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What Matters Most To Jamaican Consumers Right Now?

The Jamaican marketing and advertising industry is on a mission to understand our customers. Brands have never felt more disengaged with consumers as shifting current events are producing a new type of consumer. Incremental shifts in online consumption patterns may mean progressive changes in tastes in the next six months.

For instance, in March and April 2020, Jamaicans notably shifted their social media preferences. It is quite obvious the reason for interest in the Prime Minister’s and Minister of Health’s social media accounts during the pandemic.

However, there seems to be a notably difference in the accounts accessed for entertainment purposes. These changes are important for advertisers to note because it means that “feel good” ad messages may need to be suspended for awhile. Or it can mean the exact opposite, people may need ad messages which encourage them to escape from their present realities for a bit.

Additionally, as a result of self-distancing, leisure activities have shifted somewhat. 100 Jamaican respondents were asked what mattered the most to them now. They indicated that the health and safety of their family were the most important. Playing games with family, speaking to friends and monitoring COVID-19 news updates were among the top leisure activities pursued at home.

How is the advertising community responding to consumers’ changing worldview? Vice President and Head of Analytics of Criteo Jaysen Gillespie proposed a shift in communication strategies in the COVID-19 era. Here are some of his interesting ideas below:

Social media channels are a MUST

Social media offers a unique opportunity to engage with consumers in their home. It offers the ability to introduce or reintroduce consumers to products and teach them about the product.

For example the Mondavi Sisters of CK Mondavi wines and are running virtual educational tastings for their Aloft and Dark Matter wine brands. Co-proprietor and winemaker Angelina Mondavi notes that they were considering this strategy prior to COVID-19, but realized they needed to implement the tastings earlier than usual. She states, “Our goal from the beginning was to connect with people that may not have the opportunity to visit us in the Napa Valley and continue to grow a stronger and closer relationship with our Aloft and Dark Matter members.”

Home Influencers are Key

Those social media influencers whose content has been primarily geared towards the home and family setting are the tastemakers to invest in during this time. People want to see realistic and relatable content made interesting.

Consequently, home influencers have the ear and attention of the public right now. Brands need to align their messages with these individuals.

Human-centric messages

This crisis has hit many individuals very hard. Consumers are open to messages that focus on effective management of the job crisis.

“Gillespie cites Diageo’s (owner of the Guinness and Johnnie Walker brands) promise of over $1 million to support bartenders and other affected groups around the world of a good example of incorporating the human element into marketing messages. While some companies may even achieve sales gains, remaining sensitive to the human side of things, and especially job displacements and hardship is important to consumers and resonates.”

Who is doing it best?

The Jamaican brand that has been executing these ideas well is Digicel. They have merged human centric messages executed by key influencers on traditional and social media. Digicel has leveraged “Stay Connected” as more than just using their products to call or surf the web. Staying connected is about remaining authentically Jamaican, remaining safe, engaging with your community and enacting your corporate responsibility. They have firmly made themselves relevant to COVID-19’s pop culture by utilizing local celebrities to boost their message.

Similarly, Budweiser has utilised a marketing strategy like Digicel’s “Stay Connected”. Using nostalgia to remind consumers of life before the anxiety of COVID-19 and promoting the moniker “whassap” as a communal expression of love and relevance.

They have also normalized the drinking of Budweiser when connecting with friends and family. It is integral for COVID parties and hangouts and they have reintroduced a past and appropriate tagline into the 2020 reality. In one swipe they have used COVID-19 home influencers to deliver a human-centric message which is perfect for the social media landscape.


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