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Courtnie Hallendy

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‘Tis the Season for Change

Posted by Courtnie Hallendy

Mon, Nov 16, 2020

Holiday Season Fin Serv Blog Opener

Impact of Shifting and Alternative Payment Options

The leaves are turning, the temps are cooling (I’ve already had the first snowfall of the year), and I’m about to replace the Halloween candy with Holiday cookies! While the shelves are filling with the familiar touchstones of the holidays, for most of us this will be a very different holiday season.

All year we have been watching and analyzing the impact of 2020 on consumer behavior trends. Some changes, born from the pandemic, seem to have some longevity to them – online grocery shopping and delivery, reduced travel, shifting spending habits among credit cards (especially those whose rewards focus on travel), and increased usage in alternative payment methods. With the possibility of another round of shutdowns, household budgets are tighter than ever. The question is, what do these shifts mean for the next few months of consumer behavior?

2020 Holiday Shopper Anxiety Micrographic

This holiday season I am most interested in two, closely linked, consumer habits: increased online shopping, and changing payment methods. Way back in April of 2020, CMB looked at consumer sentiment and behaviors related to COVID. Though we were just at the beginning of our new normal, 42% of consumers said they were doing more online shopping and 52% said that they plan to continue this after normal returns. Factoring in anxiety around in-store shopping as we enter prime retail sales time, we should look at how payment methods have changed in 2020.

Fin Serv Season for Change Blog Nov 2020 Activities

Like many Americans, since March, I am spending less overall, at different places, and with different payment decision criteria (debit vs. credit and which credit card). For example, in my house most non-household bills went on the one credit card that gave us airline miles. We love to travel, so this just made sense. Well, I don’t see that trip to Spain happening in the next 8 months, so I evaluated credit cards that provided rewards relevant to my current normal and ended up with a new card…Amazon! Now, this is my go-to card, that replaced my airline card and then some… I am putting everything on it – groceries, cell phone bills, vet bills, etc. I am in the group of consumers that are shifting their top of wallet decision criteria and expanding usage to take advantage of rewards that are relevant to me.

For others (especially Gen Z) who don’t have, use, or want a credit card, we are seeing a shift to alternative payment methods. Our own research from late 2019 showed that PayPal had an advantage over the other brands we tested, but this was before most large credit card issuers introduced their own versions of alternative financing.

Fin Serv Season for Change Blog Nov 2020

We have seen an increase in reported shifts away from credit cards and cash to debit or alternative financing options like Affirm or PayPal – especially among those in the lower household income ranges and younger consumers. The CMB Financial Services team is working with clients to understand what this means for their business, what products they should be marketing, and what, if any, partnerships they should be leveraging. The consumer data is supporting what we all know to be true in our own households – our decision criteria is different now than it was before. The decision of what and when to purchase, but also the decision on how to pay for it.

Now is the time when consumers are making their holiday shopping plans. Now is the time to get the voice of the customer to drive the late Q4 strategy. How are they going to make their gift purchases (or the materials they need for the next great Pinterest inspiration)? How are they going to pay for things? A deep understanding of consumer behavior and motivations will help guide us towards the right questions to ask and create meaningful, pandemic-resistant, consumer-centric business strategies.


Courtnie Hallendy

Courtnie Hallendy is an Account Director at CMB, with more than 15 years of experience in market research on both the client and vendor sides of the business.

Follow CMB on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Topics: financial services research, consumer insights, Market research, BrandFx, COVID-19, Emotional Benefits, financial services

Leading 2020 in Mind, Body & Soul

Posted by Courtnie Hallendy

Fri, Oct 09, 2020

Chase Womens Leadership Day 2020 Blog OpenerFor me, 2020 has really solidified the importance of slowing down and listening to yourself – your mind, body, and soul – to be the best possible leader that you can. This was a resounding message throughout JPMorgan Chase’s Women’s Leadership Day—an annual event to fuel female ambition and advance financial equality for all.

Missed it? We got you, girl (and supporters of girls everywhere)!

