In the last month or two, every business has been disrupted and forced to rethink whether and how they can and should meet consumer needs. Here are three key areas that consumer packaged goods companies should address: media investment, e-commerce, and content.

Reallocate Media Investments

  • Short term: Companies need to evaluate and adjust their media investments based on the mood and expectations of consumers. This includes minimizing Out-Of-Home to respect efforts to #StayHome (e.g., cinemas, airports, railways, radios), increasing digital (e.g., official media, short video, social, news, and info sites), and maintaining Over-The-Top and online video as people spend more time on TV and online.
  • Events: Large scale events have already been canceled or postponed, such as the Olympics (postponed to 2021). Prepare your contingency plan if you had originally planned media for large or small in-person events.
  • Scenario planning: The top agenda item for media spend this year should be scenario planning. This includes planning shifts to social, digital, mobile, and TV, and shifts away from OOH, print, cinema and sponsorship. Mid- to longer-term, think about what your media investment could and should look like once the crisis period is over and be ready to pull the trigger.

Accelerate e-commerce: The crisis has pushed consumers to shift their shopping habits online much sooner than they would have otherwise. And, even among regular online shoppers, it’s pushed consumers to purchase items online that they would normally have bought in-store. This shift to e-commerce may outlast the crisis period as a large wave of people becomes more comfortable with the online shopping experience.

  • Convenience: Products and services powered by digital channels provide maximum convenience and efficiency, both empirically and emotionally. 
  • Reallocate spend: Brands should consider reallocating spend towards digital advertising that facilitates the path to purchase, as opposed to brand building. For retailers to survive and succeed, a shift beyond the product to flawless and effortless omnichannel is increasingly necessary.
  • Facilitate #StayHome: Work with your partners to feature key brands on e-commerce channels. Work to facilitate home delivery and boost same-day delivery. Help consumers practice physical distancing and staying home by working with retail partners to deliver products to vulnerable and at-risk populations, e.g., key household items, OTC.

Prioritize Helpful Content: This crisis will pass. Though brands and customer experience may emerge differently than how they went in, consumers and customers will remember the brands and companies that built rapport and earned their trust. 

  • Maintain brand credibility: Prioritize public interest ads over sales promotions, product-driven communications, and awareness-building efforts.
  • Be helpful and informative: Brands should use their market position and prowess to be genuinely helpful and provide needed information. Messaging that is true to brand values and doesn’t feel opportunistic nor self-serving will leave a lasting, positive impression.
  • Reframe messaging and act: Brands don’t necessarily need to abandon their past messages but those messages may need to be reframed to address the new context. Messaging must be followed up with agility and action.
  • Create value: Rather than simply focusing on earnings, create value for consumers.