Written by on . Pegasus.

Racing back to normal or ready to make a change for the better?

Emma Marie Lea questions whether a return to normal is really what we need.

Getting back to “normal” feels like a bit of race to the finish line. But as I sit here, still working from home, small people tactfully waiting to negotiate snacks during my next Zoom call and my cat constantly circling around my feet, I can’t help but think we are far from crossing that finish line. Normal remains an abstract concept to many of us right now, so whilst we are still in that mindset, let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves whether normal is right in the first place, and why are we racing to get it back? 

One brand that has inspired me to question normal is Durex. Its latest advert lays bare everything that is currently wrong with sex, from shaming women who carry condoms to the staggering levels of avoidable STIs. It argues that we should not go back to normal, it’s not good enough. Instead, Durex lobbies for a change; for better, safer sex for everyone. 

Understanding what’s behind our own ‘normal’ often requires careful consideration. The COM-B behavioural model we use at Pegasus to inform our strategic planning tells us that behaviour is made up of three parts; capability, opportunity and motivation. Each of these needs to be in place for a behaviour to happen and equally any barriers to these will prevent a change in behaviour. We would normally look towards intervention techniques to overcome these barriers. But the first step towards change is to identify both current and desired behaviour.  

The pandemic has meant many of us have finally had some time to pause and reflect, to re-evaluate what is important to us as individuals and businesses. This creates the beginnings of real shifts in attitudes and beliefs, and what’s more, it also leaves us primed for change. 

Durex hasn’t wasted any time in challenging the societal norms that would usually create barriers to opportunity and motivation and therefore the desired behavioural change. It provides inspiration for any brand, regardless of sector to do the same.

Think about the way your audience behaves – is there anything wrong with that version of normal? If not your audience, what about your category, your competitors and the way business operates? If normal isn’t good enough, you could take the lead and be the catalyst for change. Resistance in the past shouldn’t be an excuse to dismiss the opportunity we have now when those barriers to change may no longer exist.

So when you write your 2021 campaign brief, do away with normal and ask, what change does your industry need to make for the better?

Emma Marie Lea is a Strategist in our Digital, Strategy and Insights team