5 actions to determine next moves on product plans.

Vice President

Social distancing to prevent COVID-19 has abruptly shifted people’s lifestyles. Your brand may already be getting impacted by changes in customer behavior. This situation is undoubtedly causing your brand team to grapple with the question of whether to stay the course on product or service development or evolve to a new strategy. Here are actions you can take to help determine how much of a strategy change, if any, to make:

1. Assess if long-term needs have changed for your customers. 

While customer behaviors may change in the shorter-term, their underlying motivations for product usage often do not. Successful innovation solves for underserved needs over time, which will continue to be underserved in the wake of the crisis, as well as during recovery.

2. Evaluate the relevance of your messages for the current context.

Communication around new products or services may need to adapt to the current environment and continue indefinitely. We’ve already seen in the marketplace brands that have adjusted their messages to amplify trust, safety, and empathy. If your brand provides comfort or self-care benefits, emphasize how usage can help people through this challenging time.

Successful innovation solves for underserved needs over time, which will continue to be underserved in the wake of the crisis, as well as during recovery.”

3. Track if customers have changed purchase and behavior patterns.

If your brand is sold in essential retail outlets such as grocery stores and pharmacies, you may not experience major changes in customer purchase patterns. However, some customers may prefer delivery or pick-up using seamless digital transactions to protect themselves from COVID-19 transmission.

4. Adjust ecommerce strategy.

Consider enhancing your packaging and imagery online to make sure your brand’s key benefits stand out in this environment. If customers have moved to purchasing your primarily online, determine if you can create product extensions that reduce weight and the resulting shipping expenses. Or consider a bundling strategy so customers have the convenience of ordering two complementary products at once (e.g. shampoo and conditioner).

5. Check in with customer needs more often to stay relevant.

The COVID-19 situation is ever-evolving and it’s likely that shelter-in-place restrictions may be lifted in different ways and at different times across the country. Consider agile insights approaches to keep track of how customers behaviors and communication needs are changing. This will ensure your strategies around branding, messaging, distribution, and innovation will be effective for product growth during this situation and into the recovery period. Read how some of our clients are staying close to customers in Moving Brand Plans Forward During Social Distancing.

Want to discuss potential next moves for your brand during this time?

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