Sunday, March 29, 2020

#ConsumerObsessed Brands during COVID-19

As brand marketers, we talk a lot about consumer-first or consumer obsession. Under the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all brands take a new look at their campaigns and advertising, to ensure they are still relevant. Among some of the brands I use, two of them really stand out for their efforts of customers first: ClassPass and Snoo.

I've been using ClassPass for two years. It allows me to try different studios and workout classes without getting a membership at a particular one. I like the variety and flexibility it offers, even though there are not too many options where I live. Because of my pregnancy, I've already switched to a light plan: 4 new credits per month for $10. 

Even before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, I knew I wouldn't risk going out to classes anymore. So I was wondering what I'm going to do with my account. Before I even take any actions or reach out to their customer service. I got this email from their CEO. The company has offered 1) roll over all unused credits instead of the standard policy of rolling over a maximum 10 credits, 2) the ability to pause the account. 

Both of the measures give tangible, important benefits to its consumers, even before they reach out! Now that is #ConsumerObsessed!
We decided to buy a Snoo for our baby. It's the only splurge we've done so far. Snoo comes with a 30-day free trial and scheduled shipping. Originally, we asked them to ship at the end of March so we'll have time to set it up and be ready before my due date. Last week, we received an email from them:

The email notifies us that they decided to ship the Snoo one week earlier than the scheduled date, to ensure it gets delivered in time due to the current circumstances. It also clearly states that they will not count this one week towards the 30 day free trial period. Again, fantastic customer-centric decisions.

For the last months or so, I received so many emails from brands about COVID-19 updates. ClassPass and Snoo truly stands out for their customer-first approach and excellent execution. Look forward to seeing more brands deliver on their customer-focused mission.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

What I am grateful for during the coronavirus pandemic

I see myself a lucky one during this unprecedented time. Here is why.

1. My family and friends are largely safe and well.
My family back in China was under lockdown for 2 months since the Chinese New Year. My grandma is 80+ years old so I was quite worried about her. My parents are almost 60. Fortunately they are all okay now it seems the worst of Coronavirus has passed for China. On the U.S. side, most of my friends and co-workers are able to work from home and hopefully they will stay safe and well.

2. I still have a job that allows me to work from home.
While millions have lost their job and filed for unemployment, I felt incredibly lucky that not only do I still have a good job, most of my work can be done remotely. Consumer healthcare sector doesn't seem to suffer much from the economic impact in the short term. My team is super supportive of everyone during this special time.

3. I have a supporting spouse to weather this through together.
Because I'm 9 months pregnant, I've taken the social distancing one step further and never really left the house, except for taking a walk outside in our community. Therefore, my husband has been doing all the grocery shopping. He's taken extra cautions when he brings back any outside items. Wiping them all down, throwing out the packaging and bags, etc. Never going out also meant no dining out or even takeout. Both of us cook a lot more (and getting better at it!).

This shall pass. All we need to remind ourselves is there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just take one day at a time.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Experimenting with Email to Boost Productivity

Last week, I decided to further improve how I handle my work emails. After trying different things and daily reflection, here's what I found:
  • To minimize distractions from emails, finish MIT #1 first thing in the morning before even looking at my emails. That fresh mind early in the morning is just too precious to waste on emails!
  • Rethink how I define email productivity. The mistake we all tend to make is using how fast you tackle your emails as the success metric. And that is wrong. Email, in its essence, is a tool. The goal is to tackle a work issue in an effective manner, not to processing email in a speedy fashion. Therefore, before hitting reply button, I ask myself, what am I trying to achieve here? Is there a better way to do it? Can I reach out via Skype? Can I walk over to that person's desk? Can I maybe batch several topics to discuss with her in our next 1:1?
  • Finally, this one takes me a few days to realize. I was so determined not to let emails take over my time, so I purposely ignore the dozens of unread emails. This creates lots of mental stress. What I could have done, is just to sit down and spend an hour or two going through them. 
After this week's little experiment, I certainly feel more in control of emails. But it's a progress. I will continue to observe what best works for me and use emails more effectively to boost work productivity.

Postpartum Support Group

Today I attended the first postpartum support group zoom meeting. It's a great experience. I wish I had joined it earlier. Most particip...