Editor's note: Carly Fink is president, head of research and strategy at research firm Provoke Insights. 

Back in the “good old days,” there was no internet and the number of TV channels that you could watch was limited. Brands could be easily seen and heard with smart messaging and a strong media plan. However, the invention of the internet and widespread technology has changed the way people consume media and purchase products. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively accelerated the rate of technology adoption. Americans are relying on working and shopping from home. As a result, people are using technology more than ever and the usage of work software has skyrocketed. 

As a result of this increased online usage and technology adoption, consumers’ media consumption has evolved further. This behavior modification impacts how advertising drives brand equity. Brands now must have a strong online presence throughout every stage of the consumer purchase journey. 

Brands must analyze the current purchase journey of the service or product to make sure that it reflects this high online media consumption. It is no longer a simple task to understand what drives awareness, conversion and, ultimately, loyalty. Brands need to determine if they reflect their consumers’ digital behaviors as well as any offline tendencies that have remained or may reemerge post-pandemic. Therefore, the consumer journey needs to be reevaluated and brands need to understand consumers’ use of online shopping/e-commerce and in-store shopping, etc.

So, how can market research capture these changes? How can research determine market potential, the optimal marketing mix and the success of current advertising initiatives? Are there any behaviors that customers are currently doing that are not known by the brand? Has a new audience emerged due to the pandemic?

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to consumers’ ch...