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How have things changed - or not changed?

Photo of a woman swimming in New Zealand

Everyone wants to know what’s changed, but fewer are asking what hasn’t changed.

Organisations are thirsty for the secret sauce that will predict which of the lockdown behaviours and attitudes will revert to their previous state in the post-Covid era and which will be forever changed. 

MindSets bring together four dimensions that make up our mental operating system.

If you’re in the retail business it is clearly useful to know if levels of online shopping will stay high or fall back as shops become desirable places to be again. That won’t help you understand what messages your audience are open to, what tastes they have or what beliefs or ambitions they hold that you can leverage.

So perhaps you might think that looking at attitudes could be more useful. However, whereas behaviour is at least real, observable and has some stability, attitudes are not at all stable. Attitudes will have fluctuated during lockdown, but they can also can change during the course of a day and are highly susceptible to context. Furthermore, they are very poor indicators of behaviour. Behaviour influences attitudes, rather than the other way round. Enforced home cooking changed attitudes to food and healthy/unhealthy eating. Complete an attitude test after a trip to your favourite restaurant and your attitudes would look very different.

We live in an age where demographic differences are slight compared to previous eras. Life stage undoubtedly impacts some of the specific products you buy – only parents buy food aimed at children – but not all products and services nor the brands you identify with. These days, age is not much of an indicator of tastes, passions, beliefs or motivations because these emerge from a blend of nature and nurture. Personality affects our mindset as does parental influence – both what they tell us and how they behave. We acquire a personal narrative about the world and the metaphors we subsequently live by.

Did a major shift lead to change in MindSet?

That's why instead of demographics, at TRA we look at people’s MindSet™. MindSets brings together four dimensions that make up our mental operating system. How those components combine characterises our overarching MindSet. We size these MindSet segments and profile them across a range of behavioural topics from tech adoption to charitable giving, from climate change actions to money management and so on. 

The pandemic has been a seismic shift in people’s lives. Because it required a societal level response, we wondered if it had been of such significance that it may have changed people’s world view. Would some segments have migrated, would people have re-oriented this fundamental mental model?

It was with some trepidation that we explored our MindSet segments before and after Covid. MindSets measure people’s underlying mental operating model – it’s like their personal DNA that determines the lens through which they see the world and so influences their beliefs and motivations. We know that motivations are a strong driver of behaviour.

We can see that the MindSet segments have not budged.

Having analysed the results of thousands of survey questions before, during, and post lockdown and now in the recovery phase, we can see that the MindSet segments have not budged. No segment has changed by more than 1%. Besides confirming that these segments reflect a deeply ingrained and stable mental operating model, we are able to apply them with confidence to the work that we are doing supporting New Zealand companies to recover and reboot our economy.

If you know the prevailing MindSet of your audience, you can talk to them in a way they will relate to, about topics that will resonate, with products and services that reflect their tastes and in a tone that acknowledges that you get them. People warm to brands they identify with and we all identify with people like ourselves.

Get our New Zealand MindSets infographic here:

Colleen Ryan
Partner at TRA
Colleen has a curious and strategic mindset fueled by 40 years of experience in business across Europe, North America and APAC countries. With a fascination and deep understanding of what it is to be human, specifically applying principles from cultural sociology, social psychology, behavioural science, and cultural analysis, she brings breakthrough insights to brand strategy, creative development and customer centricity.

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