COVID-19 the global disruption which kicked off 2020, the decade of vision and clarity set off a series of lifestyle and economic trends that very few of us saw coming. As the world grapples to come to grips with the reality of a real-life pandemic, marketers from every nation, industry and organisational structure are all faced with the same question – How do we survive this?
Like it or not, life for all of us has changed. As the boundaries to our everyday existence continue to shift hour by hour, we are all facing an overwhelming surge of uncertainty that remains unprecedented.
Whilst we have at our fingertips access to a library of traditional business principles that will always remain foundational to the structure of our strategic core, marketing through a pandemic is taking us through unchartered waters requiring a new, focused level of intentionality for sustainability and success.
The new ‘kiss’ principle
Realistically, no one really knows how long this pandemic or its effects will impact our lives and our businesses. Whilst the true measure of this disruption will not be known for years to come, minimising loss and maintain a long term, sustainable brand is something that we can all work towards now.
Keep Calm and Keep Going
Sounds simple, yet we all know that given the sudden and changing events of the past few weeks, keeping a real and subjective outlook on life at the moment is not so easy.
With Coronavirus (COVI-19) now dominating the very air we breathe, maintaining a calm and positive approach is something that we have to intentionally adopt.
More than ever, now is NOT the time to panic and drop the ball. Fear and frustration only lead to rash decisions which in hindsight always result in damaging and ineffective outcomes.
Keeping our eyes on our goals and maintaining a healthy and realistic mindset for the future is a must if we are going to be an organisation that rides this storm successfully.
Life as we know it may be changing but it will go on. As long as there are people with needs and wants, there will always be a market place, it may just look and operate a bit differently to what we are used to.
In the face of growing uncertainty, forward movement means being prepared and flexible. Thinking through and preparing for both the ‘best’ and the ‘worst’ possible scenarios and being willing and able to adjust and customise our marketing strategies in line with changing economic and consumer demands.
Whilst we have rarely had to live through a pandemic, as a global population we have had our shares of economic downturns and recessions, enough to know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
History has shown us that it is those organisations that retained their marketing and brand visibility throughout the downturn that not only survived, but more importantly effectively positioned themselves as growth leaders.
Invest in your Brand
We hear the word invest and we immediately think about our diminishing bank balance that is taking a direct hit from the devastation of the economic impact of COVID-19.
In times of uncertainty marketing spend is usually the first casualty as executives and managers take desperate measure to sustain financial viability.
Whilst slashing the marketing budget can give us an immediate sense of satisfaction, re-working our marketing investment to fund more effective models of operation will prove more effective and sustainable in the long-term .
We have already seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer purchasing patterns and dramatically altered our traditional supply chains, which in turn has had a sudden and impacting effect on our advertising and media landscape.
A rush on physical supplies both instore and online for products that sustain ‘basic human needs’ has not only crippled many industries, it has left other grappling to meet demand.
We know that it’s not only these immediate changes that will ultimately impact our long-term survival but the accumulated snowball effect that is to follow, that demands a shift in the way that we invest in our marketing and business development.
The strategies and tactics that we employ to grow our brand and customer engagement will ultimately determine how well we mitigate our risk and maximise our potential.
While there is no magic formula, here are some practical considerations that can get us moving into the right direction:
Customers first – Knowing and understanding what our customers are going through will help us to help them navigate this season. When making the necessary changes to our marketing mix our goal should be to enable customers to continue to engage with our brand during these shifting and uncertain times.
Remain visible –Regardless of our potentially shrinking marketing budgets, maintaining and building brand awareness demands continued visibility which doesn’t have to be an expensive financial cost. The explosion of digital media platforms has created a viable number of low-cost options that can help us to maintain a slower yet steady presence.
Be part of the solution – Amidst the sea of gloom and doom, deep down as humans we are all seeking a glimmer of hope. Bad marketing can be just as harmful as no marketing at all. The key to our success at this time is our brands ability to communicate a genuine level of care and creativity for our customers and our communities.
Staying up to date with the latest updates regarding COVID-19 across the globe seems to be dominating our every waking moments however staying informed is more than just keeping in touch with the latest trending news.
There is more information our there at the moment that we can humanly ingest. The problem we are all facing is not being informed but rather knowing where and how to decipher the right messages.
In order to make, clear and level headed strategic decisions, it is important that we access content that offers reliable and educated views and real time measures and analytics.
In place of making rapid and rash decisions it is more important in this process, that we all take some time out to review and refine our marketing strategies in light of the real market changes that are taking place.
Being armed with accurate industry, market place, economic and global insights, will help us all to problem solve for effective outcomes and give leadership during these uncertain times.
Strategize with Sensitivity
In an era where we are so globally interconnected, it’s incredible to think that each of us currently find ourselves somewhat isolated within a personal bubble of selfcare and protectionism.
One of the most unusual aspects of being caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic is the reality that the world is both a big and a small place at the same time.
The decisions that we make and the strategies that we implement over the next 3, 6 to 12 months will not only impact our own personal survival but rather the rate in which we help rebuild the markets and communities around us.
Sensitivity to the changing global landscape is a must as we broaden our possible sphere of influence and consider the needs of our neighbours both here and abroad.
With empathy and community at the forefront, we need to learn to think beyond our own immediate and short term needs and consider how our small contribution to the industry and market place that we operate in, can have a positive and lasting impact on the world around us.
From the comments we make on social media, to the content that we create and distribute across traditional and digital media, we have a rare opportunity during this very unusual season to strengthen and reinforce the our brand story, be it positive or destructive, that can ultimately become the catalyst to sustainable success.
Need help marketing through this pandemic?
At creative excellence, we understand the uncertainties that all executives and brand managers are facing at this moment and recognise the need for a calm and well informed strategic reaction.
We are passionate about building strong and sustainable brands and one of our key areas of specialty is maximising brand value through customer relevance and competitive distinctiveness.
If you’d like more information about how we can assist you in helping to strengthen your marketing resolve during this season, then please take this opportunity to contact creative excellence today.
As an Integrated Marketing Strategist with over 20 years’ experience in brand marketing, roslyn whately knows what it takes to keep a brand relevant, profitable and sustainable.