COVID-19 triggered behaviour changes

Written by
Dr Ayub Macharia
Photo courtesy: Ministry of Environment and Forestry

COVID-19 has brought about the need for behaviour change in diverse fronts. This is dictated by the fact that the virus is transmitted through contaminated surfaces and droplets released mainly while sneezing, coughing etc. This mode of transmission has necessitated behaviour change in order to avoid infection.

The change in behaviour has also affected the business as usual stance since people have moved from the areas they previously frequented. Entrepreneurs and brand owners have been compelled to reinvent their operational and marketing strategies for products and services if they are to remain afloat. New opportunities and threats have emerged and if rules of natural selection apply, some businesses would close forever.

In this regard, entrepreneurs can benefit a lot if they invested in understanding how the ground has shifted and the new kind of behaviours brought about by responses from COVID-19. Some of the behaviours include:-

  1. Wear masks while in public places
  2. Maintain social distance of between 1-3 metres
  3. Sanitize regularly
  4. Wash hands regularly with soap and running water
  5. Avoid crowded places
  6. Don’t hug, kiss
  7. Shop online
  8. Provide digital services
  9. Enhance feedback mechanisms
  10. Provide examples and enable people learn from experience
  11. Success modelling through showing examples of others completing the task
  12. Embrace home food or shopping delivery
  13. Embrace positive emotions, hope, happiness
  14. Avoid fear
  15. Provide or follow instructions to avoid contracting COVID-19
  16. Adopt new routines e.g. home cooking, laudry, reading, listening to podcasts etc
  17. Embrace electronic learning
  18. Communicate nature and degree of risks
  19. Be keen on hygiene rules
  20. Consider new layouts to facilitate social distancing
  21. Gain social consensus of the behaviour or belief
  22. Manage staff and customers’ health & safety
  23. Encourage other people to change their behaviour

From the text above, it is evident that we cannot ignore the dictates of COVID-19 that we are now past business as usual. The ground has shifted and we have to adapt to the new norm. Rules of survival for the fittest and natural selection seem to be in play and advancing aggressively.

In the business front, there’s no guarantee that consumers will change their behaviour and there is a possibility that they’ll simply stop doing or buying certain things. If business players fail to note this change, they may find their investment deteriorating. Changing consumer behaviour is a difficult task and brands that don’t manage change effectively will inevitably struggle.

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