With business operations taking a hit due to the worldwide pandemic and subsequent lockdown, many marketers wonder if they should continue to spend on marketing. We recently had a chat with a digital marketing agency based in Sydney, and this what they had to say regarding the matter.
According to them, there is no doubt that our lives have changed due to COVID-19. Even when the crisis slides, and we leave our homes to work, shop or study, how we consume products will not be the same anymore. Our priorities have changed and how brands communicate with their consumers should reflect this shift.
Because marketing sets the tone for customers’ perceptions about the brand, it is vital to communicate a sense of empathy and community, regardless of what your brand message is. Any business, at its core, is about helping people solve problems so any messaging right now must communicates that clearly. And what better way to do that than digital marketing, especially now when the use of digital platforms to stay connected is witnessing a massive upsurge.
Here are some ways to harness the power of digital marketing in the current situation.
Put more focus on awareness
Instead of focusing on selling your products now, create brand awareness through content and social media channels. Digital marketing endeavours should be geared towards keeping the brands on top of people’s minds, even when there are no sales taking place.
Create responsible marketing campaigns with a human touch
Kantar’s COVID Barometer, a research on what consumers want brands to do during this crisis, suggests that consumers expects brands to offer a reassuring tone (70%), talk about how the brand is helpful (77%) and keep them informed about how the brand is reacting to the crisis. So, your digital marketing campaigns should touch on the human side.
Leverage online events and webinars
Consumers are staying put in their dens and consuming online content at an increasing rate. Your digital marketing efforts should be to lap up this opportunity. A great way to do that is by launching online webinars and live events on social media platforms to boost brand recall.
Brands that are doing it right
Ikea has successfully built in the idea of social distancing and embracing this in their new video. But the most interesting piece of content marketing idea has come from DoubleTree, an American hotel chain owned by Hilton. They disclosed the recipe of their much-adored chocolate chip cookie that, till now, had remained a corporate secret.
“I know this is an anxious time for everyone,” DoubleTree SVP and global head Shawn McAteer stated. “A warm chocolate chip cookie can’t solve everything, but it can bring a moment of comfort and happiness.”
Even “off brand” messages, that have nothing to do with your brand directly, but that helps buyers’ sentiment to stay positive, will help create long-term brand recall.
Evidently, marketers need to play a vital role in bringing a human focus to the concerns of the customers and recognise their anxieties. This will forge a stronger bond between the two parties when the crisis slides.
Nike has pushed engagement with consumers using digital marketing and has made its subscription to Nike Training Club app, completely free. This app offers streaming workouts, training programs and expert tips.
Nike has also, reiterated the need for mobility to stay fit but at the same time has woven in the importance of staying at home to ensure safety, in their caption: “play inside, play for the world”.
Now is an opportune moment to put out responsible marketing materials that support people. Digital marketing agencies should take care to put out the brand messages of their clients in a way that is helpful, safe, entertaining and compelling. When done right, digital marketing will not only make sense, but even turn out to be the greatest asset for businesses in the midst of this global crisis.
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