Most people we talk with lately are longing for ways of connecting during the pandemic, amid ongoing isolation.
During an interview recently one of our respondents poignantly described the impact these last few months has had on her personally, and on her relationship with her father:
The situation exposed to me that I didn’t prioritize making connections with friends and family as I should have. I was more caught up in being busy, and I honestly feel like everybody was. This slowed me down and makes me realize that’s actually a priority that needs to be number one.
Because of this pandemic my dad has not been working. And so he’s had more time, and it has allowed for us to have longer conversations, more in-depth conversations, conversations in which we were able to understand each other a lot better. And I think that’s going to remain a consistent, or so I hope after this is over.
Striving for a sense of connection is one of the key components in human motivation. It may be increasing as a priority as we feel its absence. Connection is a key force with many nuances — it can include a sense of belonging, feeling close to family and friends and a range of other important ideas. The question is, for how long will this priority of connection have heightened importance? Will people change their long-term behavior as a result of how they’ve assessed their priorities for connecting during the pandemic?
Technology as a Connector
We’re already seeing some companies embrace the idea of connection as a communications strategy. Marketers have long centered on the idea of connection and belonging, typically in the beer, soda and food categories. It’s clear that technology has been the vehicle most enhancing connection during the pandemic, as these ads depict: Facebook’s We’re Never Lost if We Can Find Each Other and T-Mobile Connection for 55+ Customers.
Personally I can attest to the power of technology helping with connecting during the pandemic. My 95-year-old father has been isolated in his nursing home in Oregon since March. Thank goodness the home has not had one case of COVID-19 because of their thoughtful, strict procedures. However, it’s been hard on the residents and my twin sister who used to visit him every day. Recently, on June 25, 2020, she was able to visit him for the first time in 3 ½ months. She made a surprise call to me via FaceTime. My dad was introduced to the wonders of technology, and I got to talk with him and tell him my oldest daughter is pregnant with her first child. (Sorry for the blurry screenshot below. It was the best I could capture!) It meant the world to all of us.
We believe that, moving forward, a wider range of communicators will find the idea of connection to be a more important element in what they do and say.
We’re doing research now to identify if and how the pandemic will alter what is most important to Americans. We’ll share results and insights in the next couple of months. We are already hearing that people are more attuned to the importance connection plays in their life, and that they want to continue to make connecting with others a priority as we move beyond this pandemic.
As for me, I’m looking forward to seeing my dad (and twin sister!) again, in person.