Marketing planning for the big bounce back
By Richard Burrage - Managing Director of Cimigo, an independent Asian market research and consulting firm.
Start marketing planning now to stay ahead of the big bounce back. The pandemic has forced changes in consumer behaviour. Life will not return to normal, a new normal will evolve with new habits and rituals. Consumer mindsets and behaviours have changed, some will be temporary but others will become permanent. These changes will need to be rapidly understood and your product, price, positioning and channel will need to be adjusted. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help.
6 minute read
Richard is the Managing Director of Cimigo, an independent Asian market research and consulting firm. He has a 25-year career researching, teaching and testing consumer behaviour in Asia. He has counselled clients on consumer behaviour, response and the bounce back through significant shocks in Asia; the Asian Financial crisis, SARs, the global financial crisis and the Swine flu. Richard and the Cimigo team are well-positioned to help guide you through these turbulent times.
Now is the time to begin planning for the bounce back after this pandemic. A pandemic which is happening at a far greater global scale and economic impact than any recent crisis; the Asian Financial crisis, SARs, the global financial crisis and the Swine flu.
Life will not return to normal, a new normal will evolve with new habits and rituals whilst the collective memory of lockdown, anxiety for loved ones and financial insecurity abounds. There will be constant reminders in the new restraints impacting our lives.
Social norms will change in who, when and how we greet, bars and restaurants will have restrictions on customers (far fewer than available seats), gyms customers will be allocated shifts to maintain social distance and schools with have new restrictions on class sizes, sports days and many smaller assemblies.
Public environments will see their footfall return very slowly and gradually. The idea that because we have all been cooped up and will dash out and start a revenge spending spree is a fantasy.
Consumer mindsets and behaviours have changed, some will be temporary but others will become permanent. These changes will need to be rapidly understood and your product, price, positioning and channel will need to be adjusted. Get in touch to discuss how to get your commercial plans prepared so that you are ready for the bounce back.
Say less and do more
Telling customers that you there for them through difficult times is rather disingenuous and often outright irritating. No one needs to be reminded that these are tough times. It is far better to say less and do more. Do more by supporting your staff and then your customers. Staff must come first if you expect to deliver a great customer experience.
Those organisations with resources (financial, skills or time) can go beyond and provide support to the community. These actions will build far more loyalty than disingenuous communications, which seek sales under the pretence of empathy.
Imagine the mindset of your consumer; bored, anxious, financially insecure, stressed by children (or children stressed by tension at home and uncertain school futures). Many will be wishing they could regress into the safety of the countryside, quieter lives, connecting with and comforting close family and friends.
At this time your consumer will be most receptive to messages which are;
- Reassuring, supportive and comforting.
- Reflect on all we can show gratitude and awe towards (even small and simple moments).
- Highlight belonging and recognition by uniting neighbourhoods, communities and the nation.
- Forward looking to better days ahead.
At this time communications should seek to;
- Be uplifting and positive.
- Be entertaining.
- Be humorous.
- Be inspiring.
- Do not draw on nor remind us of the pandemic.
Consumer confidence will have hit new lows, businesses will have faltered, jobs lost and incomes reduce. Many sectors will remain distressed, especially tourism, the airline and the leisure industry. Disposable incomes will have been severely impacted and uncertainly will reign at the forefront of consumer minds. Spending beyond necessities will remain suspended. Greater value will be sought across household expenditure;
- Consumers will trade down their brand choices to save money.
- Consumers will shop more frequently but in smaller quantities. They will seek to conserve cash in their pockets. Cash outlay will trump price sensitivity. A minority of affluent consumers will seek value in bulk, multi-serve and large pack purchases.
- Consumers will seek lower-cost channels.
- Consumers will pay greater attention to promotions.
- Consumers will seek innovation in small treats, rewards and indulgences that can provide comfort.
Some of the temporary behaviour changes forced upon us by the pandemic will be permanently game-changing. We will all have found new ways of working, socialising, entertaining, shopping, minimising travel costs, being thrifty, staying fit and eating well.
Expect shopping channels to shift as people have experienced new channels, seek to avoid crowds, air conditioning and even touching doors. High traffic environments will be avoided by some for a time, including the mall and the wet market. Streetside neighbourhood stores may be preferred over chrome handled air-conditioned convenience stores. These changes may be sustained for six months and perhaps will never fully return to pre-pandemic norms.
Supermarkets will have experienced highs and lows as shoppers re-adjust their levels of stock at home, ultimately supermarkets are likely to be net gainers, at the expense of wet markets and smaller (confined) convenience stores.
Shopping behaviour at malls will have shifted to online shopping, trips will become less frequent for most shoppers. Malls will need to ramp up consumer experiences, even more, to bring footfall back. Many consumers will have experienced the convenience of online shopping and have built trust in the channel accelerating the growth of online platforms.