Imposing Customer Centricity Among All Else


The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Monica Padillo, this chapter is titled “Imposing Customer Centricity Among All Else.” In it, Rommel Rico, the Managing Director of Foodpanda, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in giving focus on consumer needs as top priority.

Rommel Rico, Head of Marketing at Foodpanda, believes that many brands are losing their  customer centricity in the pressure of beating their competitors, reaching numbers or  putting out the next best thing in the market in an effort to stand out. It’s for this reason  that he makes sure to look at real customer insights when launching marketing campaigns  for the mobile food delivery company. 

“Things that work are always bolted or anchored on real consumer truths. If you really  listen to the consumer, taking note of what is said and not said, your product or service and  communication would naturally work,” he said. 

For example, it goes without saying that apart from quick service, consumers of delivery  platforms primarily seek convenience in many forms. Rico explained that convenience can  refer to ease-of-use (how the app can be used and explored), payment (what methods can  consumers use to complete their transactions), and delivery type (how fast can Foodpanda  riders deliver orders), among others. By deducing these points, he and the Foodpanda  team are able to optimize their platform, as well as create effective promos and campaigns  that please their existing customer base and attract new customers. 

This effort has been evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when millions of Filipinos  lost their jobs due to the economic effects of the virus outbreak. One way that Foodpanda  was able to do its part for the community was by providing free delivery promos on their  platform.  

“The imposition of free delivery is definitely one of our most important initiatives because  we didn’t want to add to the people’s burden. At the same time, it helped us acquire  customers and enlarge the base of the platform,” Rico said, adding that applying customer centricity makes people gravitate more to brands than just products. 

With Foodpanda becoming an essential service during a difficult time where mobility is  limited, Rico found that it’s important to make consumers feel like they are connected  with the brand. In this way, alongside its investments in unique technology to support the  business, the company is able to stand out among its competitors as well. 

Apart from this direct customer-centric initiative, the on-demand service provider has  also attracted consumers in different methods, one of which is through a program called  PandaTODA. 

Rico explained that Foodpanda, in partnership with the local governments, was able to  onboard hundreds of displaced tricycle drivers in the city as Foodpanda riders. While  the program ran for only a few months, the riders were given the choice of staying with  Foodpanda moving forward. The initiative became successful on many fronts―not only  was Foodpanda able to provide a sustainable livelihood to hundreds of Filipinos who  relied on every peso they could get, but the company was also able to expand its rider fleet and reach more customers. 

“It's successful in the sense that people would really react positively to it. You'll have much  more PR value if you evaluate it versus any other campaigns or commercials that you've  posted on social media,” Rico said. 

It is through these kinds of initiatives that Rico found joy in being a marketing professional.  Among many things, he values being able to influence conversations and being in a position  to shape culture and behavior. 

“It’s a big responsibility for marketers because when you put something out there, people  would see it, talk about it, share it, or even go against it,” he said. “Having that ability  to influence positive conversations, habits, and behaviors is what I find to be the most  exciting part of the job.”

To get more insights from other marketing leaders like Rommel Rico, please check out the full book, available for purchase here

The Evangelists - and other business books about the Philippines and Asia Pacific - will soon be streaming on Audiophile, our platform for exclusive Filipino audiobooks. 


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