PICA #113

A lifequake forces us to review our habits and choices.


Lifequakes are where great opportunities lie for savvy brands.

A lifequake is a significant event that forces us to change, reevaluate our habits and reflect on different circumstances to make new choices. The recent pandemic is a universal example; I think most people can identify at least one permanent change it made in their lives. Mercifully, events like that are rare but there are a great many personally significant events that are catalysts for behaviour change and they can be important for brands.

A lifequake has three acts: before the event life is simplified by practised routines and preferences that we automatically and effortlessly follow; when the event occurs we are stressed by the added cognitive load of figuring out what still works and what doesn’t in the new context; finally, we establish a new normal with specific automatic routines and preferences.

Provoking behaviour change in a period of individual stasis is very hard for a marketer. It is far easier to introduce a new behaviour in a period of change. So I suggest looking for common types of lifequake that create circumstances that are favourable to your brand. Experiment with search keywords connected with that moment and create specific landing pages with a brand proposition tailored to the event. Making your brand easily discoverable and relevant during a lifequake means reaching people at a receptive moment and, for your brand, a valuable moment when they are about to create new habits and preferences.

Lifequakes can also work against your brand, of course. If you are the habitual preference before the event then it is you who is at risk from change. Try war-gaming a lifequake defence, you might be able to survive the quake. The key is identifying lifequakes that are most relevant to your brand. Remember, some life-changing events are negative and happen to us but many are positive and it is we that make them happen.
It’s impossible to predict when a seismic event will affect our own lives but as marketers, we can know that every day a certain type of event will occur for a certain number of people. Being there for them with a thoughtful solution can reap great rewards.