NCS

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New York, NY 10017

FAQ

NCS COVID-19 CLIENT FAQ

March 31, 2020

Q: IS NCS FULLY OPERATIONAL? CAN I EXPECT TO SEE MY DELIVERABLES ON TIME?

In mid-March NCSolutions’ teams all transitioned successfully to working remotely to protect the well-being of their staff; this transition was completed without any disruption to their normal collection and measurement of sales data.

Our team has the remote support infrastructure in place to ensure delivery of your projects will not be interrupted.

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM MY NCS TEAM DURING THIS TIME?

As always, NCS consulting teams are here to help you make decisions about how to make the most of your advertising spend in today’s environment.

NCS client-facing teams have been working to create brand-focused scorecards that look at trends in category-level data. Advertisers can use these resources to make sense of consumer shopping patterns today.  Additionally, publisher and TV clients will find the scorecards valuable for answering advertiser questions.

Q: WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT DATA TRENDS AS A RESULT OF THE GROCERY SHOPPING SURGE OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS?

March 12, 2020, was an “inflection point” that signaled the initial drastic spike in CPG spending by consumers.  This was spurred mostly by a culmination of news events including cancellation of the NBA season and March Madness/NCAA Tournament; Tom Hanks’ announcement; recurring stock market dive; and President Trump’s news conference.

  • According to NCS data, on March 12, 2020, Americans increased their average household CPG spend by 55% compared to the prior Thursday, nearly doubling the number of items purchased.
  • The average spend per transaction on or about March 12, 2020, surpassed spending levels during the weeks leading up to Christmas 2019 and 2018.
  • This signaled an extreme buying period for American HHs to make sure they had the food and drug supplies to prepare for the national health crisis.
  • NCS is examining other key insights, such as top grocery categories and how they compared against each other.
  • Read more about the trends we are seeing. 

Q: SHOULD BRANDS CONTINUE TO ADVERTISE DURING THIS HEALTH CRISIS?

The answer to this question is dependent on the type of brand and product advertised. At NCS we believe that CPG consumer spending will evolve over the course of the COVID-19 crisis. There will be stages to consumer spending on CPG products that follow the path and stages of the national emergency. From preparedness buying—>extreme buying—>home-confined buying period—> to the new normal, brands will have to navigate what it means for consumers.

There are many changes in consumer needs and sentiment as well as changes in patterns and lifestyle. Brands have the opportunity to connect and even entertain during this unique time in history. NCS can help advertisers track behavioral and category spending data over the duration of a crisis and its stages. The extreme buying or pantry stocking that most American households have undergone has created a few new factors for brands. Your loyal buyers may or may not have been able to purchase their products; stores might have been sold out. Advertising is one of the most important ways to work to retain and regain loyalty.

Q: DO WE HAVE ANY PROOF POINTS TO SPEAK TO WHY BRANDS SHOULD KEEP ADVERTISING TODAY?

Clearly, COVID-19 is an unique event. However, historical NCS research has found that brand manager decisions to slow or cease advertising for whatever reason (e.g. inventory is low, a belief that it doesn’t matter since consumers will buy whatever is available) is short-sighted and could be damaging to long-term brand building.

We have conducted numerous studies around brand building and found advertising really does work (although we knew it did–it is always nice to have the proof). Brands—and especially new brands—need to advertise consistently to grow. Sales decline with a decline in advertising.

It might not feel like it right now, but this event will eventually pass and we will find a new normal.  In times of non-crisis, there is a 97% correlation between the number of buyers now and sales now. While this health crisis is unprecedented, what we do know is that for CPG brands, the decisions you make during this time to support your customers (new and loyal) will be important to your future sales.

Q: SHOULD BRANDS CONTINUE TO ACTIVATE AUDIENCE TARGETS RIGHT NOW? 

NCS teams are continuing to consult with our advertisers on activation strategies and target building to ensure delivered media in the market will be most impactful to their consumers today.

Activating purchase-based targets should still be an essential part of a CPG brand’s media plan. Brands have a unique opportunity to introduce themselves to previous non-buyers who are seeking products when their preferred brands are off the shelf.

Alternatively, building and maintaining brand loyalty is key. Brands should be doing everything they can to maintain their loyal buyer base by engaging with consumers now and in the coming weeks and months with relevant messages. Audience targeting is always a way to be efficient with your budget spend.

Q: HOW WILL NCS CONTROL WITHIN ITS SOLUTIONS FOR THE SHIFT IN SHOPPING BEHAVIOR THAT IS HAPPENING WITH THE COVID-19 HEALTH EMERGENCY?

NCS is currently evaluating the shift in shopping behavior and testing new variables so we can work with you on building the most effective campaigns using purchase-based data.

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