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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

A Call For Brand Ownership

Anxiety reaches its highest level

As we enter the holiday weekend, our data shows a significant spike in those that are “Very Anxious” about venturing out. No doubt, this is the “expected outcome” with the rise in Covid-19 cases and increasing media coverage. It is a large spike. In fact, for the week ending June 22, it is the highest anxiety that we have seen since tracking Covid-19 sentiment began in March.

Yet, the "obvious answer" isn't always the key insight

Looking more closely, we must identify where the shift is coming from. Consumers that were in the middle of the model are migrating towards the “Very Anxious” segment. Yet, as important, the leading segments “Out the Door First” and “Out There, Taking It Slow” remain fairly steady. I know that some may be thinking these leading edge segments are causing the spike in cases. They may be right.

But, here’s why stability in the leading segments is urgently important today.

How your brand solves the tension between personal freedoms and how your brand serves and protects your customer base, particularly those venturing out first, will impact if we move forwards or backwards.

Two steps forward: The two leading segments, representing 40% of Americans, are venturing out and are helping businesses stay afloat. We need these consumers to help in the economic recovery.

  • 71% of “First Out the Door” report venturing out more this week vs. last week which is close to double that of the US overall at just 37%.

  • Only 8% of the “Very Anxious” segment have ventured out.

One step back: Like it or not, a bigger burden of reinforcing the safety protocols is on the businesses if we want to move forward not backwards in our reopening plans.

  • The leading segments, which by the way are not just Millennials, are the least concerned with safety protocols.

  • As we lead with joy to invite customers back to our brands, as operators, we must own what happens in our own 4 walls.

Ask yourself:

How will you lead with joy while delivering the safety protocols/standards to protect your teams and customers?

  • Are your frontline associates truly empowered to enforce the safety protocols that you and your teams have worked so hard to create? Social distancing, capacity, wearing masks, etc.?

  • Is the frontline executing your protocols every shift of every day?

  • Are you and your frontline associates prepared for what’s coming next - when the most anxious begin to venture out, are you ready to balance their higher need for even more safety protocols needs with those that ventured out first?

What's Next:

Each brand should create a custom strategy on how to not just open, but how to navigate the risks and rewards of providing a joyful experience and protecting our customers. Need help navigating this rollercoaster ride? The path forward is and always will be by understanding the needs and wants of our customers. We have been tracking Covid consumer insights since March through all the ups and downs and twists and turns. Please contact us at

Our results are based on a weekly survey fielded among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans aged 18+ by ProdegeMR, a leading market research panel. The sample is balanced according to US Census on Age, Gender, Region and Ethnicity. Thanks to my research partners at ProdegeMR for providing the continued support to get this research done! Couldn't have done it without you! 

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