Anxious consumers buy

It was a 'horrible' news report that sent my anxiety levels sky high. A story on a tragic LPG cylinder leak that culminated in an explosion took the life of a li'l boy and had his parents badly burnt.

At home, our immediate reaction was to take a look at our own LPG cylinder usage. We replaced the old tubes used on the cylinder and the one at the stove, and changed our earlier practices of usage. We now ensure the stop-levers in and out of the house (connecting to the stove and cylinder) are shut when the stove's not in use. Plus, more importantly, we shut the valve on the cylinder, again when not in use.

Its interesting to note that anxiety levels rocket when consumers are exposed to contexts they can relate to, more so when it involves a product/brand they own or use. For example, if there's a media report on a brand of car that one owns, its more probable the owner reads it as compared to a non-owner. If one travels everyday to work, an accident on the road you travel on becomes important enough for you to seek more details. An LPG cylinder explosion, and we check our own usage practices and effect necessary changes.

Heightened levels of anxiety among consumers pose what can be termed as a 'ripe' opportunity. For a sale or an up-sale. Here's how. A death or disease in the family may remind you of your own mortality. Should you be approached by a Life Insurance agent around this time (hopefully after the mourning's over), the chances you pick a policy is extremely high. Read a story on a car crash caused by worn out tyres, chances you think about replacing your car's tyres is pretty high. Should a dealer get in touch at such times, you'd me more than willing to go with his recommendation of a brand of tyres.

Now I know it isn't easy to know when consumers are being subject to heightened levels of anxiety, at least on an individual basis. But its possible to generalise that anxiety should there be a mass communique (read, media report) that you believe can spread that anxiety around. In such cases, capitalise and communicate your brand as a solution. The chances of a sale will surely be high.

Read the report on how two Indian brands tapped into flu anxiety with immunity claims in their communiques.


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