The year 2020 will probably go down in history as one of those iconic years. Never had we thought in our wildest dreams that we are going to live through a plague and a depression. The health crisis has affected millions, while the economic fallout has also been equally disastrous.
However, if history has shown us one thing- it is that businesses and professionals are one resilient lot. Many multi-billion dollar businesses owe their origins to the financial crisis of 2007-08.
These businesses were able to create such empires by leveraging what was most appropriate during those times. Like the 2007-08 financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic also presents a great opportunity for businesses to reinvent themselves.
By using innovative branding strategies, depending on technology and digital, brands can hope to not only make it through the pandemic, but also prosper and thrive.
Brands need to understand the changing nature of doing business during COVID-19
If businesses are under the impression that they can still use century old marketing and sales strategies, they are in for a shock. Just to give you an example- what is going to happen to leaflet and flyers post the Coronavirus pandemic?
Do you expect your consumers to touch, look and feel at your advertising and marketing material. What is going to happen to thousands of dollars in outdoor advertising when there is a lockdown? If brands have not woken up to the changed nature of reality, they are not going to survive during the period.
This is why brands need to reinvent themselves to keep the business going. Consumers are still buying. However, the aim for brands is to connect with consumers where they are spending their time. This also means that brands need to change their marketing and advertising efforts, the platforms they are using and the money they are spending.
In the following sections, we look at some ways and means, brands can employ to benefit during the crisis like situation.
5 Ways Brands can reinvent themselves during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The List
- Be empathetic towards Consumers and their interests-
One thing that most consumers are looking for is a brand, which is empathetic and responsible during a crisis. This is why it is important to understand the situation at hand and address marketing and advertising concerns accordingly. Show consumers your brand cares by aligning the need of the hour with the brand and a response.
- Take corrective actions on your marketing and advertising-
Experts state that social distancing; maintaining hygiene and other steps can help prevent COVID-19. Hence, it is important that none of your marketing or advertising promotional materials show something contrary to what experts are suggesting. Be a role model and set a proper example, even if it means rolling back the marketing and advertising calendar.
- Offer Information, Education and Value to the consumers-
The need of the hour is to connect with your consumers by offering them value-laded content during such times. This is the best time for the brand to execute Inbound Marketing strategies. Strike up conversations, build relationships, educate audiences and offer value. Remember, that this is the investment, which you need to make for a life post COVID-19.
- Use Digital Channels to amplify your reach and sales-
Many brands have until now tried to just maintain a presence on digital platforms. However, the pandemic will force these brands to pursue an aggressive strategy on digital platforms. Social media channels, ecommerce presence, ad spending are some areas where brands should look at investing in a major way.
- Use Positive Communication at all times-
News channels, politicians and lobbyists are doing enough to paint a gloomy picture of the crisis. During such times, everyone is looking for positive signals and news. Make your brand stand at the forefront of such positive developments. Show stories of courage, front line workers, and recoveries. Elaborate on how your brand is helping spread positivity.
Tactical Digital Strategies Brands can leverage during the Coronavirus crisis
One of the most important things brands should remember is that the needs of people are always going to exist. However, the means can be affected because of the COVID 19 pandemic. This means that as a business you can offer your customers several finance schemes or EMI holidays to encourage them to buy now and commit later.
This will also show that your brand is sympathetic to their concerns and is working for ways and means to help them. Another important area brands need to focus on is investing in digital promotions. Data shows that the average time a user spends on social media has increased three fold.
You can easily cut down on traditional spending and use the money to invest in social media and AdWords. This is going to help you reach your consumers where they enjoy most spending their time. Use online platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet to talk to your consumers face to face.
Brands should look to build on the following digital infrastructure during these times-
- Social media platforms
- Blog sections of the website
- Review platforms
- Google My Business listings
- Presence on aggregator platforms
- Their own ecommerce
- Brand website
If a brand feels that they do not have the requisite experience of making the changes, they should engage a marketing agency. An agency can help show you the right way forward, plan the strategies and show you which areas you should invest.
As a brand, you should understand that the Coronavirus pandemic is not going to last forever. Even the Great Depression of the 1930 ended and the world saw a prosperous economic world thereafter. The important thing to do is to use the time to engage with your consumers in meaningful ways.
If the engagements, education and relationships are real and credible, they will translate into sales and revenues. Brands need to adapt to the changing reality and plan their approaches accordingly. Every crisis also presents an opportunity to succeed.
The next time as a brand you think of giving up, list all the companies formed during the last financial crisis. We are talking of names like Air BnB, Uber and more. Ten years from now, when people talk about the COVID-19 pandemic, your aim should be to feature in a similar list.