Marketing amidst Coronavirus
31st March, 2020
The current environment transpiring worldwide is unprecedented and has forced marketers and businesses alike to truly rethink their strategies and get their thinking caps on.
Whilst it may seem that pulling back significantly on budget is the way to go, this in fact may not be the case. Branding can come and go in an instant and the COVID-19 pandemic is vastly disrupting our world, forcing us to change, adapt and reconsider ways to keep in the market. Now more than ever, brands need to demonstrate they are on the side of the consumer and remain engaged, open and positive to continue to remain salient beyond the times of the Coronavirus crisis.
From being forced to work from home, downloading and participating in video conferencing, watching the news on TV/Mobiles, and essentially living their lives online, people are consuming media like never before in this current climate.
Amazon is hiring 100,000 warehouse workers to meet surging demand. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said traffic for video calling and messaging had exploded. Microsoft said the numbers using its software for online collaboration had climbed nearly 40 percent in a week. So now more than ever, getting your brand in the eyes of consumers is easier and more likely to gain traction than ever before. In fact, Verizon recently reported a 20% week over week increase in web traffic; with more impressions and shifts in competition, your CPM is likely to decrease—which presents a good opportunity to capture more reach from your budget on Facebook and Instagram.
With increased browsing time, now is a good time to re-engage with previous website visitors and get them back to your site with considered incentives such as free shipping or particular promotions to navigate the even more digital-centric climate our lives have become.
Communicate, Change, Recreate
It goes without saying that communication to your customers is the number one priority for your brand, even in non-crisis times. Ensure you highlight how your brand can help during this time, give people the guidance they need and make things as simple and economical for your customers.
Don’t lose sight of what is most important in tough times. Get those eDM’s out, ensure social content is up to speed and make sure you are constantly communicating to customers queries. Use advertising to communicate what you are doing in relation to the current situation in a creative and engaging way.
Nike unveiled a message for social distancing on March 21, sharing an image on its social media platforms with a caption that read, “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance. Play inside, play for the world.”
Worldwide brand Coke, used their signature bottle shape to thank all those working during the COVID-19 crisis in the form of an engaging video tweet.
Interesting, thoughtful and effective. These brands have used their platforms in smart ways to continue brand recognition whilst also responding to the situation at hand.
Nike’s response to COVID-19
People are tuning in now, more than ever, adopting audio streaming products in vastly increased amounts. Stats from SCA (Southern Cross Austereo) indicate weekday listeners have increased by 24% in 7-days, catch-up radio downloads have grown 54% in the past 30 days and smart speaker live streaming has increased by 43% in the past 6-weeks.
We know radio works, and now more than ever, podcast and radio advertising is an effective way to keep your brand on and in the minds of consumers during these times. Whether it is a nuanced message to your previous plan, or alerting customers of any changes as a result of Covid-19, the power of audio is more significant than ever and a brilliant source of engagement during these times.
Adapt for Long-term Gains
Strategically, brands should invest for long-term outcomes. While the cause of the current crisis is different, the effect is similar to that which we saw during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007-2008. During the GFC, brands that continued to spend were those that remained strongest and recovered most quickly afterwards. With the right creative and with sensitivity, it is likely to be a good time to build brand predisposition and continue to keep your audience engaged for when the environment does return back to normal.
Here’s some food for thought. In the late 1920’s, Cereal giant Kellogg’s was up against Post for the domination of the packaged cereal market. When the Great Depression hit, Post did the predictable, reining in marketing and advertising. Kellogg’s, however, pushed by only the energy that Cornflakes can give, doubled its ad budget and moved into aggressive advertising. The result? Snap, crackle and pop- Kellogg’s profits rose by 30% and it remains the industry’s most dominant player today. This is just one example of how adopting a staying stance in advertising can work wonders, increasing visibility and exposure in a changing market.
The reality is, that times right now are constantly changing, unprecedented and scary. However, ensuring you stay relevant and connected with your consumers is more important than ever. As long as it is appropriate and meaningful, reworking, adapting and continuing your branding and advertising during this time is most important to maintain relevance and continue running long after these tough times.