EXPERTS PROFFER SOLUTIONS ON BUSINESS OPERATION IN PANDEMIC
Global provider of consumer research, insights and analyses, Nielsen, has advised economies in rebound stage to reinstate marketing investment, adapt messaging/tone relevance to alter circumstances, and engage where audiences have migrated.
According to them, for brands in rebooting economy stage, there is a need to repair relationships based on purpose and meaning, hone communication around reassurance and caring brands in reinvent state, and reposition to win back disillusioned consumers and communicate changes/improvements in conducts.
At a recent webinar, tagged; “Shifting Nigerian Landscape Amid COVID-19,” Nielsen said an average global consumer is today displaying different attitudes to consumption and purchase pattern as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has upended various sectors.
This is largely informed by the pandemic implications on businesses and wallet, and the need for consumers to stay safe by staying at home. It is therefore important for companies to understand these shifts in different product and service categories to enable their distribution planning, segment targeting, and effective marketing strategies.
Speaking on what the future outlook and how companies can navigate through the changing scenarios, Executive Director, Global Intelligence and Thought Leadership, Nielsen Global Markets, Ailsa Wingfield, urged companies to reconsider and plan how to solve and adapt to future dynamic conditions propped by COVID-19.
Wingfield added that the ‘Rebound, Reboot and Re-invent’ tools that condition consumer behaviours require different business strategies, noting that to rebound, reboot or reinvent depends on the severity of the effect of the pandemic, and the strategies applied by business managers and the government.
She said partial impact will enable economic rebound, exacerbated consequences will cause economies to reboot, while intense shocks will cause reinvention in affected markets. For countries to advance, she said governments need to assist with multi-dimensional and complex strategies as well as balance and assume economic activities to contain the virus and save lives. Speaking also during the webinar, the Managing Director, Nielsen Nigeria, Ged Nooy, agreed that the pandemic came not just with disruptions for industries and businesses, but also challenges and opportunities.
He noted that COVID-19 has impacted countries around the world, and consumers have been forced to change their behaviours, and there is unlikely to be any major solutions in the short term.
“As FMCG manufacturers and retailers reflect, rebuild and reconsider the orientation of their businesses and brands for the future, they will need to predicate their ecosystems and strategies upon a deep understanding of what economies and consumers have endured, and how they will emerge,” Nooy further said.
According to him, Nielsen has looked at emerging scenarios over the next 18 months, including accelerated conditions where the pandemic continues to spread, and requires accelerated response. It also looked at a mixed environment where the virus becomes manageable and certain conditions are lifted to rebuild the economy; where the virus naturally dies out; and finally, where vaccines are found, but doubtful if this is likely in the short term.
He predicted that there will be conditions and innovations based on the mixed scenarios, as consumers are increasingly concerned about the virus and catching it, with businesses and organisations readjusting as consumers’ attitude change.
The Consumer Insights Lead, West Africa, Abiodun Olawale-Cole, explained that as a consumer research company, Nielsen can help organisations understand the shifts and plan their marketing strategies as consumer preferences have been altered. For instance, the webinar revealed that 75% of Nigerians were very concerned about their families, while 47% believe that the pandemic will intensify before being controlled.
Olawale-Cole said due to the pandemic, Nielsen research showed that more Nigerians (57%) are eating at home, even as a lower percentage are visiting malls and using public transport system. According to Nielsen, more shopping habits will become entrenched, as 70% of Nigerians reduced shopping in supermarkets, and 29% increased online shopping for food.