INVESTMENT

  • Mentorship: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State and a woman who represents the art of possibility to so many (well said, Thasunda Brown Duckett), spoke a lot about creating a legacy—not for yourself, but for others. Be the first so that others can be the second, and the third, and so on. It’s cause for celebration, in spite of the external and internal pressures you feel. Mentorship is a vehicle to carry this legacy, and it starts with building a genuine relationship. Personally, I have two or three trusted mentors in my life and those relationships were cultivated and have evolved over the course of my career. As Dr. Rice says, mentorship must be earned, gradually and organically in order to reach a place you can encourage each other to be twice as good, and twice as confident. It starts with small steps.

WLD_Rice

  • Spread the Wealth: Sharing our wealth of knowledge includes finances. Janet Alvarez, Personal Finance Expert for the Ascent, emphasized the importance of social connection to empower and educate our community, which as we know, is a particularly important driver for young investors. Start with your #GirlTribe! Use a portion of your zoom book club or virtual wine night to share budget strategies, and investment lessons. Recently, I’ve been sharing with any friend that will listen how the advancements in financial services technology have made making and managing finances so easy.

#POWERHER

  • Power of the Consumer Voice: From trusting your inner voice to lifting the voice of your consumer, humanity is in everything we do. Adrienne Stewart-Gorgon, Co-Owner of Pound Cake Society, shared how her company changed its business model to meet the needs of their community (i.e. making face masks). In this journey, they heard from their newfound customers: vet clinicians, healthcare workers, and their families. In feeling their love, concern, and gratitude, Adrienne felt compelled to share their beautiful stories across the organization to keep them going, from her vendors to volunteers.
  • Rock the Vote: Speaking of beautiful stories (and beautiful voices!), LaTosha Brown, Co-Founder of Black Votes Matter, shined a light on just one of the strong women who’ve empowered her: her grandmother. Her grandmother, a woman denied the right to vote herself, brought LaTosha to the voting booths, instilling in her the “power of the sister vote.” She reminded us that women have always been at the forefront of transformative times in our nation’s history, and we mustn’t forget that. Dr. Rice affirmed this when she challenged the dismay and burnout that many Americans feel. To Dr. Rice, the only way to honor the generations before us, and they progress they made, is to do the work because democracy is hard work. We should be optimistic because the opportunities for further progress have been identified, and we’re building a roadmap forward.

WLD_Brown

HOPE

  • The Essence of Transformation: LaTosha posed the question “What is your radical reimagination of the future?” and “What’s your role in that transformation?” For Mindy Grossman, President & CEO of Weight Watchers (WW) her role is to galvanize hope so that her organization, and its people, can emerge stronger than ever—a message shared by Armin Molavi back in May. Amid disruption, brands must focus on what’s right for their consumer to ensure progress is made in a way that’s authentic, and just. This sentiment was echoed by Ginni Rometty, Executive Chairman at IBM, who urged organizations to recognize their obligation and power to solve the issues we face, and to do so by leading from their core purpose.

All in all, I hope you don’t feel alone in the stresses and anxieties you feel. Because our matter [body] matters, we must view the health of our mind, body, and soul as essential to helping the health and wellbeing of others, as women so often help to manage. Whether that means taking an extra-long shower because it’s the only place you can find some peace and quiet or having a daily dance break (sorry not sorry!), bring joy to your life and #POWERHER.


Courtnie HallendyCourtnie Hallendy is an Account Director at CMB, with more than 15 years of experience in market research on both the client and vendor sides of the business.

Follow CMB on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Topics: storytelling, conference recap, growth and innovation, professional development, COVID-19

What is the Next Normal & How To Plan For It?

Posted by Courtnie Hallendy

Wed, Apr 22, 2020

Think about this…is your “normal” household (i.e. the one you remember from February) going to be changed, in some way shape and form, by what we are going through right now? If your household is like mine, the answer is probably yes. For example, do I think my husband will continue to get excited about making dinner? No. But do I think that the way we shop for food will be different for some time? Absolutely. This got me thinking about incidence and impact…how many consumers are going to be impacted (both foreseeable now and not), and to what degree?

