Marketing during the Coronavirus and your companies message is important. STAFF WELFARE should be first priority though according to a recent consumer report.
Your brand is expected to play an important supporting role during this crisis, to help our society and the vulnerable.
Today we are living in an unprecedented situation. The whole world is dealing with a different challenge – the Covid-19 outbreak.
With over 3 Billion people worldwide being told to stay at home, the economy landscape has drastically changed.
As business these are worrying times and you probably are thinking what is your next step.
You are probably wondering what is the consumer thinking? Well it turns out the majority of consumers, believe that brands should continue with their marketing efforts.
Although it goes without saying that you must be wary of the tone and messaging, is using and how you communicate will really show your company values.
Already some companies have been slated, and some praised.
How you act and the voice of your company during these important times will have an effect on your business when it is all over.
A recent survey of 35,000+ global consumers undertaken by Kantar found that:
- 8% thought brands should avoid advertising
- 78% of consumers are thought to believe brands should be helping them through their daily struggles
- 75% Are saying that brands should be communicating what they are doing through the crisis, what they are doing changes in business are they still running etc
- 74% Believe that companies should not be exploiting the pandemic situation
So now the question is, how should you market?
What is expected of you from the consumer?
Now one thing to be careful of and be mindful of is the main tone and message, that you are conveying.
Realistically it should be of a reassuring tone. You need to show a calmness and take time, to understand what you and everyone around you is going through.
Yes at this moment don’t get me wrong things are definitely uncertain but you should offer a positive outcome and communicate your brand values.
- 50% also think brands should talk as they have always have done, while
- 50% think companies should talk about their own brand in a carefree and light way.
- Only 41% think brands should not be using a humorous tone.
There is a need for companies and brands to be aware that their is a fine line that needs to be adhered to.
Online research data has shown that brands are using varying methods during the Coronavirus epidemic to achieve this, for example:-
Ikea’s is communicating to their consumers the importance of home
Nike’s message on the other hand convey’s around the need to stay home and indoors, as their homepage message states ” Play Inside, Play For The World” and through their current app they are seen to promote exercises that can be done at home.
Conveying these messages are seen as supportive of the governments efforts and are mirroring their message as well as the health organisations.
Many brands are offering special privileges to NHS staff, careers and other front-line workers which is commendable and personally I think is right thing to do.
They have cleverly achieved this while staying true to their own brands message and the current values they have always been know for.
“There is a need to talk about brands, but to do so in a way that supports governments and consumers and is not exploitative.”
Rosie Hawkins Chief Innovation Officer
Some businesses efforts and actions have received mixed results or backlash from the consumer for example:-
Back in 2019 ASOS launched its chain mail face masks. Due to the design they were already being made fun of.
At the time of of the original launch they tweeted saying:
“Festival season/flu season/dealing with close-talkers, meet your fave new year-round piece.”
Now the mistake was face masks have been the source of a lot of strife and a lot of misinformation has been spread about them during the Coronavirus. Companies like to Facebook and Google banned ads recently for face masks, especially with huge prices being placed on them.
But reports started coming out of Twitter recently stating consumers have been complaining about ads they’re seeing for the face masks across platforms. Now considering the pandemic which is going on silver or gold face masks being sold for a price of $17 was clearly going to rub the public up the wrong way.
Yes, don’t get me wrong the ads were likely to of been automated way in advance of the pandemic. They were stopped and the product removed from the ASOS website in response to the backlash.
For ASOS the timing was just off and they suffered from the circumstances.
BrewDog’s hand sanitiser launch also didn’t quite get the response it wanted for it efforts in changing from producing beer to hand sanitiser, during this Coronavirus pandemic period. YES, while many applauded their latest move, there was some heavy criticism from others.
The way they handled the branding aspect of it, led a lot of people to see this as not helping the masses but more as a self-serving tactic which has backfired on them with some consumers. Sports Direct, Virgin and Weatherspoon’s are a number of other companies who have been under the spotlight for actions they have taken, which has damaged their brands appearance.
