

And it is with these new structures that we slowly begin to rebuild our environment. Under the premise of limited entry, keeping the minimum distance and being willing to allow 10-20 minutes of waiting time, the first stores open again in the pedestrian zone. We are developing a new awareness of ourselves and our environment. Home office and home school become part of everyday life, and friends we haven't seen in years are greeted not with an effusive hug, but a euphoric wave from a safe distance. Welcome to the New Normal!

New market, new niches, new potentials

What the New Normal will look like in its entirety is hard to gauge at this point. But investigate!

Fortunately, online research wears a digital mouthguard and reaches out in lockdown to the very people who can give us insight! Nothing stands in our way of studying the "New Normal," changing consumer behavior, and the changing wants and needs of our customers.

Remember the four different customer and product types from my previous post here... ?

If we combine these customer types with the product types, we get the so-called Matrix of Danger.

Who is buying what now?
Which products have become more important?
Which products are customers doing without?

You don't have to bite the bullet to find out. In uncertain and volatile times like now, market research can provide certainty with well-founded figures, data and facts.

Herbert Höckel

Herbert Höckel is a managing partner here at moweb research GmbH. He has been a market researcher for more than 25 years. In 2004 he founded moweb GmbH, which he is still the owner today. moweb from Düsseldorf operates internationally and is one of the first German market research institutes specializing in digital processes.

You are welcome to purchase his book "Customer Centricity Mindset ® - Really Understand Customers, Master Disruption Successfully" here.

Your success, our goal!