Looking back from the future to the present
Director, Brand & Communication / Brand Guidance Lead, Japan
In April, when the COVID-19 pandemic was taking hold in Japan, Kantar’s future trends consultancy unit predicted that, of the basic consumer needs, there would be changes seen in “protection,” “wellbeing,” “flow,” “connections,” and “experiences.” Over the past six months, changes in these basic needs have indeed been observed in Japan, inducing other changes. For instance, we have seen a renewed consumer need to consciously protect their own health – which means reevaluating how they spend their time, how they select products, and how they think about entertainment. Compared with pre-COVID-19, brands also have had to be more attentive and faster-acting toward grasping consumer needs and taking action. The stronger of these brands did not merely react to change – they acted on consumer needs without straying from their brand purpose. Put another way, in these six months I realized the increasing importance of questioning whether short-term actions are consistent with a brand’s long-term vision and value. Especially now, when so much else is unclear or uncertain, a brand’s purpose is one aspect that can remain fully formed.