Post Covid-19 – Equip, Adapt & Thrive
Initially depicted as a short term epidemic, the Covid-19 pandemic spread and is causing an unprecedented health, economic and social global crisis.
Forced changes in habits created opportunities and new trends on the digital marketing side on which you can leverage to take the most out of the crisis.
Glance on Consumer changes.
Shift in behaviors in Asia
- In Asia, 48% buy more personal hygiene products: +45% buy more health and nutritional products and +40% more home cleaning products. The focus on essential purchases is linked to the fact that 75-95% of people in APAC expected Covid-19 to impact their personal / household finances beginning of April, +10% on average compared to March 20th.
- We also observed an increase of online activities:
- +32% increase in online shopping activities across all Asia markets,
- +42% increase in home streaming
- Between 29% and 53% browse on Facebook more often across Asia
- Between 19% and 36% browse on Instagram more often
Global tips for businesses
They may sound obvious, but we believe it is worth keeping them in mind:
- Zig when they zag: While competitors stop spending in communication, sustain your relationship with your customers to support their engagement, they will remember it
- Moderate your cuts: While you need to continue to save costs, don’t cut so deep that when recovery begins, you are lacking resources to grow again
- Get to re-discover your customers: Your customer base may have changed and you may have potential new customers to target.
- Consider addressing differently your customers according to their expectations (emphasize values) and to shifts in behaviors (consider new touchpoints to increase your reach).
- Consider analyzing your customer base again: you may see new types of customers showing interest for your brand.
Forget about the usual launch playbook; instead, tap into real-time consumer intent and follow the users’ lead with tools like Search trends.
The Hive Bulk Foods – Products highlights (pic below): Since more users are cooking at home, we pushed for ingredients for home cooking and snacks to introduce users to a low barrier to entry zero waste organic ingredients for users to try. After we introduced this, we experienced a +684% increase in ROAS vs other products and campaigns.
Key Consumer Trends.
While many countries are on their way towards the end of lockdowns, businesses need to bear in mind new trends in customer mindsets and in digital behaviors. On average it takes 66 days to form a habit – the crisis is already beyond this average.
If some of these trends were already emerging before the crisis and have amplified since, other new trends started to appear during and because of the crisis.
We can’t predict for sure what is going to happen in terms of changes, but the ones we listed below are worth noticing and following closely.
Changes in mindset that are likely to last – the 3 C’s
- Cautious: Consumers spend more cautiously: they prioritize products/services that promise well-being and that provide safety and security of use and expect brands to do the same.
- Community: They also expect brands to enhance community support, just like they are doing as individuals. Posts and interactions linked with the sense of support and community exploded on Facebook and Instagram since the beginning of March 2020.
- Control: They need brands to show they are in control of their supply chain, quality controls and customer service in order to be convinced as a customer.
Changes in digital behaviors that are likely to last
- Online live and virtual reality content is booming while people are under lockdown; this is likely to remain widely consumed afterwards.
- Brand collaborations with influencers or with other brands are increasing strongly with efficiency, encouraged by Social Media Platforms that are implementing tools to support this new trend,
- Though multi-screening is not a new trend, it is enhanced since the beginning of the crisis. In terms of device, mobile is by far the preferred secondary device, with more than 75% of second-screening done via mobile (more than +20 points in 5 years). Simultaneously, the time spent per device has also continued to increase as well.
- Silver generation, or Baby boomers, had to change their habits and adapt to digital devices. They are now more inclined to use digital devices and services: more than 30% of them declared spending more time on apps, social media and messaging apps since the beginning of April. With a steady increase in the proportion of 65+ citizens in South-East Asia, this is a customer segment not to neglect. Adapt to their needs with clear & easy steps and tutorial/support..
Learn more about current strategies to navigate through the Covid-19 crisis here.
Now that we have successfully braced the worst of the Covid-19 impact, the economy is finally starting to recover. Having said this, it’s also important to note that there is still a lot of uncertainty in the air and focusing on market recovery plans over the next couple of weeks are key to the revival of each and every business.
The Initial Revival in the Short Term
When it comes to Market Recovery Planning, the first step is to always keep your existing user base (fans & customers) informed on the latest developments. This is the lowest hanging fruit because keeping them informed that business has now resumed will produce a quick spike in performances from the segments of users who either have pent-up demand or were about to convert in early April but had not done so due to the uncertainty of Covid-19.
