OBERLAND Co-Founder Bill Oberlander - on Post-Pandemic Challenges Facing Brands as Americans Resume Social Activities

Creative agency committed to helping brands achieve a higher purpose, drive positive change and accelerate societal progress through conscious capitalism, OBERLAND notes that companies need to brace for a reality where comfort zones have been re-evaluated and daily routines altered post-pandemic.

Aside from dominating the headlines and broadcast news for all of 2020 so far, the novel coronavirus outbreak has transformed the world in ways no one could have expected. From work to grocery shopping and social activities ingrained in daily life, people’s sense of “normal” has been upended, which will undoubtedly play a central role in shaping the post-pandemic world. “Just as consumers have developed new habits and built certain expectations about life after lockdowns, so companies need to brace for a reality where comfort zones have been re-evaluated and daily routines altered,” according to OBERLAND, a creative agency committed to helping brands achieve a higher purpose, drive positive change and accelerate societal progress through conscious capitalism. “In a bid to facilitate the transition to this new environment and support brands in adjusting to it, we conducted a study in partnership with Guardian US and Suzy to explore the sentiments of American citizens as the government begins to ease restrictions. The insights gleaned from this research suggest that what we have come to accept as “normal life” may not look the same, making it imperative for brands to reconsider their business strategies.”

While social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders have taken a heavy toll on the population, the study indicates that Americans are not as eager as expected to resume mingling, comments Bill Oberlander, co-founder and executive creative director of OBERLAND. A mere 9% of the people polled said they would feel comfortable re-engaging in activities such as eating out, meeting friends, or going to a bar or a movie only a day after the lockdown ends. “Survey respondents had a heightened sense of caution regarding the attendance of large events, such as business conferences, concerts, or sporting events. Close to two-thirds of those surveyed would not feel comfortable going to a large function for three months or longer after the economy re-opens, and over a tenth say they won’t feel comfortable resuming these activities for a year. This sentiment also affects travel though respondents are more willing to venture from their homes than attend a populated event. Fifty percent of respondents said they would travel within the first three months of “normal life” for work, vacation or to visit family,” according to the study report.

Given the extent to which the pandemic has affected Americans’ attitude to daily activities and pastimes, it is inevitable that these behavioral shifts will have a profound impact on business organizations, especially consumer-dependent ones, OBERLAND notes. “Brands that typically sponsor summer concert series, sporting events, or business conferences will need to find new avenues to reach their target consumers. Restaurant owners will need to adjust business models to account for lost time and lost customers – and consider the long-term impact on their consumer base. Will former customers maintain loyalty after months of separation? This existential question applies to all consumer-centric businesses, from retail to hospitality or elective medicine. The future of brands and businesses will be determined by the activities Americans deem ‘worth the risk,’” the report points out.

Launched in 2014 by acclaimed marketing professionals Bill Oberlander and Drew Train, OBERLAND has become the new face of the advertising industry: an agency dedicated to building brands that have a purpose and a social mission. Combining the expertise of its team with passionate social advocacy, the company believes its work can help change the world and advance conscious capitalism for the benefit of future generations. In a world where consumers crave meaning and seek to identify with the products they use every day, OBERLAND is helping its clients deliver traditional, digital, social, and mobile campaigns that reflect changing attitudes and priorities. Its portfolio offers solutions for every need, providing public, private, and non-profit organizations with all the support they need in the areas of brand strategy, marketing, design, storytelling, and event planning.

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