COVID-19 is a once-in-a-lifetime health and economic disaster, which will permanently change the way people work and live. The effects on the consumer goods industry will be profound and lasting; we will not be going back to the world we knew. This crisis is fundamentally changing how and what consumers buy and is accelerating immense structural changes in the consumer goods industry.
Now is the time to heed this unprecedented wake-up call to be agile and relevant to consumers and customers—not just during the crisis, but also in the future. Consumer buyer values are already shifting to products and experiences which are more healthy, trustworthy, environmentally sensitive, and more supportive of the communities in which they live and work.
New risks and opportunities in consumer goods
Near-term, consumer goods companies will need to continually flex with rapidly changing conditions and begin building the structure and capabilities to face a volatile future.
To understand the key actions consumer goods companies, need to take immediately, answer these three questions:
WHAT are the key drivers of change – and what are the lasting and pervasive effects?
How are health and economic conditions changing?
What are consumers’ immediate needs – and what permanent changes are occurring?
How are your value chain partners impacted – and what does this mean for your future ecosystem?
WHO do you need to be connected with – both internally and across the ecosystem? Companies need to consider the full set of stakeholders and influencers.
HOW do you respond to today’s crisis while also preparing your organization to reset and renew your business? Focusing on just one area is not enough. You need to be clear on your positioning across all 10 core action areas.
The COVID-19 crisis has created a shift in priorities for consumer goods businesses. There are actions to take now to respond and sustain the core business, next to reset the relationship with stakeholders, and finally to renew and scale in a future marked by growth and resilience.
NOW: How to respond to the current crisis
Stand up cross-functional command center with KPI tracking
Reshape marketing plan around new demand and brand purpose
NEXT: how to reset our relationships and ways of working
Build deeper understanding of new demand spaces & paths to purchase prioritizing accelerated e-Commerce sales (B2B/D2C)
Reallocate and repurpose resources (e.g. field salesforce)
Enable the shift in product portfolio by flexible (3rd party) manufacturing & logistics
FINALLY: How to renew ourselves to the new era
Accelerate move to intelligent data driven operating model (to support new business model)
Reprioritize enterprise investment plans for post COVID era
Scan market for M&A opportunities
This is a challenging time for the consumer goods industry as COVID-19 accelerates the pace of change. While no one can predict how long the crisis will last, it is imperative that leaders act now while also preparing for the future.