In the eye of the storm created by Covid-19 when the impact was being really felt by brands and was putting pay to so many brand’s best laid plans with the imposition of lockdown, we set about finding a way forward for our clients.
Acknowledging the societal, human and economic challenges, we developed a scenario planning solution that hinged on truths which would remain steadfast in the pursuit of brand growth and consumer relevance in times of trouble. Allowing them to plan forward.
We hosted an event to share this approach in an effort to answer how can brands could move forward with confidence and develop a calendar for success in the face of the evolving challenges; from tighter marketing budgets and altered retail behaviours to new consumer expectations and their shifting relationships with the brands they buy and love.
We drew on insights from leading brand-side marketers in a discussion on how they were proceeding, and how the pandemic opened up fresh opportunities for progress. See our event partners below.
The session explored what brands could do right now, how insight-driven scenario planning can help navigate brand through an uncertain future, and how brands can develop and use the power of their brand with one goal in mind – business growth.
Here are the top 8 provocations from the event:
A revolution in processes and progress?
Though COVID has inarguably influenced the way which business operate, we should focus on the positive impact. Faster responses streamlined processes and an appetite for collaboration during these ‘crisis’ periods could lead to future alliances to help take on the bigger challenges in brands’ categories.
Brand in crisis or a chance to re-establish relevance?
FMCG mainstays hit by lack of availability, impulse brands becoming victims of shifting consumer habits, and highstreet retailers usurped by online challengers – it’s a turbulent time for brands. They can either accept this ‘fate’ or reflect on their core brand offering and communicate this with consumers to strengthen their emotional connection.
What’s the real focus of your business?
When the going is good, we take the way that our businesses operate as a given, with less incentive to challenge the status quo. When times are tougher, we become more introspective, giving us the opportunity to see where our brands’ strengths really are. Can your brand unlock new revenue streams and engage new consumers by getting some clear perspective on what your real brand and product magic is?
Has ‘certainty’ made us complacent?
By their nature, certainty and predictability feel like more comfortable places for our brands to be. However, when we experience retail, consumer and cultural shifts such as those caused by COVID, our concrete plans begin to unravel. We should therefore consider ‘scenario’ planning, giving us clear options and ways forward which can bring success whatever challenges may arise.
Have you kept up with your consumers?
As marketers we take pride in, understanding our consumers’ shopping habits and building rich personas. Despite the almost universal immediate impact of COVID, it would be wrong to generalise about how it affects the way consumers think and behave. The threat to health, the influence of financial uncertainty and lockdown rules are all variables which we must factor in when we consider the impact on consumers.
Is product breadth a strength or hinderance?
Whilst domination of shelf and extensive product range would normally be a source of brand strength, challenges with distribution and mission shopping has made their ‘long tail’ a nuisance. The task for marketers is to ruthlessly focus on which products are the source of strength and profit for their brands, and to concentrate their efforts here.
What’s your real brand magic?
We’ve seen many well-intentioned brand missteps through 2020, from misinformed responses to COVID, uncharacteristic brand comms and feeble ‘we get you’ messages. Rather than being malicious, they simply show that when you don’t truly understand the essence or personality of your brand,
Are your channels still working for you?
With grocery.com and online D2C brands growing rapidly, brands must interrogate the role and choice of each channel to see how they’re working. For some brands it would be a false-dawn to shift from their physical retail heartland where growth will soon return. For others offering ecommerce, making social and digital lead-driving channels rather than awareness-driving could be an efficient route to success.
Our event partners
Director of Channel CommsBritvic
DirectorThe K Consultancy
Marketing & Ecommerce DirectorUnion Hand-Roasted Coffee