A Customer-First Mindset During COVID-19

by Kayla Siegmeier Cheetah Digital

Cheetah Digital explores why we should be spending our time in lockdown connecting with consumers.

Only 24 per cent of consumers trust that brands are looking out for them when making business decisions during COVID-19. Are you?

As marketers, it’s difficult coping with the unknown. We pride ourselves on understanding the needs of our customers, making decisions based on data, and always knowing what our next move will be. As we work through this time of uncharted territory, it’s paramount that we stand together as a community with the single goal of providing the best possible experience for consumers around the globe. That’s why at Cheetah Digital, we are shifting our focus, speaking with the experts, and reading through all of the insights being published to provide you with an arsenal of the best insights and ideas, so you can spend more time connecting with your consumers.

As you read through these learnings, remember COVID-19 has completely changed the consumer mindset. Just as marketers feel in a tailspin, consumers are facing uncertainty, and struggling with feelings of disconnection and distrust, not to mention dealing with abrupt changes in lifestyle. As a brand, this is your opportunity to ensure everything you say and do is centered around your consumers’ well-being, and not just your brand’s financial gains. By putting your consumers first, you’ll find true advocacy on the other side.

Our favourite insights

We’ve gathered the most valuable insights into a few bullets. If there are only a few sentences you have time to read today, make it these:

  • It’s time to stop marketing like it’s business as usual. Don’t focus on the same revenue metrics you normally do, and instead focus on ensuring your brand’s perception is a positive one that consumers will turn to long after the crisis has ended.
  • Be empathetic. It’s time to tone down the advertising. Advertisers around the world are cancelling their ads, including KFC, Hershey’s, and the obvious — Corona. People are in a panic, unable to find enough essentials to get them through what would be even a typical week, so to see an ad of a happy guy or girl dancing to the store to get jeans is not what they want or even need.
  • Support consumers. This may seem obvious, but this goes beyond letting your everyday customers know you’re there for them. It means letting go of the focus on your bottom line. If there’s a glaring hole being left in the needs of the public that you can solve, take a leap. Brands like Peloton saw the mass amounts of gym-goers who are no longer able to follow their regular workout routine, so they have opened up their previous gated content for public consumption. Burger King recognised the impact of schools shutting down, and how this could leave families struggling to feed their children, so they are offering free kids’ meals.
  • Bring the world together. No, we are not saying to ignore the CDC, please stay home. Now’s the time to take our digital smarts and branch out. Build an online community. Our favourite example so far is Chipotle’s virtual lunch. They’re bringing Chipotle lovers together on Zoom while delivering their lunch for free! Libraries are putting together virtual story hours for kids, and zoos are even letting you do virtual breakfasts with sloths —  yes, we researched this and it’s real.
  • If you don’t have agile marketing in place already, get to it. To form an agile marketing process, you need to focus on two key areas. The first is your brand perception and your consumers’ needs. Keep your consumers as the guiding star of your message and your brand’s perception will always follow. The second focus area is on cross functional collaboration. Make sure every department that could possibly interact with your consumers is on the same page.

So, while we are facing the unknown, it doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared.