It can be difficult to imagine a life post-COVID-19, but those conversations are already happening — and with good reason.
As part of the CGT and RIS Curb the Panic series, senior editor Alarice Rajagopal invited members of the consumer goods and retail media sectors to share their insight on ways to navigate the current health crisis from a business perspective, now and in the future.
Moderated by Doug Rammel, a former tech exec in healthcare and sporting goods and now a venture capitalist in healthcare, technology, CPG and retail, the video roundtable included Steve Sigrist, VP, customer service and customer supply chain of Newell Brands, and John Terrana, executive VP, media solutions of VaynerMedia.
The group shared the methods and progress their teams had made in adjusting to the new world of remote working, which has required that they stay nimble and “people-first.”
As many Newell Brands’ retail partners have temporarily closed their distribution centers, the company — which includes such consumer goods brands as Coleman, Calphalon, Rubbermaid and Sharpie — has focused on supporting their efforts to move to their store-branded e-commerce channels.
“Agility and flexibility are buzzwords, but you have to move beyond buzzwords and really put it into action because you win or lose every single day in this tough, challenging environment right now by your ability to execute. … We have to be authentic with [our customers] on what we can pull off and what we can’t.”
Noted Sigrist: “One of the things you’ve got to do … and is becoming a stronger area of interest is scenario planning. I don’t think any of us have a crystal ball going forward. It’s going to look different, but how well equipped is your team to understand or account for the variety of scenarios to take place? What are the different consequences? And what are the different response strategies to get ready for this?”
For Terrana, his digital agency has been shifting media budgets for its consumer goods clients in order to properly react to the changes in consumer behavior, as well as be mindful of appropriate messaging during this time.
While this expectedly has translated into focusing more heavily on DTC and e-commerce growth, the company’s clients are simultaneously planning for a future in which they’ll need to reignite their brick-and-mortar customer base.
“Expecting 100% of consumers to come back three months later is a total overreach,” said Terrana. “We’re starting to have interesting conversations about what this looks like post-COVID to reignite your core customer base.”
Expect companies to work more closely, more collaboratively, and with more planning as they move forward, noted Sigrist, who perhaps put it best when he succinctly said: “There’s a new tomorrow coming, and it’s going to look different.”
Watch the full video interview to learn more about the shifts taking place, how companies can plan for a new landscape, and how they can work with their retail partners.