During this period, there will be brands that take advantage of the situation, and those who are looking to scale back their marketing activities. Whilst understandable, we do not recommend those in the latter category to scale back their marketing completely.
With digital adoption reaching new heights, online marketing is now more important than ever, and it’s a good time to put yourselves in a stronger position long-term and increase your share of voice against your competitors.
Intelligent brands will be effectively communicating and continue to be authentic in their messaging. Focusing on messaging for your brand purpose and implementing a focused marketing strategy will provide you with a strong return on investment and growth in the long term.
Brands with strong brand awareness and relationships with their customers will recover the quickest.
A global survey of more than 35,000 consumers completed by Kantar found that:
ONLY 8% of consumers believe brands should stop advertising due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
With more people working from home (and being online), it is certain that consumers will use e-commerce sites more frequently. With this change, we are beginning to see a trend in brands now increasingly leveraging their online presence and raising their advertising spend on digital channels such as social media and Google Ads.
“Brand health becomes vulnerable when companies stop advertising,” says Kantar Insights global head of media, Jane Ostler. “If they do this for longer than six months it destroys both short- and long-term health.”
Do not use the outside influence of the Coronavirus to exploit consumer behaviour through marketing messaging. Remember to lead the way, be innovative but mindful of tone and ask yourself “How would you respond to this tone of messaging?”
As brands continue to increase their online presence, users are now becoming increasingly aware of businesses that are taking an ethical, empathetic approach to their marketing communications, a strategy in the long run which can be beneficial to your brand and business.
With communities and businesses needing to come together more than ever, you should really look at what your values are as a company:
- How are you supporting your current customers/ employees?
- How are you planning for the future?
Once this has been understood, your next mission is to understand how you can effectively market your brand purpose to your consumers.
Often, we see big brands focusing on new customers, offering free delivery or incentives. However, we can see a major shift in marketing with the focus on current customers pushing the message ‘existing customers come first!’
This is an excellent approach for long-term growth. It costs far less to keep an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one, and showing you value your current customers can help encourage them remain a customer for life. If you can connect with your existing customers in an authentic way, creating an emotional resonance, your business will be in a better position than your competitors during this time.
A good example of this is Ocado:
It’s also essential to let customers know what you are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and how you can help them during this unpredicted time.
Recently we saw, TV subscription giant, Sky reveal a number of extra services that will be made available to their existing customers for free.
“Our first priority is ensuring our customers continue to get the very best service we can provide. We’d love more people to experience Sky, but for the time being we’re focusing our attention and resources on making sure we do our very best for our existing customers.”
Although the offer available is marketed towards current customers; new consumers will sub-consciously remember the brand and its actions during this time; ultimately providing Sky with future opportunities.
So, what should brands be doing?
Turn this situation into an opportunity to do something new! Look at your budgets and how these can be spent most effectively. Ask yourself which platforms will your customers be utilising the most, and how can you appropriately communicate with them on these platforms?
Start by evaluating your brand’s media, messaging and touchpoints. How can you take your existing services or solutions and provide them in an online environment?
For example, if your marketing objective is to grow your online following, perhaps activities such as thought leadership videos could increase engagement and brand awareness.
It has been reported in China that Luxury brands are now embracing live streaming, not only with product demonstrations, but also entertainment – led by influencers presenting live. The priority for these brands is not to make immediate sales, but to stay relevant in an evolving situation, delighting potential customers – improving their share of voice and recognition.
Live streaming is a great technology to allow brands to communicate with their customers at a more personal level, creating a community. Whether you are live streaming for educational purposes, promoting a product or showing a before and after transformation, live streaming is an inexpensive way to increase your business and customer bond.
With various event organisers cancelling or postponing everything from industry gatherings to music festivals the demand for virtual events will increase. 41% of more than 1,000 mid-level and senior marketers considered live events to be the most crucial marketing channel in a survey conducted by survey conducted by event software Bizzabo.
Rather than lose out on the channel completely, hosting webinars, live streaming and daily videos are a fantastic way to ensure that you brand continues to communicate and engage with your target audience in a face to face environment.
There is a lot of opportunity for events companies to evolve the services they offer, and push forward with their digital transformation.
Key takeaways for marketing in the age of COVID-19.
- Adapt and Evolve
- Embrace digital transformation
- Lead the way but be mindful of tone
- Pay attention to the changes of consumer behaviour and lifestyles
- Don’t stop marketing! Marketing Investment will pay for itself in the long term