Don’t let COVID-19 isolate your marketing

The dark cloud of Coronavirus has cast its shadow over all our home and work lives and whilst our priorities rightly lie with keeping ourselves and those closest to us safe and sound, it is also important to remember that we will get through this. Whilst you may be in isolation, don’t let COVID-19 isolate your marketing.

Also, from a business and brand perspective, we need to accept that there are things we can still do now that will hold us in good stead for when the clouds finally recede. We will discuss why, now more than ever, you shouldn’t be isolating your marketing. Note that things are slowly getting back to normal in the parts of China worst hit by the virus. This is under three months from when the epidemic first struck.

What this means for your business

Most businesses will, of course, be under immense pressure. Many know, however, that to survive and ultimately prosper they need to come out fighting, realising that the things they do now will provide a strong foundation for a commercial ‘bounce back’, once we’re out the other side of this. (It can’t be queuing for loo rolls forever…).

We are in uncharted waters, but a global recession appears an obvious outcome. Some brands, therefore, might be tempted to decrease marketing spend to mitigate risk now. However, there is a body of proof from previous recessions that indicates that brands that protect and support their brand voice during the bad times are ultimately in a better position to maintain, and even expand, market share over the long haul. The old cliche ‘fortune favours the brave’ was never truer. That said, any spending needs to be savvy and well-considered, taking on board the unique nature of this crisis and what its impacts are on the day to day lives of consumers.

As with other elements of the business ‘mix’, when it comes to marketing, there are huge challenges right now (ie no customers/changes in spending habits). On the plus side, there are also opportunities from a brand and profile perspective. It’s worth remembering that the wheels of the communications industry will keep turning whatever, and what’s more, it’s hugely important to make sure you adapt your marketing strategy to fit the situation to ensure the long term success of your brand.

One big plus for marketers is the massive increase in online audiences. As people are driven inside and away from the high street, consumers are predicted to spend more time online. Whether they are browsing or shopping, the reality of coronavirus is an increase in online traffic and also in online engagement. So now isn’t the time to abandon your digital presence, but instead, focus on bolstering your online strategy to take advantage of this increased traffic.

So, what do we suggest?

Review and re-allocate your marketing budget

With the introduction of social distancing and the widespread cancelling of events, it’s time to audit, then if appropriate, re-distribute your marketing budget to better suit the current situation. Our first suggestion would be to re-channel your experiential and events budget and put this into remote marketing channels. Be flexible with your budget. It’s a harsh reality but events just won’t be as effective in the current climate. So get creative and think of new ways to market your brand remotely.

What do we mean by remote marketing? Essentially, it’s anything that can be accessed by a consumer in isolation. For us, we see that as anything digital. Most importantly, your website and social media channels as well as all aspects of the digital marketing universe.

Re-evaluate your website

Now is the time to take a good look at your website and consider exactly how effective it is. Start with your website and ask the simple questions. How strong is the user experience? Does it need an overhaul? Is your brand message clear? Is your SEO on point? Does your use of imagery reinforce your overall brand message? These are all important questions to consider and review whilst monitoring the stats and using data to ramp up visits, dwell time and interactions. What’s the quality and effectiveness of your digital content? What is your current content strategy and pipeline – what could you entertain, inform and educate consumers with right now?

If you need help in answering these questions, that’s where our digital and content team can help. Contact us today for a consultation.

Maximise your presence on social media

With people spending less time in actual social situations, it’s obvious that social media use will sky rocket. With this in mind, regardless of the size of your business, you need to be present where your customers are. If you don’t have an Instagram, Facebook or Twitter… get them. If you don’t post often… make a change. AND most importantly look to either introduce paid social spend or increase your current budgets. With the current algorithms, paid social is the most effective way of getting your brand seen online. AND with more people moving online in the wake of corona, this is exactly where your time and money needs to be.

If you are looking for guidance with anything social, our social team’s wealth of experience can help you quickly revise and implement a new social strategy. In light of the current situation, our capacity and resource at this moment can help you to create content that will make your brand scintillate.

Think Virtual

Had to cancel the sales conference, the product launch or attendance at the main trade show? Why not explore the opportunities that exist through technology to deliver digital ‘virtual’ experiences to consumers and contacts? We may have had to call time on social interaction but virtual interaction is a massive opportunity at a time when your potential audiences are spending more time on screen than ever. We are already working on several creative virtual product launch briefs for clients that have had to cancel or postpone actual events – and the audiences for these are already proving highly receptive, interested to participate and be entertained and informed in new and innovative ways. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate that our clients are ahead of the curve and able to embrace the new challenges we face whilst looking to the future.

Think press coverage

We’re already finding that there are lots of opportunities to gain media coverage in print and online media. Where once, trade and consumer journalists, whose attention you had to compete with, against a hectic schedule of shows, events, launches, and meetings are now largely home-based with columns and pages to fill. By supplying these journalists with the copy, images, and opportunities they require, we are finding client press coverage is rising. Remember, freelancers especially need to keep producing material for their audiences as they are paid per article. And we are an important cog in keeping their ‘engines turning’.

Another plus point is that online audiences have dramatically increased as we work from home or are self-isolating. These audiences also have more time to engage and interact with the content produced – your shop may be closed now but you are still able to build your brand perception and profile and create desire for products that will be in demand once we return to some sort of normality. If you park this activity, for now, you are missing the opportunity to make brand gains in the downtime and make future sales in the uptime.

The Takeaways

Don’t let COVID-19 isolate your marketing, and don’t take your foot off the pedal – just adapt to survive and thrive. Be prepared to get creative and flexible with your budgets and explore the very real opportunities that are still out there in the digital arena. Use the time now to build your brand’s digital footprint – for investment in its long term success. Create and deliver more content and develop a substantial dialogue with your customers and potential customers.

In the current climate, it might be tempting to strip back but we would argue the exact opposite. These might be times of uncertainty, but for marketers, they are the perfect opportunity to reallocate, re-evaluate and then implement an effective online strategy.

If you need any guidance, insight or help with any aspect of your digital and social marketing, don’t hesitate to contact mary.k@brandnation.co.uk