Honestly, I don’t know, which is especially unnerving for someone who gathered consumer sentiment and helped inform business strategies for Toyota Financial Services during the financial crisis and a massive product recall – both impacting millions of people. After the initial shock of those unique situations wore off, we realized that we quickly needed a plan. We needed to know what was going on, what could potentially happen in the future, how does this impact our brand equity, and what do we need to do to come out just as strong, if not stronger. I’m not saying that those two incidents are anything like our current crisis, but I do think that the need for a plan is just as strong. Right now, we don’t know what is next, but that doesn’t mean that we can't be learning all we can to help our businesses during and after this crisis.

After listening to my colleague Lori Vellucci, VP of Financial Services, and Mack Turner, a Global Insights & Innovation leader, discuss insights from the second wave of our COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker in “Navigating the Next Normal”, I started to chart out what we need to be looking at (and looking for) to wrap our heads around this.

OUR VALUES

The current crisis is different than any I have been through in large part because of the cause. Health. Global health, health of our communities, and health of individuals. We are inundated with messaging about being in this together and getting through this together. The call for collective values to align is something that will likely impact consumers, to some degree, forever. Our sentiment tracker data shows that in a three-week time period, people express an increased concern for the health of their family and communities, while concerns for their own health is unchanged.

COVID Wave 2 Next Blog Slide 11

Mack and Lori talked a bit about this data point in the discussion and I agree that this is an indicator that people are thinking more about others than themselves. So, how does this factor into our plans? What do we, as an organization, need to think about (or change) in how we build and communicate our products and services?

To answer those questions, our plan needs to look at how shifts in values impact our brand, products, and/or services. I had a discussion last week with a client that touched on this – when can we include non-COVID messaging in our advertising and communications? How will people perceive us when/if we do? What are the things we need to focus on in future communications? This is not something we can get the answer to immediately - it may be quite some time before we really know the degree to which things have changed. This is where is it important for us to include monitoring of these shifts in our plan and insights.

OUR BEHAVIORS

Building off changes in consumer values, our plan should include information on how consumer behaviors changed. If we agree that values, to some degree, will be forever changed then it is safe to believe that behaviors will as well. Said in marketing research terms: how are my customer’s journey and consideration set impacted?

Let’s take the example above about community health. We are already seeing behavioral shifts to demonstrate this through face masks. But, how long and for how many will this continue to be part of their decision process? If I were in the retail or dining industries, I would want to know what behaviors, related to masks, people expect within my establishment.

Another part of the plan would be to understand how things that I “have” to do now may impact how I consider doing things in the future. In the discussion, Lori and Mack talk about grocery delivery, but another related example is online shopping. 42% say they are doing more than before and about half plan to continue to do this more when life goes back to normal.

COVID Wave 2 Next Blog Slide 17

A behavior shift like this doesn’t just impact big box store traffic or Amazon shopping. Consider for a moment a small business located in the nearest downtown to you. If you are the small business, then forecasting a decrease in foot traffic will be important in future planning. If you count small businesses as customers of yours (financial services or telecommunications, for example), then what will they need from you to adapt to this shift?

WHAT'S NEXT?

Many businesses are going to continue being impacted by this global pandemic. Our consumers’ forced behaviors should be part of your plan to deliver on their evolved needs. Consider how your goods/services align with their shifts in values and behaviors; are some of these shifts only temporary? What if they are not?

Mack brings up the example of a shift to online app usage for financial services. These “new” customers to the app may have different needs or expectations from our previous customers. The values and behavioral data informing the plan should provide the business with the information needed to address this. Let’s not forget, though, we will need to understand internal data as well. How does the increase in usage impact other areas of the business (call centers, online agent chats, etc.)?

Navigating Next Normal Quote - Customers

These are challenging, frustrating, and uncertain times, to be sure. That said, I am looking forward to helping my clients plan for the next normal. Consumer behaviors, psychology, and motivators have always interested me and that is why I went into this field. So…what’s next?


Courtnie HallendyCourtnie Hallendy is an Account Director at CMB, with more than 15 years of experience in market research on both the client and vendor sides of the business.

For more insights, please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Topics: strategy consulting, marketing strategy, Consumer Pulse, market strategy and segmentation, COVID-19, consumer sentiment