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How marketers can help consumers unwilling to accept home ‘imperfections’

A 'shed' reimagined via u/thompsonwoodworks in r/woodworking

Homeowners increasingly consider their properties as creative canvases, rather than just houses, according to the latest data on Reddit's community conversations. Could the trend be a way for marketers to make inroads by helping them create in adventurous and sustainable ways?

Having drained the wells of Netflix and Amazon Prime, many Americans have begun making their own fun, by redesigning their boardgames. Using foam core and cardboard, Reddit users have begun documenting the creation of new pieces, rulebooks and card holders. The turn towards craft has seen many taken on bigger, more ambitious projects, too – moving up from many-sided dice to their dwellings.

New data from Reddit, charting trending topics and subjects being discussed on the site, suggests a new obsession with home improvement. Overall, the design interest group grew 27% last week – while crafting subreddit r/foamcore saw a 1,000% spike earlier in the month. This and other data “clearly capture that both imperfections and seeking their solutions has become magnified,” says Reddit’s head of partner insights and research, Dan Gould.

But according to Reddit’s Head of Creative Strategy, Will Cady, this is not a negative: “We’re at a place in quarantine where the walls are no longer closing in, they are opening up. It’s a huge opportunity for marketers because they don’t need to wedge their brands and products into tight spaces in our lives, these spaces are wide open.“

Reinvention of the home space runs the gamut from discussions of beautiful, functional design (should we bring back conversation pits?) to woodworking (which saw a 117% increase in interest), to the aforementioned tabletop gaming redesigns.

Larger trends like backyard reinvention, home office expansion and kitchen enhancements are accelerating. “There is a new canvas for marketers to think about the products that are functional and feel good within the home,” says Cady. “That’s a place to focus.”

The power of frugality and function

It’s no secret that people are watching their dollars as they wait and watch how the economy shakes out. So, it may not be surprising that r/frugal saw a 200% increase in views last week. The 1.3-million-member community focuses on nearly every aspect of resource allocation, from time to money and convenience.

But the interesting insight from this group isn’t about how cheap they are. Rather, it’s about how thoughtful and creative they have become. There are life hacks like using a napkin holder as a laptop stand, but there is also a larger trend of sustainability. A strong example being how people are making plant pots from old yogurt containers.

Brands have a unique chance to “parachute in at the intersection of function, frugality and the desire perfecting the home”, says Cady. “There is a huge opportunity for consumer-packaged goods brands to participate in the process of reinventing the home in a sustainable way. For example, presenting your packaging in a way that supports home gardening could be very clever. There’s room for leadership in this space.”

From a creativity standpoint, he also cites Oscar Meyers’ socially distant front yard BBQ campaign as an early pandemic win. “Marketers can bring an idea and win some affinity from contributing to the creative process of reinventing the home,” says Cady.

Overall, this continues to be a transitional moment for consumers. We’ve moved from homesteading,cocooning and the early creation of quarantine spaces “to an expansion moment,” adds Gould. “We are far beyond the hunkering down/snow day mentality.”

In fact, Redditors are beginning to prognosticate with an eye toward a permanently altered future. Case in point: discussion about four day work weeks and universal basic income, trended last week. “People are thinking about what they can do in a positive way,” Cady says. “There is a full reset happening and they are trying to envision new, inspiring visions of the future.”

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