Entertainment Is The Hot New CPG Currency

The last two months have been insane for digital marketers. We’ve been anything but bored, trying to keep up with consumer changes, overwhelmed retail, inventory issues and other challenges.

But while the world has endured many serious challenges in recent months, consumers with extra free time at home while complying with shelter-in-place regulations have dealt with a bit of crushing boredom without restaurants, movie nights or much of anything to break it up. And not just among kids, but also adults stuck in the same house, wearing the same clothes and looking at the same things every day.

Our partners’ social listening has continued to capture the same sentiment across all age categories, but particularly adults: boredom. Believe it or not, boredom even eclipsed COVID-19 itself as a trending topic several weeks ago.  

At the same time, we’re all hearing that brand loyalty is low due to in-stock challenges and COVID-induced frugality. We were curious about whether the boredom arc may also be fueling part of the significant shifts in brand loyalty being reported by brands and retailers.

As a result of our curiosity, we decided to field consumer research in mid-May and learned that yes, consumers are indeed trading off brands just for the sheer novelty or fun of it. According to our research, nearly 73% of consumers have tried a new product or new brand in the last two months because it seemed fun or entertaining.

In fact, more people are trading off for novelty than are trading off for price. And they’re not just entertaining themselves with new snacks and drinks, but also with new laundry detergents, paper goods and personal care items. (See more in the chart below.)

We also learned that consumers are liking the new products they’re trying and intending to stick with them in huge numbers. (See the chart above.)

Using Fun to Inspire Trial/Loyalty

Given this data, it’s evident that consumer packaged goods brands should use fun to inspire trial and loyalty among consumers as we continue to navigate out of COVID-19 and beyond. Here are a few quick ideas to consider.

Intrinsic: Can your brand make me/my family smile?

 Sheer Novelty: Sometimes, just a change in routine brings an unexpected lift. Would your lasagna be better if the pasta were twirls? Time to find out!

 Mini-Upgrades: In social posts, ads, on your website, etc., communicate how your unique brand benefit can spark moments of joy and fun for the user/family — anything from the surprise of whiter sheets to a kiss with fresher breath.

Extrinsic: Can your brand entertain me?

 Many stuck-at-home consumers have extra time on their hands. Help them fill it with fun, viral ideas that include your brand. Don’t think your brand is too boring — it’s not! Every brand has the opportunity.

  • How about a cookie Jenga challenge?
  • Maybe a family “Iron Chef” challenge with your green bean brand?
  • Painted paper towel art/origami?

The options are limitless.

Can you also make the path to purchase fun and light? At points of inspiration like ads or social media points, using tools that shorten the path to purchase lets consumers act without much friction or thinking. Driving lightweight e-commerce action across all your digital touchpoints is key to winning consumers.

The net/net: It’s a bit of a game of musical chairs right now, and the new brand the consumer is using when the music stops will be the long-term winner. So while you’re doing what you can to keep your products in stock and priced right, also be sure to leverage the power of novelty to get and keep your brand’s chair under as many consumers as possible.

This article originally appeared in Path to Purchase IQ.

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