What can you do to support your marketing during COVID-19?

Everyone’s situation in the era of COVID19 is different. We understand that keeping your business running in the present climate is the priority – we’re 100% with you on that. But where possible, brand communications and marketing needs to remain in focus. As Henry Ford said: “Stopping your marketing to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” Ultimately, if you don’t invest in your marketing, your sales and profits are likely to decrease. You won’t be saving money, you’ll be losing it.

Create Shareable Content

Since the UK lockdown, sharing relatable content and brand communications has had a notable impact on consumers. In a survey by Censuswide, it was found that almost half (48%) of Brits either somewhat or strongly agree they’re noticing brand news more because they’re reading the news more.” (1) Since mid-March, more and more people are working from home. And with no social life except for Zoom pub quizzes and Disney+ , we’re browsing online more than ever.

What are your Brand Values?

People are more aware of new brands they haven’t encountered before. They’re also trusting them more because of the way they are presenting themselves during this time. In the same survey it was calculated that almost 3 in 5 (58%) strongly or somewhat agree that the way brands are behaving during covid-19 is going to affect their decision to give them their business in the future” (1). It’s important to continue sharing and interacting with your consumers. It’s also essential to consider what values you are sharing. It’s critical that your brand’s ‘behaviour’ is positive.

An example of how this hasn’t worked is the recent ‘social distancing’ campaign from McDonalds. The campaign shows the famous Golden Arches separated. Referring of course to social distancing, it is a great message, sure to be seen by lots of people. But the campaign suffered a lot of backlash. Some were questioning how the brand was treating its own workers. Others suggested the campaign was an opportunistic, awards-baiting move. This campaign certainly backfired but at least we can take note.

Share Positive News

So, what message can you share? It may be obvious, but sharing a positive message or good news about your business could influence your customers quite significantly. According to Censuswide survey consumers are looking to brands to spread some positivity during this time as almost 7 in 10 (68%) of Brits deem the release of positive news from brands as very or somewhat important.” (1) So don’t be afraid to shout it out loud if something exciting is happening in your business. From small to big wins, your customers will be pleased to hear it.

Adapting to a Post-Covid Marketplace

As for your future marketing plans, we’ve seen a lot of articles claiming that a ‘new era in marketing’ has begun as a by-product of the ‘new normal’. Companies are evolving to these with new ways of working. The innovation is incredible as companies adapt to new situations overnight and with great success. But we’re not convinced it will continue once we’re back in the office.

Marketing Week’s Mark Ritson believes marketers need to adapt their approach and work smarter. He thinks that once COVID19 has passed, brands will need to prepare for a ‘Exogenous Recession’ (Exogenous meaning it was created by an external factor i.e a virus). We should be wary about falling for the notion that marketing has changed for good. Ritson argues that although behaviours have changed for now, it’s unlikely to last. History shows us that changing human behaviours is a long, slow process.

The Time is Now

So why not use your time now to think strategically about the future? Perhaps take advantage of being in a different environment to see your brand or company from a new perspective. Whether you’ve been meaning to freshen up your brand, change your key messaging or you want to try a new marketing strategy, now is the time.  Efficient and strategic planning can yield the most success when we’re back to normality. Ritson gives 4 key points to go by when re-thinking your marketing strategy:

  • Target – What / who is your target? and also what / who is not?
  • Brand portfolio – which product / service are you going to focus on?
  • Brand positioning – what does your brand stand for / what targets are you are aiming for?
  • Strategic Objectives – what are your objectives for the year ahead which are measurable and marketing based?

Review Your Market Position

It’s also important to think about your position in the market against your competitors. This means keeping an eye on your industry news and picking up on potential new trends first. For example, since COVID19, there’s been a recent switch up in beauty trends. Instead of customers wanting ‘environmentally friendly’ or ‘pure’ products, they’re now more interested in knowing that the products are actually ‘preventative’ and seen as ‘safe’(3). Knowing this can give you the upper hand to identify your key product/service and create content around this emerging trend.

Tidy up your Backend

And while it might seem insignificant, the small things you do behind the scenes also make a difference. Now more than ever, people are searching the internet, so it’s important that your website is up to date and in line with any temporary changes which you may have implemented.

You can do this by:

  • Adding notices to your homepage and any other relevant high traffic landing pages
  • Alter your service offering on your site where applicable
  • Address FAQs which have resulted from the pandemic on your site
  • Update Google My Business times

It’s also a great time to clean up any old, messy code or badly written copy which you might be penalised for (by Google algorithms).  Think about downsizing large images and files which might be slowing down your loading speed, all of which might be causing frustrations to potential clients interested in your products.

Tips to Maintain Your Marketing Presence

To conclude, here’s a recap on our top tips for keeping your marketing going during COVID19:

  • Continue to communicate with your audience – whatever you do, don’t stop.
  • Be sure that you’re communicating the right message – Don’t be afraid to share good news.
  • Don’t be caught out by changing your future marketing plans now based on the ‘Marketing is changed for good’ trap.
  • Take advantage of working from home and use any newly available time to think strategically and from a different perspective.
  • Keep an eye on your industries trends and get ahead of your competitors.
  • House admin – update your website or business information to make your clients aware of your new / temporary offerings and avoid frustrations.

“F1 Races aren’t won in the straight, they are won in the chicanes and corners… it is when the driving is toughest that you need to have the guts to put your foot down…” anonymous

References:

  1. Censuswide, The survey consultants. The research was conducted by Censuswide, with a sample of 2,036 nationally representative respondents aged 16+ in the UK between 27.03.2020 – 30.03.2020.
  2. https://www.marketingweek.com/mark-ritson-coronavirus-advice-marketers-webinar/
  3.  https://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Article/2020/03/27/Coronavirus-to-impact-beauty-business-trends-says-Mintel

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