In the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) whereby business activity has either slowed down or come to a complete halt, brands are deliberating what to do next. Some businesses will have a tendency to cut their marketing budgets, whilst others will use the pandemic as an opportunity to move ahead.
So, what will you do?
If you sell toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or longer-lasting ingredients like flour, cereal, rice, wheat or vegetables like potatoes, the business must be booming! For others, the reality of the disruptive measures put in place by governments World-wide may result in both near-term effects or longer-run consequences.
Unfortunately, the fear fuelled by media spreads panic faster than the pandemic. This amplifies uncertainty on an emotional level within the public.
So what can business owners of brands do to be proactive during this pandemic?
With ever-evolving and constant technological innovation, it is easier than ever before to raise awareness in today’s digital era. People are still the reason for brand success. How you treat them, how you help them succeed, how they trust you matters greatly.
Let us look and seven ways brands can be proactive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pay attention to online communities
Online branded communities are forums, which provide a platform whereby consumers talk about brand-related topics and provide advice and tips. This allows brands to talk about products and understand customers’ needs without trying to sell, thereby strengthening relationships and building trust with customers.
Use influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has been popular for some time, and it is only growing. An Influencer is a personality with a huge following online who helps spread the word about your company through their social channels. A large portion of online buyers depends on recommendations from influencers when making purchases. Companies flocked to influencers in 2019 to help market their products, and this will remain as one of the top branding trends in 2020.
Video is continuing to grow in popularity and importance. The average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos whilst 92% of marketers say it’s an important part of their marketing strategy (Data source: Zenith).
The mobile-first approach is all about designing for the smallest screen and working your way up. It ensures that you deliver the right User Experience (UX) to the right screen. In 2020, even more, emphasis will be placed on increasing mobile user interaction. Mobiles today are more powerful than many desktop computers. People have their smartphones with them 91% of the time, 24/7 (Source: Morgan Stanley). Hence, if your website, emails or promotional messages/videos are being viewed on mobile and the content is not a custom-fit, you will lose out.
Grow brand loyalty through customer experiences
To create greater customer loyalty than your competitors, you need to provide an exceptional customer experience. This goes beyond giving discounts or gifts. It has to be something that differentiates you from your competitors. For example, it may be that customers have access to contact you 24/7, possibly through chatbots.
Brand marketing matters
Brand marketing is more important today than ever before. Top performing brands spend 60 percent of their marketing budgets into brand marketing (Source: Les Binet and Peter Fields). The world is awash in innovative products, services, technologies, and solutions. Innovation alone cannot sustain a company; it must be paired with brand marketing.
Brands matter when people can speak to others about them. Social validation occurs when many people have seen or heard about the brand. This only happens when brands actually commit to brand marketing.
Make it personal
Customers relate to people and will pay more for brands that have a human side. If they can relate to your brand in a more personalized way, they are more likely to trust your brand. It lies within the emotional connection built by brands that relate and reflect their customers. In a world awash with a lack of trust, digital fakery, spam, monopolies, and gamified hype, people need brands that know what they want, have built trust authentically, are ready to help rather than trying to sell to them. It is all about the personalized experience.
At some point, the Coronavirus will pass. Now is not the time to stop marketing efforts, it’s the time for you to be even more strategic in implementing them! The importance of brand building cannot be under-estimated.