When the whole country is coming together and helping each other, supporting and realising that this is not the staffs fault, these companies have acted in a way that has enraged people countrywide. By not standing by their employees and thinking of money before staff welfare. They are likely to be seeing repercussions when things come back to normal.
The message everyone is looking for and is expecting to see and the all brands for to show is solidarity and not exploitation of staff and the masses.
The consumer report states that:-
- 80% believe employee health is the number 1 key priority for companies,
- 2/3 of the community believe during these difficult times, flexible working should be a priority.
- 45% of consumers believe that it is important want to see companies putting in place protection plans that protect the supply of services or products.
- 40% want to see more from companies and believe they should be doing all they can such as making donations of products, such as hand sanitisers or face masks to KEY WORKERS & NHS STAFF.
- 30% of consumers stated they want to see brands offering more discounts and promotions.
- 19% believe that companies who are able to set up call centres to help with customer queries should be doing so.
This shows that there is an understanding from the consumer about the difficult & unprecedented times business find themselves in.
Remember we are all in this together
Marketing for the future
Now is the time not to panic, now is the time to remember that in the 2008/09 financial crash that strong businesses were able to make a full recovery.
On the whole they made an approximate 8-10% faster recovery than the average business. What you do today really will impact on how your future pans out when this crisis is over.
Marketing Week & Econsultancy recently performed a survey of over 900 marketers who revealed that there are thousands of companies who have stopped their marketing ad campaigns. Approximately 55% have postponed or are taking steps to review their current ad campaigns. On top of this around 60% of businesses are cutting or reviewing budgets.
They also reported from a theoretical company with real life data that cutting your ad campaigns off 100% during this time would result in a loss of approximately 13% in sales. Where as a 50% reduction would result in just a 1% loss.
I think the main thing here to realise is that before making rash decisions do some figures and work out some financial models with the data that you still have coming in.
Remember people are still home, they will still purchase and they are looking for ways for the world to continue, it really is time to plan for tomorrow by being wise today.
“Brand health becomes vulnerable when companies stop advertising, If they do this for longer than six months it destroys both short- and long-term health.”
Global Head Of Media, Kantar Insights
What we say to our clients is get ready to ride this out a bit, don’t make too many snap judgements. Provide them with new content, show how your brand is trying to make a difference to those around them.
I think most importantly this is the time to show some humility, solidarity but instil some fun. A lot of people are coupe’d up inside worried and could do with something to look forward too in the future.
Try to become a light bringer to all your followers, customers and potential customers as well as neighbours, friends and family.
Together we will come out of this stronger and more prepared for the journey that lies ahead.
During an economic downturn, you will see that the case is, that you will have far less competition. On the plus side this means it is easier and can be faster to gain results and sales.
You can discuss deals and in some cases, be able to negotiate better deals, including potential reduction in pay-per-click advertising.
There is one way to think of this and being realistic out of all the companies out there, you can be rest assured that there is an increased debt that people and businesses are taking on. Simply put if the market keeps going down, many companies will struggle to pay off their debt.
Unfortunately This means a lot of companies will either go bankrupt, will be bought out, or will just about struggle through via government grants and for the larger companies huge bailouts.
With the government offering companies to help subsidise wage bills by 80%, this act may be able to cut costs enough to pay their bills, but for most, it will be too late.
Again, this is sad for a lot of companies but it just means their is less competition for you.
Most don’t have to joys of being lucky enough to be sitting on piles of readily available cash, during the recession. For others they will see this an an opportunity and realise this is the best time to buy out other companies. You will see media companies are normally one that get sold during this time.
Why you ask? well its simple, the more people who’s eyeballs you control, the more power you will hold in the future.
So i think this should tell you that YES!!
You should still be marketing but it needs to be done in a correct manner.
DON’T profit off the misery of other.
DON’T be buying up all the supplies like some and selling them on Ebay and other platforms for 4, 5, 10 times the price in some cases.
Do things the right way and you will benefit in the long term, be in touch via social media and your other marketing channels, realise that by controlling eyeballs, keeping in touch and spreading useful messages to the world that, it gives you the ability to sell anything you want in the future.