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Spark Series: Essentials, Redefined

AdSpark Team - 3 years ago

As a follow up to our “Great Reset Whitepaper”, which looked at how the Filipinos changed as the result of 2020’s long-standing lockdown. AdSpark decided to take a deeper dive at key changes in Filipino consumer behavior through Spark Series, a 5 part webinar tackling key shifts in Pinoy consumerism. 


Co-presented with Globe Business, we began with the series with the topic of essentials. Have essentials changed after the pandemic? What can your brand do to adapt to the redefinition of essentials? 





The pilot webinar was opened by Martin Sarmenta, AdSpark’s Strategic Planning Team lead. 


Martin posed the question, how do you know if your product/service is essential today? “A very useful step is to break down the question into two categories. Ask yourself, is your product needed, and is it urgent?” Said Martin. Placing this on a grid makes it easier to understand how you’ll play.


Urgency necessity grid


One example he noted was Laptops. While laptops were categorized as being necessary throughout the lockdown period, there was growth for its urgency. This was based on research AdSpark did with online chatter and consumption during the period. The key driver? “The biggest factor we were seeing was the onset of online classes during this period,” said Martin. Based on consumption data we saw that people were trying to build their school or office at home, and they were investing in the hardware to do so.


Another example Martin mentioned was a change of consumer treatment over Face Masks, disinfecting alcohol, and PPE’s. “What was decreasing was not the necessity but the sense of urgency,” said Martin. The decrease in urgency is due to an increase of supply vs at the start of the lockdown. Filipinos now know where to get their PPE and while necessary it’s no longer urgent, noted Martin.


Mentions over face masks, disinfecting alcohol, and PPE’s had a sharp decrease over time. This is an indicator that Filipinos no longer deem this key product as urgent unlike at the start of the lockdown.


Consumption over topics surrounding Health Essentials, like face masks, disinfecting alcohol, and PPE’s have been trending down (as indicated by the blue color). This shows that Filipinos are less interested in reading about these topics vs the start of the lockdown. 


Martin concluded that based on where you are on the urgency-necessity grid, the recommendations vary. What’s key is to look at your product and service first and identify where you are at this point in time. He noted that the rate of change is quite fast and brands need to listen to their consumers to find out where they are in this grid, then have the agility to react accordingly.


Based on AdSpark’s research, Laptops are currently on the orange quadrant. PPE’s have moved to the dark blue quadrant. Other notable examples would be travel and tourism which is currently on the light blue quadrant, and Gaming which is at the pink quadrant. 




The webinar also featured industry experts from different fields offering different points of view about essentials. Dennis Perez, Unilever’s Media Director shared his point of view.


How do we generate demand for what we feel that isn’t urgent?” was a question posed by Dennis. An example he gave was Knorr Kitchen Nomad, a campaign that allows consumers to travel through home cooked recipes. This created demand for the premium variants of Knorr, which isn’t necessarily urgent.


Dennis also touched on the evolving role the home is playing on the Filipino family. “Our home is now our universe” said Dennis. Filipinos, usually have strong relationships with our nuclear family. Given the lockdown, we’re rediscovering this. One key example he gave was purchase behavior of their food products, like Knorr and Lady’s Choice. “These have been working very well, since the best way to bond with your family is food. “Mom’s now feel pressured to cook 3x a day.” said Dennis. He also shared that Ice Cream take-home sizes are doing very well. 

Dennis ended with his views on Gen Z and millennials. “When the pandemic happened there’s an expectation from Gen Z and millennials for brands to become a force for good. Brands are expected to fight the negativity of the world in 2020.” 




Another guest speaker we had was Barbie Dapul, Vice President and head of Globe Telecom’s Broadband Marketing Division, who shared her point of view about connectivity’s role as a key essential. 


“Essentials used to be shelter, rest, food. Essential now is how do I bring the world home.” said Barbie. “The challenge for brands: think about the demand and need, how can you recreate that demand digitally?” 


She also stressed upon the key role that connectivity plays for all Filipinos. “Connectivity is life, home internet connection is important for all eco segments.” said Barbie. Connectivity is a lifestyle enabler. People do everything at home. For the emerging market, the internet is an opportunity to get some extra income. A lot of side jobs, and small businesses trying to earn extra income for the emerging class. Even the youth are looking for ways to earn extra income, to help their parents.


Barbie ended with the topic of digital transformation. “We’ve been talking about digital transformation for 10 years. Now we don’t have a choice”, said Barbie. With this shift to digital, we have a role to play. How do we hand-hold our customers? Not everyone is tech-savvy. To address that she shared Globe’s World @ Home, which is a platform for Filipinos to know more about how to best use the internet to earn, learn, and be entertained all at the comfort and safety of their home. 




Our final guest speaker was Rosemarie Bosch-Ong, current Senior Executive Vice President and Chief operating officer of Wilcon Depot, who shared her views on retail as well as home improvement and it’s changing view as an essential. 


Rose began with the new role of the home for Filipinos. “People are seeing the home as their safe haven during this pandemic”, said Rose. After months of lockdowns the home has become the center for everything, and people wanted to renovate. “The priority now for Filipinos is keeping your family safe and healthy. Which means making your home a comfortable and sustainable place to live in” said Rose. 


She also shared the big changes they were seeing in stores at Wilcon. “Prior to the lockdown sanitizers and alcohol was not a core product, but now is surging in terms of demand” said Rose. She also shared how it was the baby boomers that were the top demographic prior to COVID. But given the restrictions this changed drastically. “E-commerce wasn’t a priority before since our products were high-touch, people wanted to feel and experience the product in stores. Since they are building homes they want it to be sturdy”, said Rose. She shared how Wilcon adapted to their change in store visitors. “We adapted by making it easier for the younger demographic, allowing them to browse the store online, for easier fulfillment in stores after.” It was a safety mechanic as well—virtual tour on FB messenger reduces your time in-store, giving you an idea on what you want before entering the store.



For more information about Spark Series contact us at info@adspark.ph 


AdSpark Team

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