China began the COVID-19 crisis earlier than the rest of the world and is now starting to edge its way back to a new normality of existence. As the volume of new infections has tailed off and approached zero towards the end of March, our colleagues at Dentsu Aegis Network China have been tracking the public’s changes in behaviour and attitudes. The data they have gathered presents an opportunity for the UK to learn from the experience of others and as brand owners, plan for our progress through the coming months.
In Lessons from China, we look at three main areas which document the journey that Chinese brands and consumers took throughout the life-altering epidemic and the opportunities it presented.
The Marketing Director's view in China
We surveyed Marketing Directors to understand their perspective at the height of the acceleration in infections. With past experiences of national epidemics, the majority of brands were aware of how bad this could become with proactive steps already in place, looking at the smart use of technology to stay connected with consumers.
Adjusting to the ‘New Normal’
As work slowly resumed in China, there have been clear signs of the emergence of a ‘new normal’. Travel and tourism have remained disrupted due to quarantine periods both internationally and domestically. But Chinese consumers have shown remarkable resilience with a surge of users seeking authoritative sources, whilst using self-quarantine periods as a time for self-improvement.
Emerging from the Darkness
After more than a month of restricted living, consumers are looking forward to resuming more active lives and a sense of normality; with a great anticipation for shopping and meals out. With the process of emergence in full force, this brings a desire to prepare and protect with a greater focus on insurance and financial planning. Brands have continued to produce simpler experiences for consumers, with supermarkets providing a simpler online shopping experience and many sectors retaining ‘cloud living’ experiences moving forward.
Looking at how COVID-19 has impacted everyday life in China, it becomes clear that there will be opportunities for different brands at different stages over the coming months. So... what can we learn from it in the UK and how do we plan?