How to find your competitive advantage in times of change and uncertainty
One of the most important actions Beiersdorf Australia made in response to COVID-19 was to quickly deploy a customer sentiment tracker to understand how people are feeling and behaving during the pandemic. Two months later the international skincare company, which includes brands like NIVEA and Elastoplast, is reaping the rewards for its quick thinking.
“When COVID-19 hit traditional consumer engagement channels, media consumption habits, and values and priorities changed forever. We didn’t have a context for this 'new normal'. It was therefore very important for Beiersdorf to make sense of this new world by creating a baseline of changing customer behaviors and expectations, and then monitor how they change over time,” said Shameek Raj, Head of Data, Analytics & Insight - Brand & Media at Beiersdorf Australia.
Using Qualtrics CoreXM, Beiersdorf was able to launch a market sentiment tracker in less than a week, collecting feedback around consumers’ general mindset toward COVID-19, and how it was impacting their usage of skincare products. It also captured insights into spending priorities and media consumption. Insights from the sentiment tracker were combined with Beiersdorf’s ongoing brand tracker, built on Qualtrics BrandXM, to optimize the go-to-market strategies across its portfolio of brands.
“For a company like ours, changes to customer behaviors and priorities can have a significant impact. For example, in some instances working from home disrupts people’s morning routines where they would usually use our products. Others might be more price-savvy in the current economic climate. Combined insights from the sentiment and brand trackers told us what people wanted to see and the qualities they valued. This enabled us to go to market with offerings designed for the market’s immediate needs.
“Being able to understand in real-time how people are behaving and acting is essential right now. We’re able to react faster, and continually track sentiment to ensure we are going to market with a meaningful and engaging message,” said Raj.
Priming business for the “new normal”
Speed to regular insights is fundamental in our new reality and a big competitive advantage. It empowers businesses to provide customers with what they need, when they need it.
The importance of quick access to regular insights is echoed by Raj.
“Even before COVID-19 speed to insights is a challenge every FMCG brand faces. Using Qualtrics we are able to get timely access to insights. The ability to own the brand tracking platform on Qualtrics has been a game changer for Beiersdorf. It gives us the flexibility and ability to pivot what information we are collecting, which is helping us respond to the market.”
By tracking sentiment weekly, Beiersdorf has been able to stay ahead of the market by reacting faster, bringing out campaigns sooner, and capitalising on market opportunities.
“Being able to track how consumer perception changes weekly allows us to go to market with messaging and marketing that matters in the moment. We’ve been able to turn brand insights into live marketing campaigns in two weeks - it would previously have taken at least six. Things are changing so quickly right now the old way of analyzing brand data monthly is not enough,” said Raj.
Being able to rapidly understand how behaviors and attitudes have changed is empowering Beiersdorf to find its competitive advantage and increase its market share too.
“From the data collected we can see that while consumer habits haven’t changed, their priorities have. In these uncertain times we know people are more likely to be cautious about spending. These insights influence Beiersdorf’s go-to-market strategy, from the campaigns we take to market through to the messages we use.
“Business leaders now have the data they need at the right time to make decisions with confidence and knowledge, ensuring actions are based on fact rather than gut instinct,” said Raj.
Doing more with less
“If we didn’t have Qualtrics it would have taken us much longer and cost more money to get the insights we have now. Having in place the brand tracker provided Beiersdorf with the freedom and choice to quickly respond, which we were able to do in weeks,” said Raj.
The work done at Beiersdorf has put the business in a strong position to move forward in current markets.
“It’s good to know where you’re coming from. But it’s even better to have a sense of where you’re going. People are looking for brands they can trust right now, and with Qualtrics we have a lead indicator helping us make smart and fast decisions on the actions we need to take to make them feel this way,” concluded Raj.
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