In today's highly challenging times, organisations across the board are searching for ways to streamline business operations, lower costs, and effectively do more with a lot less. Many companies are looking to cut cost in order to survive, and too often, marketing and brand awareness are the casualties.
However, this isn’t advisable. Marketing during times of crisis, helps brands re-evaluate how they can service their customers as well as find innovative ways to keep their doors open.
This is the time for brands to stand out, to make themselves more memorable and build loyalty through small, human-centric engagements. How you interact with your customers now, will set the tone of your relationship with them for years to come.
The research speaks for itself and has consistently revealed that brands that maintain marketing efforts during times of crisis actually grow their sales and market share. On the flip side, cutting spend has a lasting, and negative impact on brands, who find themselves losing market share, even once the crisis has passed and things go back to normal.
Brands should think in the long-term
During challenging times many brands reduce their brand-building efforts and instead, channel efforts towards driving short-term sales. However, this isn’t an appropriate response, as difficult times mean that brands should be focussing on building themselves in the long term, as this investment is what will drive and support recovery.
We all know the danger for many organisations is that, as the lockdown lengthens, consumers' connection with their old faithful and trusted go-to brands will begin to wane, so now is not the time for brands to shy away - it is time for brands to be bold...
It is human nature to remember brands for their acts of generosity and positivity during times of crisis. Brands need to evaluate their current projects and adjust them to see how they can be used in positive ways to uplift their communities, not simply for profit.
Behavioural economics has illustrated that framing is often more critical than messaging itself. No one is suggesting that brands should change their messaging or identity, but rather reframe them, to reflect their fundamental position within the context of the reality in which they find themselves. Crises, as tragic as they are, often give brands the ideal opportunity to showcase their purpose and values.
Find ways to add value
Brands need to dig deep and find ways to reach heart of what their audience is experiencing at the moment. This does in any way imply that brands should exploit the situation, but rather find ways where they can add value, and help your audience during times of crisis. Any brand considering embarking on a PR initiative, needs to be aware that false altruism will certainly backfire and send the message that it is trying to capitalise from a crisis. Be genuine in both messaging and actions. Don’t try to profit – try to help.
As the new normal sets in, people are spending less money on non-essential items like makeup and outdoor activities, and more time and money on consuming online media. It is important for marketers to understand this shift in consumer behaviour...
Our current Covid-19 crisis is no different and is presenting opportunities for brands to innovate, adapt and help people around the world.
The bottom line is that now is not the time to do nothing, or to panic, or wait around nervously to see what your competitors are up to. Marketing in the time of Covid-19, or during any crisis for that matter, calls for brands to assess how they can service their customers as well as keep their businesses afloat.
As Seth Godin once said,
We’ve greatly exaggerated the risk of sinking, without celebrating the value of swimming.
Jacqueline Boulos Mayer is the MD at public relations and marketing specialists, Innocomm. Staying ahead of rapidly changing trends in communication to deliver successful campaigns is a key skill of Jacqueline Boulos, the owner of Innocomm SA.
Jacqueline has more than 17 years of experience in communication and strategy and has honed her attention to East Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa.
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