As we kicked off 2022, a few of us were slightly on edge. The ‘fresh start’ that we all expect at the beginning of a new year has all but disappeared. In 2020 we didn’t expect COVID. In 2021 we expected it to be over.

From the unpredictability of the past two years, what challenges and opportunities face companies and brands in 2022? IMPACT’s CEO Nicole Webb asks behavioural psychology specialist, Kris White what we can expect. Some outtakes from their discussion:

  • Any fresh start has been dampened by the continuity of COVID. We are all looking for closure on COVID but it doesn’t come. New Years is a major one. We use it to separate it from the past, new plans, new goals, expect things to be different. January 1 has no relevance to COVID
  • People look to others to set the new norms. They are looking to the herd, for safety in numbers. What is everyone else doing? So there is an opportunity for businesses and brands to be a ‘first mover’ and take the lead. COVID fast-tracked existing tensions lead to innovation (think home fitness and the rise of zoom to facilitate remote working)
  • Policies keep changing (to wear a mask or not wear a mask?). There is no stability, no predictability and low confidence in planning ahead – if they are not already, there is an opportunity for brands to be more agile. Plan, but plan for change.
  • Smart to learn from lessons of 2020 – 2021 – it is a more realistic approach. Cautious optimism + agility is key
  • Stop thinking calendar year and start thinking ‘COVID calendar’. Learn from the ups and downs of the past two years and set yourself up for success should a policy change or a spike/lockdown occur
  • Values will also have changed over the past two years so there is an opportunity for companies to review. Target audience behaviours have probably changed too so a reset of your audience profiles wouldn’t go astray
  • Do what makes sense for your brand. Know your audience and what they need. Don’t be tone deaf to those needs. Have contextual conversations
  • While the context and objectives differ across industries and organisations, the underlying human psychology does not

Listen to the podcast here.