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The Hierarchy and Marketing of Comfort

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Especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic and age of social unrest in the United States, there has been an increasing need for comfort, yet the idea of comfort is quite

Especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic and age of social unrest in the United States, there has been an increasing need for comfort, yet the idea of comfort is quite vague and rarely elaborated upon. To simplify the idea of comfort and communicate the ideas around it effectively, I am defining comfort as a subset of escapism in which a person escapes to reduce or alleviate feelings of grief or distress. As companies rush to comfort their customers in this current state of uncertainty, marketers are pressed to identify people’s insecurities and comfort them without coming off as insensitive or trite. Current comfort marketing focuses on inspiring nostalgia in its customers, having them recall previous positive experiences or feelings to comfort them. Nostalgic marketing techniques may ease mild grief in some cases, but using them to alleviate severe distress probably will not be as effective, and has contributed to several seemingly out-of-touch “COVID-19 era” commercials.<br/>When addressing comfort, marketers should understand the type and hierarchy of comfort that they are catering to. Not all comforts are equal, in that some comforts make us feel better than others and some do not comfort us at all. A better understanding of how and why comforts change among different individuals, and possibly being able to predict the comfort preference based on a product or service, will help marketers market their goods and services more effectively. By diversifying and specializing comfort marketing using this hierarchical method, marketers will be able to more significantly reach their customers during “uncertain times.”

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  • 2021-05