In times of crisis, things get tough for businesses on all fronts and marketing is no exception. At present, marketers have no idea where to begin and how to take their campaigns ahead in the COVID era. Brands have tighter budgets and customers are not in a position to buy the way they used to.
Moreover, the emphasis on social distancing is keeping people home and foot traffic is falling for businesses. Even the e-commerce trends have changed as buyers are only sticking to the essentials. The overall marketing landscape is more challenging than ever.
If you have been running successful marketing campaigns for your brand for decades, you cannot expect them to work today. Right now, your focus should be solely on marketing resilience so that you can get your brand through the tight spot till things get back to normal.
Obviously, you will have to realign your campaigns with the new normal, which is easier said than done. Still, this is something you cannot overlook or delay. Here are some brand marketing initiatives that can keep your business afloat in the pandemic era.
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Present with empathy and transparency
The pandemic has left people feeling socially isolated and vulnerable. At this stage, empathy is critical to winning their trust and loyalty for the long term. At the same time, transparency gets them one step closer to your brand. So it makes sense to integrate both in your marketing approach.
Essentially, you need to add the element of empathy in your tone of voice and messaging. Convey the intention to be there for them and also that their well-being matters to your brand. Also, show transparency in terms of getting across important information such as your reopening schedules and the measures you have implemented for consumer safety.
Associate your brand with good
Customers are likely to remember the brands for their good acts in a time of crisis like this one. Small acts can go a long way when it comes to making a difference. Consider donating to food banks, offering discounts to healthcare workers, and providing free delivery to customers. Go the extra mile for your employees by continuing to pay them without cuts.
Big brands like Ford and GE are winning appreciation for repurposing their manufacturing capacity for the production of respirators and ventilators. Some brands have switched their product lines and started making hand sanitizers.
Right now, these actions are better than spending on direct marketing because they will build loyalists in addition to sales.
Go the extra mile with entertainment
With curbs on social outings and gatherings, people are yearning for entertainment at this point in time. Things are not likely to get back to the usual in the foreseeable future. Brands that are willing to invest in entertainment marketing services are more likely to engage and connect with the audience. You may not be able to get booming sales with the initiative right now but strong connection definitely fuels long term retention and loyalty.
The idea is to use media in more diverse and agile ways. Offer a mix of entertainment in the form of videos, gaming, and polls across a range of channels and you will have them hooked to your brand for good.
Track trends and build scenarios
The pandemic’s impact on the audience’s expectations is unprecedented and they are changing more frequently than ever. Tracking their behavioral trends can help you realign your approach accordingly and stay one step ahead of consumer expectations. Right now, you need to keep a close eye on conversations across social media platforms, e-commerce product pages and community sites.
This will help you understand the upcoming opportunities and identify the looming crisis as well. Apart from gathering data through trends, it is equally important to analyze it for building scenarios so that you can adjust your strategies to match them.
Stay ahead on the service front
Marketing during a crisis is not just about promoting your offering; it is also about staying ahead on the service front. Going over and above with delivery and customer support is as good as any promotional campaign. Online orders, doorstep deliveries, and curbside pickups are some initiatives that can show your priority for consumer well-being. Similarly, ensure that your representatives are always available for customer support even while they are working from home.
At present, businesses are in the acknowledge-and-adapt stage and the ones that are quick to do it will be able to get through seamlessly. It is all about being innovative and agile while keeping customer expectations at the forefront.