As lockdown eases and the UK enjoys freedoms once more, what does the time hold in store for brands? As part of our virtual ITV Showcase 2021 event, Richard Shotton, behavioural science consultant and author of The Choice Factory, explains why the next 12-18 months offer a powerful window of opportunity for the nation’s businesses.

Read on for Richard’s advice and watch the full video below.


The research

Back in 2017, Richard sent 2,370 people a survey with two important questions: 

  1. Had they undergone a life event within the last year? (i.e. divorce, marriage, a house move, retirement). 

  2. Had they tried a new brand in a particular category within the last year? (i.e. perfume, makeup, coffee, etc).

The results

  • People who had experienced life events were 2.5 times more likely to try a new brand

  • Crucially, it didn’t matter which life event they had undergone. The event also didn’t have to be relevant to the product category, i.e. people who had moved house were more likely to try new TV programmes and people who had divorced were more likely to try a new lager.

Why it matters

“I would argue the country has just gone through one huge life event,” says Richard. The events that we’ve gone through together mean consumers will be “more open to change”, including when it comes to the brands they use. 

He also believes that this will have an even “bigger effect” than his research has shown, as only about 5-10% of people go through a life event each year, whereas the entire country has gone through the pandemic and the release of lockdown.

The opportunity for marketers

“So why is this important to you as a marketer? Well, it creates a window of opportunity,” he says. Over the next 12-18 months, the research suggests that customers will be switching brands they use in different categories more than normal. 

“You need to be on the right side of this churn rather than the wrong side,” he says. “So you’ve got to keep on spending in a creative way and if you do that, then this churn should be an opportunity rather than a threat. But just make sure you seize that opportunity.”Save

Watch the full video

Richard Shotton
video time: video title:
“We’ve gone through the pandemic, we’ve gone through lockdown and now we’re going through the release of lockdown. All these events change people’s environment and therefore they will become more open to change—more open to changing the brands that they use.” Richard Shotton, behavioural science consultant and author of The Choice Factory

Richard’s words in action: Marks & Spencer

As part of ITV Showcase 2021, Sharry Cramond, Marketing Director, M&S Food & Hospitality, joined a panel hosted by Adil Ray to discuss the themes shared by Richard and fellow speakers.

She explained that during the first lockdown, people were worried about going out so their shopping habits changed. Rather than smaller, frequent shops, they were doing bigger shops less regularly. M&S wanted to “keep growing” the trend because people were beginning to see that the retailer had a broader range than they may have realised previously. 

Sharry says, “What we’ve done—and I think what we should all think about—is what are the changes that we’ve seen and how are we going to push on that open door and to really build on these customers’ changing perceptions?” 

The answer was partnering with ITV and an independent production company to produce a new TV show, Cooking with the Stars. All ingredients featured within the show will be from M&S, again showing consumers the extent of its range. 





cooking with srars.jpeg


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