Yoann Hui - Design Management & Culture
Lately, everyone is finding a new routine for the current 'normal' life because of COVID-19. Suddenly we have been asked to stay at home by the government for helping stop / reduce the spread of the virus. A lot of people transited to work from home if their job is available to do it at home. Also, a lot of people have to stop working in certain industries like a retailer, scientist or job couldn't be done at home. And during this period, we use to wish our families, friends, colleagues, and whom that we know to stay safe, stay healthy and stay sane. But why, what leads us to wish people stay sane?
Before the pandemic:
For those who could work from home - if we have been told that we can work from home every day. I think most of the people would feel it sounds like a bonus and excitement. We would more naturally link it to - save time and money from transport to working, able to sleep a bit longer, wear comfortable clothes, easy to access to our kitchen, flexible working schedule, etc. And especially thinking of don't have to dig into the overcrowded trains every day during the rush hours, able to working from home sound much better.
For those who couldn't work from home - if we have been told that we can have a break, and don't have to work for a while. I think it sounds like a dream for everyone (maybe most of the people). So currently isn't perfect for everyone who was wishing for the above?
But why? Why it's more and more articles, have been posted online to help people to stay calm and maintain a good or positive mental and physical well-being during the lockdown?
A sudden and unexpected situation happened, we have been forced to change, even though we are doing something we like in normal life are not that enjoyable than before. Because of the uncertainty situation made us feel losing control of our life and unsecured of the future. According to the report 'Tackling the impact of COVID-19 on mental health' by the research charity MQ: Transforming Mental Health and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. They have invited over 2000 participants to take part in the survey for understanding how COVID-19 has impacted people's mental health. And through the research, they recorded levels of anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide and other mental health issues across the population. It clearly shows this pandemic is not just threatening our physical health, and it also sets a significant risk to our mental health.
Working for a marketing consulting company, we understand not only just people are facing the uncertainty future, and also business and brands. Because of this unusual situation, we have a few projects that the client would like to understand and unpack how and why consumers' behaviour changes affected by COVID-19 specifically, for now, and in the future. So recently, I have worked in a project that help client to understand how people react and change their behaviours in 3 different markets - China, Brazil and the UK. The aims for this project are to understand how people changed compared to previous life and now, what's the role of the brand's products are playing in consumer's daily life at the current situation, and what tends to be a long-term impact after the pandemic. And interestingly, through the research we have found people is more aware and interested in health and well-being not only physically but also mentally.
Recently, because of the increased number of COVID-19 related projects, our expect colleague - Dr Paul Marsden (Consumer Psychologist) gave us an internal sharing of what consumers want from brands in the current situation from a human science perspective, and how brands should respond from our company's empathy based perspective. He listed and explained 4 key contagions that consumer are experiencing and concerning during the pandemic, and what a brand can do to address those needs:
During the DPS year, I'm lucky enough that able to work with my current company - human-first marketing consultancy company. During this placement, I am not only able to learn an extensive range of research skills and project process knowledge, but also experienced and realised how incredible and powerful that psychology is. As a design management and culture student, we have been teaching of human-centred design to unlock the real needs of human. After my placement experience, I feel psychology is a fundamental understanding of human. It provides a solid foundation for the project, especially for human-centred design. I truly think that sometimes we can't fully unlock the pain point by doing research, and human science is like a line link up all the insights logically. And also, because we are doing a lot of research with human, using emotional intelligence while researching could helps us understand how our target audience feel. It's is like stepping into their shoes and seeing the world from their perspective. Recently years, more and more industries has recognised the power and importance of human-centred design, business and organisations started applying those methodologies into their business and operations. However, there is still some of the industries are bit behind. It triggered my curiosity to understand and explore which industry was (were) the 'early adopter' and how human-centred design impacts it, and which industry is (are) the laggard and why.
MQ: Transforming Mental Health, the Academy of Medical Sciences (2020) Tackling the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. Available at: https://acmedsci.ac.uk/file-download/11112363 (Accessed:12 May 2020).