Imagining the New Normal - Human Stories Shaping a COVID-19 World (JUNE UPDATE)

Sprout Strategy
on 14/06/2019

The most recent wave of data from Spout's implicit or ‘System 1’ study into the emotional needs and motivations of Australians is showing some interesting shifts. Australians are more confident about the future while we're coming to terms with a new reality of how long it might take to get there. Armed with this insight, we want to help you understand how to activate the changing emotional needs of Australians from a brand, customer and employee experience point of view. How can we leverage what we know to impact all of these in the most effective and valuable way?

Why was the research conducted?

Understanding the core human motivational needs that we are seeking more of at a particular time in order to define brand messaging or CX strategies that can boost emotional connections with brands and drive brand equity. We argue that successful Brands will better support people in their desire to achieve core human motivational needs through well thought out behaviours and actions.

These core motivational needs help to explain our behaviour - why a person choses your brand over another brand, engages with a new product or doesn’t, recalls and engages with communication etc. We can’t detect these motivational needs by asking direct questions – they are non-conscious and difficult to articulate for everyday people. Therefore our research uses Implicit or ‘System 1’ techniques to uncover.

For COVID-19, we have run two Special Edition waves of this implicit research and used the Kubler-Ross Grief Model Stages to plot the Motivational Needs groups of Australians are seeking depending where they are on their COVID-19 ‘Journey’.

How was the research conducted?

Online quant survey N=500
Qualitative Digital Immersions
Qualitative video testimonials

What are the key findings of the research?

The June edition of our Mood of Australia research reveals right now Australians have entered a phase of 'Cautious Optimism'. Positivity has returned but this is countered with a sense of realism on how long this situation will take to resolve and trepidation by many to take advantage of recent relaxations. One-third of us feel restrictions are being lifted too soon. We need to give Australians the confidence to participate again in key external and social activities.

Our 'impacted' group has reduced from April to June meaning more Australians have moved along our COVID-19 Motivational Journey to the Bargaining and Acceptance stages. They are still seeking to feel more Positive Empowerment and Achievement. However, there are groups of Australians that are at a real risk of a 'yoyo' effect back to an earlier stage of Depression and needing emotional support from brands and organisations. The unfolding situation in Victoria is a case in point with the risk of a ripple effect into additional states.

Whilst worker positivity is also up, 44% of Australian workers are still considered 'impacted'. Caring for the people who work for us is critical for business success. COVID-19 has amplified this need.

Our key takeaway is that scenario planning for different groups of Australians is essential from a Brand, Customer Experience and Employee experience viewpoint. The Plan ‘A’ is still about empowering more Australians to move further toward positive achievement on their COVID-19 Motivational Journey, whilst simultaneously planning for those Australians who experience a COVID-19 ‘Yo-Yo’ effect back to an earlier emotional state. These distinct groups will respond to different messaging and product/service offerings. ‘I don’t want to be disempowered again’ will be top of mind for many Australians.

Additional resources:

PDF Report

Full research:

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Contributor's Name: Ashley Smith