The global pandemic has changed our shopping and snacking habits in fundamental ways—with more at-home consumption and a shift to online shopping that looks set to stick, particularly with millennials. Even more significantly, it has revealed an appetite for connection and community that marketers need to embrace.
In our quest for marketing precision, we’ve almost become too clinical in our approach. We need to bring the human back into marketing by putting the connections between people firmly at the heart of everything that we do. I truly believe that now more than ever, our brands have the capacity to bring people together.
At a time when we’re at home more than ever before, prevented from dining out and eating on-the-go, snacking is on the increase. According to a survey, seven in 10 adults say they are snacking the same or more than before Covid-19.
It makes sense. As a behavior, snacking fits well with our busy lives and demanding schedules. Snacks provide a boost, a reward or some much-needed fuel as we power through the day, home-schooling our kids while leading work calls from our make-shift offices. For me, it’s a bite of dark chocolate with a coffee that helps sharpen my mind.
But the rise in snacking doesn’t have to mean a trend towards over-consumption: People, particularly millennials and centennials, are snacking more often but are doing so more mindfully and deliberately, using their snack-times as moments of me-time to balance out their days. Two-thirds of global adults say snack time is one of the few moments of peace (64%) and bright spots in their day (63%), including three-quarters of parents (76%).
For others, particularly those who are working from home, snacking provides moments of community. It offers them the chance to come together with partners or families over food, bonding over shared moments of indulgence, and perhaps enjoying a moment of levity during what have been tough times for all of us.
Snacking has been an avenue for connection for most. About three-in-four global adults have done something to connect with others via food in the last six months (77%), such as making a snack together (40%), giving a snack as a gift (31%) or grocery shopping for someone who could not go themselves (29%).
To many of us, snacking serves as a bridge to happier times. More than half of consumers buy nostalgic snack brands from childhood (53%) as they look to snacks that bring back good memories (59%) during the pandemic.
These moments of humanity—the truths of how we are living today—are the kinds of data points that transcend dry statistics, and which provide inspiration for how we can all as marketers remain relevant to the people we try to reach in this ever-changing world. More than anything they remind us that it’s time to stop selling products and services to consumers, and to start creating and celebrating connections with fellow human beings.
Whether it is in our creative work or what we take a stand for, putting the human back into marketing is what will create connections, form bonds and build relationships to the people who buy, love and celebrate our brands.