The best practice to inform your full client base that business has resumed would be to take an omni-channel approach by pushing this announcement through all of your communication channels inclusive of your:
This should occur as soon as business resumes as the sooner you get your customers updated, the sooner they come back. Updating your Callout Ad Extensions on Google along with your Google My Business information could help on this front too.
Peugeot Malaysia – Book a test drive for after MCO (pic below): Since users were not able to book test drives since they could not visit the showroom and may be concerned about health and sanitization issues. We adapted our copies to ensure that their safety is top priority and emphasized the sanitization process to mitigate the likelihood of spreading the virus. After we made the changes, we experienced a -46% decrease in Cost per Lead across the board between 2nd half of April and 1st half of May.
Solidifying your Digital Operations for the Mid-Long Term
Once the business continuity announcements have gone up, the next step would be to focus on better understanding the evolution of consumer needs & sentiment within your specific industries. For many, one of the main changes brands would observe is a surge in online activity from their offline user bases that had never transacted online for various reasons. Looking deeper into this segment, some of the most common digital concerns are:
- Product-related Inquiries
- Covid-19 Business Interruption Concerns
- Concerns on the final product not meeting expectations (as they have only seen pictures of the product online)
- Delivery & fulfillment Concerns
- Limited Digital Payment Methods
- Availability of The Products/Services Online
After these concerns have been fully scoped out, we can then address them and begin to plan out your market adaptation strategies in order for your brand to make a full recovery in the current market climate. Some of the best practices would be to focus on:
- Enhancing your product descriptions in order to reduce common product related inquiries.
- Updating your FAQ section on your page to include any Covid-19 related concerns & also emphasize that Business has resumed.
- Considering more flexible Return / Refund & Cancellation policies to address purchasing concerns or even market uncertainty (as seen in the travel industry)
- Layering on multiple/preferred delivery options to improve fulfilment (such as introducing multiple delivery partners or an ‘express delivery’ option) to address delivery concerns.
- Introducing additional payment methods on your site such as “Bank Transfers or E-Wallets” to make digital purchasing more accessible to those without credit cards.
- Setting up your membership program to convert these new customers into loyal repeat customers.
- Developing on-site chat capabilities in order for your new web visitors to address any further concerns in real time with a ‘virtual shop assistant’
Timing is quite essential here as you don’t want to be losing out to competitors, so address the most common concerns of your user base first before going down the list to fully address each and every concern. Of course, providing additional value-adds in the form of Promotions or Free Gifts with Purchases will help too; your customers will appreciate getting a special deal specifically due to the current market conditions.
Jumping back into the Growth Mindset with Digital
Getting back on track to hit your annual growth projections will be tough, but it isn’t impossible if the business manages to adapt successfully. With the majority of the Malaysian economy taking place online and given that most citizens have now acclimatized to the Digital ecosystem, Digital appears to be more than ever the most important channel to overcome the crisis.
Therefore, reconsidering Offline vs Online strategies over the next couple of weeks/months could play a vital role in catching up to your growth projections.
L’Occitane Malaysia and Singapore – tutorial for online shopping (pic below): A segment of retail users may not have experienced purchasing online from L’Occitane’s official website and are used to purchasing from their retail outlets which were closed during MCO. Although the retail stores have recently reopened, users may be reluctant to visit them during these uncertain times. We created a “How to Shop Online” tutorial video to educate existing L’Occitane retail users about the benefits of shopping online and how to do so. We experienced an uplift of ROAS by +115% compared to other campaigns. Have a look at the tutorial video in our article on this successful partnership.
- Review your Online vs Offline Media Budget splits, by allocating a heavier effort on Online channels in replacement of Offline channels and by scaling up your Online Media Budgets,
- in addition to your regular funnel strategies & custom audiences, continuously experiment with new acquisition audiences & interest groups as some of these audiences may perform quite well due to the recent changes in the economy’s digital behaviours.
We understand that all these changes may be overwhelming, but sincerely hope that this toolkit will help you navigate out of the crisis. Should you have any concerns or questions, our experts will be glad to help address them.