Exploring the Next Phase Pt 3: Redefining Consistency

Based on an Exclusive Pandora Listener Study

As we come to accept our new reality, it’s officially dawned on us just how special our pre-covid-19 lives were. We never took full advantage of the freedom to hop on a plane for that much needed getaway, go to the grocery store without waiting in a properly distanced line or burning calories in our favorite, yet dreaded, workout class. But one thing was true...

Consistency powered our day-to-day lives.

And even though we used to complain about our old routines—wake up, drink coffee, go to work, cook dinner, workout, sleep, repeat—we miss the part of our lives that were, well, normal. This pandemic has truly redefined what consistency means altogether. Now, consistency is more about being ok with constant change and finding methods to enable control in our lives.

And that’s exactly what we set out to understand through our 1st party data via Soundboard—our proprietary panel of 75,000 of our listeners—to get real-time, first-hand responses from the consumers you are trying to reach. Fielded from April 10-15, 2020, this study asked listeners to share how they are finding consistency through reliability and establishing safety nets. And we found that it’s coming from their wallets, vehicles and by supporting others.

So, let’s dive in...

Straight to the Bank

Everyone is monitoring their wallets. We’ve all made the shift from spending on shopping and travel to only spending for essentials, saving the rest for an unforeseeable rainy day. People are using the funds they do have to buy groceries, stay up to date on bills and pay down credit.

Less than 1 in 10 Pandora listeners are considering opening additional lines of credit with new credit companies during this time.

As we pointed out in Part 2 of our series, technology is powering connection. And in the financial services industry, technology is also powering consistency. People have adapted to this shift over the last few years and now they are relying on it heavily to stay-up-to date on their assets.

9 in 10 Pandora listeners are comfortable relying on their bank’s digital and virtual resources during Covid-19 proving digital resources are the way of the future.

While some people watch their wallets, others see this as an opportunity to stay consistent with optimizing their portfolios, ensuring they are getting the best bang for their buck. Those of us who are on the hunt for a new card to swipe are searching for low/no fee (82%), cash back (73%) and lower interest rates (72%) opportunities.

The same goes for investigating new insurance options. Our listeners say if the incentives are worth it they will make the switch. Additionally, it’s important to note that younger generations and multicultural audiences are always the biggest hunters when it comes to incentives.

When asked, which of the following factors would make you consider switching insurance companies during a global crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, they answered:

  • 65% Lower rates - A18-24 - 113 Index
  • 40% Customer service quality - A18-24 - 135 Index, HA18+ - 114 Index, AA18+ - 111 Index
  • 32% Flexible payment options - A18-24 - 184 Index, A25-34 - 117 Index, HA18+ - 146 Index, AA18+ - 173 Index
  • 26% Pausing cancellation of coverage due to non-payment and expiration - A18-24 - 202 Index, A25-34 - 110 Index, HA18+ - 132 Index, AA18+ - 184 Index
  • 22% Personalized payment plans - A25-34 - 114 Index, HA18+ - 127 Index, AA18+ - 161 Index
  • 15% Advanced digital resources - A25-34 - 117 Index

Life in the Slow Lane

A reliable vehicle is a necessity. Although most of us may not be going anywhere (minus essential workers), we still jump in the car for the occasional grocery store visit or break from the kids. And with 35% of our listeners owning or leasing more than one or more cars, keeping up with payments to ensure they have a consistent mode of transportation is paramount.

84% of our listeners who are auto owners say COVID-19 will not cause a change in their payment plan.

As the days, weeks and months continue to fly by, cars will continue to depreciate and consumers will be on a quest for new car options.

4 in 10 of our listeners said they would consider taking advantage of significant incentives to purchase or lease a new vehicle right now with Males (112) and Hispanics (122) over indexing.

Additionally, listeners with a HHI 36% more likely to purchase or lease a new vehicle if HHI is >$200K.

Small Business with a Big Heart

No matter the size, the location or the type, all small businesses are feeling the hit as a result of COVID-19.

83% of our listeners who are also small business owners specifically say that their business has been impacted.

Now is the time for all of us who are able to show up as loyal customers and consistently support small and medium sized businesses in our neck of the woods. Thanks to the power of technology, our listeners have found innovative ways to provide support virtually as well.

  • 69% have been supporting local small businesses by ordering from them online during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 81% of A18+ with HHI > $200K are likely to shop online, HHI > $200K – 118 Index
  • 79% of A18+ with HHI > $100K are likely to shop online, HHI > $100K – 114 Index
  • 73% of A18+ with HHI $50K-$100K are likely to shop online, HHI $50K-$100K – 107 Index

And across the board, our listeners plan to continue this trend. When asked if they plan to continue supporting local small businesses more than they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, across all age brackets they said yes!

  • 72% - A18+
  • 64% - A18-24
  • 72% - A25-34
  • 74% - A35-54
  • 72% - A55+

The Power of Sound

In a recent article, experts stated how important it is to maintain your pre-covid routines or even establish a new one to not only help with your mental health but also as a way to feel some form of certainty as we navigate this new normal. So whether that’s daily workouts, establishing solid work hours or finding some zen via weekly meditations, consistency has always been and continues to be key.

Which is where sound comes in as the backbone of your new routine.

Sound has always been the soundtrack to our day: it’s what wakes us up, powers our activities, and what we fall asleep to. And right now, it’s what holds us accountable, reminding us that we do have the strength to adapt and that in the end, we will prevail.

So, what does all of this mean for you, and how should you take action?

Listen. Listeners are begging for consistency and are looking to brands to help them gain it back. Understanding what types of incentives are most important to consumers and communicating what is available will help them gain the control they are desperately seeking.

Explore. Brands should align messaging and use this as an opportunity to connect with existing customers to create a stronger loyalty by showing them all of the different resources you have to offer.

Activate. Sound will always be the backbone to our lives. Powering our days and helping us maintain our routines. Brands should tap into the power of sound through an audio strategy ensuring that no impression goes to waste.

Recently, after a particularly hard day at work I was on a search for something that would uplift my spirit. So in a quest for some relief, I did what a lot of Americans are doing right now - I turned to Netflix. While watching Becoming by Michelle Obama, I was instantly struck by something she said about returning to her former life before she became First Lady. “Getting back on track doesn’t exist. It’s a whole new track. Everything is different.”

Even though she was speaking about her personal journey, that insight applies here as well. Once covid is over and we return to work, to traveling, to life as we knew it, things will be different. There’s no going back, there’s only going forward. And that is also true when it comes to defining what consistency means in all of our lives.

As marketers, we will lean in—identifying ways to always listen to consumers, explore ways to stay connected and activate strategies that encourage them to take action. And while the future may be unknown, finding comfort, connection and consistency is the first phase of finding our new normal.

That’s it! I hope you have enjoyed this mini-series exploring the next phase of this journey we are all on. If you are in search of more information on the ever-evolving landscape and the impact on consumers, advertisers and creators please poke around SoundCheck or reach out to your sales rep.

Source: Pandora Soundboard, COVID-19 Verticals Study, (N=2,860), April 2020