In this episode of The Negotiation we speak with Sarah Weyman, Chief Growth Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network China. We talk about how brands have been able to be successful coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic by reacting swiftly and acting empathetically. I ask Sarah how marketers are responding to the epidemic, the impact it’s had on their 2020 business plans, and how they are re-aligning in response to such an unprecedented situation. We also looked at how logistics and supply chain challenges are impacting marketers right now and in what verticals, as well as the resilience being shown by both marketers and consumers. We talk about the impact on mainstream brand equity, tracking across awareness, quality and reputation metrics, that the coronavirus has had. We also discuss the regulatory and policy landscape around marketing in China especially with regards to the Coronavirus and maintaining integrity so that products and services designed to help counter the pandemic are allowed to be front and center. Enjoy.
Today on The Negotiation, Todd speaks with Sarah Weyman, Chief Growth Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network. She discusses the impact of COVID-19 on Chinese businesses and the future of marketing as the whole world marches on towards the new normal.
The outbreak of Coronavirus at the beginning of 2020 fundamentally changed the business world. A few months into the pandemic, those who continue to not only stay afloat but thrive are those companies that, according to Sarah, are the most authentic. These are the brands that have managed to keep consumer needs at the forefront of their strategy moving forward.
Sarah names the sportswear brand Lululemon as an example of a brand who focused on its customers first since the outbreak. Seeing that people wanted to continue exercising even while staying indoors, Lululemon provided a list of trainers who livestreamed workouts. Another example is Microsoft who, not long after the outbreak, announced a package for Enterprise users that gives free access to Office for six months.
From a long-term perspective, “preference should not be presumed” when it comes to foreign brands in China. Being a western company used to be an advantage as such brands were usually associated with high-quality. This is no longer true since there is a greater diversity of choice in today’s market. Many modern brands in China are not only at the cutting edge of quality but are able to maintain that cutting edge due to the speed of their operations. To thrive in China today, any brand, local or foreign, must now match this speed.
Asked how companies should tackle the remainder of 2020 in the wake of now-outdated marketing plans and budgets, Sarah says that short-term action should include shifts in messaging and platform selection. Long-term, companies should closely monitor how consumer behavior continues to evolve in the following months, which means that CRMs will be more important than ever before. Also, eCommerce solutions—and social commerce in general—will undergo rapid developments throughout the year.
Food, beverage, and entertainment will see the fastest rebound once the dust settles because consumers will crave social interaction as soon as the new normal emerges. The travel industry will be one of the slowest to get back on track due to the massive losses that such companies are currently suffering. However, it is predicted that family destinations (Sarah cites Disneyland Shanghai as an example) will have the fastest rebound, also because of the aforementioned social factor.
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Despite being the world’s most potent economic area, Asia can be one of the most challenging regions to navigate and manage well for foreign brands. However, plenty of positive stories exist and more are emerging every day as brands start to see success in engaging and deploying appropriate market growth strategies – with the help of specialists.
The Negotiation is an interview show that showcases those hard-to-find success stories and chats with the incredible leaders behind them, teasing out the nuances and digging into the details that can make market growth in APAC a winning proposition.