Value should be the #1 priority for CPG brands hoping for a swift recovery post-COVID.
The global pandemic has presented brands with a terrific opportunity to either step up or die in the eyes of their customers.
The successful ones have responded by either, serving communities in purposeful ways; likes of Louis Vuitton and AB InBev shifting production to manufacturing hand sanitisers and Gillette donating free razors to health workers, or, showing their value through light relief and entertainment; surely after months at home, we have all attempted the Pret A Manger cookie recipe and KFC copycat fried chicken (before Nando’s reminded us Finger Lickin’ wasn’t so good at this time).
While the power of purpose at times of crisis undoubtedly holds weight when it comes to brand love and masterbrand equity – the unique experience of isolation and locality we have experienced during the COVID crisis has presented brands with an opportunity to show the value they can bring to their customers on an individual and personal basis within the home
Unsurprisingly, according to the 2020 Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands published at the end of June, the tech giants – Microsoft, Google, TikTok, Spotify and likes of Amazon, which have served us so well at home dominated top rankings – representing over a third (37%) of brand value in the Top 100 and growing overall by 10%.
But it is not just the power brands that have found a way to show the value they can bring to consumers’ lives.
You would have needed to be shielding in a cave not to have noticed the proliferation of #selfcare trends flooding social channels. The #lockdownlook has heralded an ‘in-home’ grooming revolution according to Grooming Guru, Lee Kynaston and Google searches for DIY beauty treatments had more than quadrupled between, March and April 2020 vs. 2019, with the top ten searches featuring Home Hair Cut, Home Hair Dye, Home Hair Mask and Face Mask to name a few.
With people turning to social media to upskill and access online tutorials and each other for tips, tricks, and advice, everyday CPG brands have found their moment to serve consumers beyond a functional product benefit.
Helping customers to feel good and put their best face forward during these difficult times has helped to secure a legacy for everyday brands that will live well beyond lockdown. The knowledge and confidence they have given customers is so much more than just an array of innovative new hairstyles and will stay with them forever.
Take personal care; a category now heralded as the new hero, it formerly consisted of commoditised utility products purchased mainly based on price. As it evolves into a diverse segment with an array of sophisticated specialised offerings for many different and specific consumer groups, it is reaping great benefit.
The lasting change defined as the trend for Homexperience will give an array of brands adding value to people’s lives within the home the opportunity to define their competitive advantage based on a value proposition that is multi-level.
A shampoo brand wanting to prove it is worth paying more for needs to recognise that home is the new spa and dial-up the fact it is made with natural ingredients, has fully sustainable packaging, and provides a multi-sensory aromatherapy experience while also delivering on the hair benefit it has promised. Brands able to do this will show they are more resilient and less volatile despite the crisis.
The sweet spot is the meeting of heart and mind and showing how your brand is meeting consumers’ needs beyond the practical – here are some guiding principles to help support brand recovery in a post-COVID world:
- Serve your customers, do not keep selling – put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think beyond the product benefit, how else can you serve them to make life a little better at this time? Even a cleaning brand has the exponential potential to make you feel good if you tap into the feeling of satisfaction a fresh scented clean kitchen brings
- Prove your worth – During times of uncertainty and financial stress, people turn to the comfort of familiar brands and place value ahead of getting the lowest price. Whether it is through innovation, action or advertising, brands need to reassure their customers that they have made the right choice
- Do not ignore people’s feelings; put yourself in their shoes – when you think about how people feel you quickly fall into thinking about how you can help them. Ultimately this is how your brand can improve its relevance at a time of need
- Think digital-first – COVID has propelled a new digital era and there is no going back. Brands have been using more online services to bridge the physical gap between their consumers and this has triggered a significant shift in consumers’ receptivity to engaging with brands across digital channels.
- Remember, a disruption creates opportunity as well as threat – be in touch with your customer and understand how their needs are changing. This will help you assess how to build competitive advantage in the future. Your strategy will almost certainly need to change to adapt to the seismic shifts we have experienced at this time.