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11 May 2020 5 min read

Adapting products and services to stay relevant post-Covid

Caitlin Jones

Caitlin Jones
Senior Manager | Customer and digital | London

Swat Singh

Swat Singh
Senior Manager | Financial services | New York

A lot can happen in the space of a few weeks. The last time we talked about products and services was part of our twelve shifts series and the global pandemic was yet to be declared. Fast forward to today and we are seeing the economic impact of Covid-19 unfold. Government grants are keeping previously successful companies from going under. Friends, family and colleagues are all directly or indirectly affected. Life – and the way customers consume products and services – has been turned upside down. 

Many companies across all industries – but especially in retail and entertainment – have had to reevaluate and redesign their products and services at an unprecedented speed, just to stay relevant. When the lockdown removes footfall, or government restrictions make your offering more-or-less impossible to access, things have got to change, and fast. 

Pivot, pivot, pivot 

Like so many other companies, we have found ourselves having to do the same thing at Baringa: we have pivoted many of our ongoing client engagements to support them where it really matters, aligning our services with our client’s new needs. This hasn’t been – and still isn’t – easy but we have followed our own advice to get ourselves ready to provide a different type of support.  

Our rapid design approach includes quickly assessing and modifying existing, or creating new, products and services in order to effectively respond to the changing customer landscape, alongside accelerating time-to-market for these new or revised propositions. It applies to all companies that are offering a product or service and we’ve outlined some key advice below: 

Align  

  • Reconfirm your “why” and ensure your new value propositions are aligned to the brand. How might your brand play its part in supporting customers through this unprecedented period and beyond? 

  • Engage your internal stakeholders and free up the right people to get things moving. 

Understand 

  • Place a Covid-19 lens over your customers’ needs and flex your empathy muscle. How might you support vulnerable customers and essential workers?  

  • Re-evaluate existing customer personas and journeys against current goals and needs, understanding where changes are needed.  

Define 

  • Define the new experience. How might you create new value from existing capabilities and find new ways to deliver growth and drive retention? 

  • Consider digital channels, value ingestion offers, alternate payment methods and changes to your revenue model.  

Design 

  • Detail the design of your product or service and its new – often digital – touchpoints. How might you address the emotional and financial needs of customers and internal stakeholders, supporting them to shift to non-physical channels? 

  • Conduct rapid prototyping for new products and services: test, iterate and improve the new propositions. 

Embed 

  • Refresh your marketing assets and campaigns. How might you demonstrate that your company can support customers in these hard times? 

  • Ensure your frontline staff are up-to-speed and trained on the updated or new propositions.  

We’ve seen some amazing examples across the UK and US markets where brands have successfully pivoted their offerings and are rapidly wowing their customers across five main areas: 

  1. Digitising products and services. There are some great examples across both the fitness and entertainment industry. Classpass has enabled credits to be spent on virtual zoom classes at your usual studios. We’ve also been impressed by Bands In Town promoting live streams instead of gigs. 

  2. Augmenting physical experiences with digital. We’ve loved seeing some of our favorite restaurants available on Deliveroo and Seamless. Local estate agents have encouraged sellers to do virtual house viewings, and popular art galleries and museums are providing access to their galleries and exhibitions online, such as the Met 360 project.  

  3. Building ecosystems and new routes to market. This has been particularly important for the food industry where wholesalers now need to sell direct to consumer. German sausage retailer The Sausage Man has set up a dedicated online shop and removed their minimum order value. UK NHS workers are also being supported by WHSmith offering groceries in hospital shops and Tesco setting up a pop-up store at Nightingale hospital. 

  4. Pivoting to provide new products and services. There are some brilliant examples of companies leveraging their current capabilities and supply chain. San Francisco-based Origin has quickly shifted its resources from being a 3D printer manufacturer to becoming a medical device manufacturer to start production of much needed Covid-19 test kits. Burberry and other retailers are repurposing their supply chains to manufacture PPE for the government, while distilleries, such as Brewdog, have been producing hand sanitizer. 

  5. Offering products and services for free. Demonstrating they’re true partners (and earning some serious customer loyalty in the process), companies are now offering some products and services for free. Nike dropped the subscription fee for its NTC Premium service, the National Theatre is using YouTube to host a production each week and there are a wealth of companies supporting our UK’s NHS, such as Allbirds where all NHS staff can claim a free pair of their shoes. In the US, Verizon Fios are providing premium channels like HBO and Showtime to their existing customers for free. Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is offering diabetes patients free insulin for 90 days if they have lost health insurance coverage as a result of Covid-19.

There has never been a greater need to be agile and to adjust your products and services to the new normal.

We would welcome the opportunity to help you solve your Covid-19 challenges using our rapid service design approach. Please get in touch with Caitlin Jones or Swat Singh for more information.