While it still feels like we're a long way off returning to normal amid the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns and expanded impacts, there are signs that many regions are moving into the recovery phase, which could see a lot of businesses shift back to regular operations within the next few months. That won't be the case everywhere, and restrictions and limitations will remain for some time yet. But there are glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel, and people are now allowing themselves to plan for what happens after the world is re-opened.
Pinterest has noted this - in its most recent earnings report, Pinterest said that:
"Recently we’ve started to see people return to more future-oriented interests such as vacation and event planning."
And for marketers, that could mean that it's worth planning now for the next consumer shift.
So what should you be focused on, and planning for - where do you begin in reigniting your strategies in order to maximize appeal in the post-COVID-19 environment? This week, Pinterest has published a new guide to assist with this process.
Titled 'How to Inspire Through Uncertainty', Pinterest's new, 14-page guide provides an overview of the key stages of recovery, and how marketers should consider focusing on each.
As explained by Pinterest:
"Pinterest is unique. It’s a platform where people consciously come to plan their future rather than scrolling through posts about the past. Because Pinterest is grounded in the future, we get an earlier indication of where consumers are headed, and can help brands better predict what’s to come for their category. Right now, every marketer in the world needs that insight."
Pinterest first breaks down the current situation into four marketing phases:
These are the areas where Pinterest says marketers need to be focused, and aligning their approaches accordingly. And importantly, based on current user activity, Pinterest says that businesses should be planning for the recovery phase right now, in order to maximize performance.
As you can see here, Pinterest says that with signs of consumer optimism returning, now is the time for brands to consider the next phase, even though it may still feel like a long way off.
The guide offers a range of examples and notes on how, exactly, businesses can go about mapping out their post-COVID-19 strategy, and what they should be communicating at each point.
There are some valuable and relevant notes here, and while the human impacts of the pandemic cannot be overlooked, it is important, both at an immediate and broader level, that businesses do consider how they move into the next stage in order to minimize the economic impacts.
The next stage, it's worth re-stating, won't be 'normal' as such. Events will likely be shut down for a long time yet, sports will be restricted, as will travel - the new normal of 2020 will not be the same as, say, last year. It'll still take a lot more assurance and research to get back to regular life.
As such, Pinterest's guide provides some valuable pointers to consider, including specific notes on communicating at each stage - and what, exactly, that looks like.
No one wants to be operating, or indeed living, within this environment, but that, unfortunately, is the reality that we're currently faced with. And as such, it's important for us to learn how to live within that, as opposed to shutting down and locking ourselves away. We need to do that for a time, of course, but we also need to consider that this is not going to be resolved within a few weeks.
COVID-19 is likely to haunt us for some time yet, but the longer we put things on hold, the bigger the economic and societal impacts will be. So we need to work out how we live, how we operate - and indeed, how we market within this situation.
Pinterest's guide offers some key insight on this, and is definitely worth a look.
You can download Pinterest's 'How to Inspire Through Uncertainty' guide here.