Among all the crises that have hit mankind since the invention of the internet, Coronavirus is the most devastating. And what’s more frightening is, this is just the beginning of the Covid19 disease spread. This is probably going to last long (I hope it doesn’t!) and brands need to re-align their internet marketing strategy accordingly.
I wanted to figure out the impact of Corona on any brand’s digital marketing. Should a brand communicate anything about the Coronavirus or stay silent? If yes, then what should be the strategy? Read on to understand.
Does your brand need active digital marketing campaigns during the pandemic?
Is it a ‘marketing opportunity’? No. It’s a matter of our existence. It goes beyond economics.
In a pandemic situation, most of the brands would prefer to stay away from active campaigning, unless it’s relevant for them. However, I would strongly suggest brands to stay active on digital platforms.
Because your customers are spending the highest amount of time on social media. We have seen 87% jump in social media consumption during lockdown (ref). Your customers are there – looking for more information, waiting to be entertained, seeking ways to stay motivated and consistently scrolling through their timelines. It’s time for you to gain visibility, of course with relevant messages.
So, what should be your message?
Definitely what your customers care about! Idea is to stay relevant, stay on top of the trends and communicate about their pain points. It’s time your brand should become their ‘friend in need’. It’s time they find solace in your brand’s company. Here are some examples of how some of the brands created unique messaging to stay atop the trends:
1. Offer free resources: Coursera and Udemy offer free educational courses knowing that people will invest more time in personal development. There are many Tech companies offering free resources – check the list here. So, if you’ve got something people would consume during lockdown, offer it for free.
2. Lockdown challenges:Amid lockdown, #21DaysChallenge has become popular on social media. Brands are giving innovative challenges to their audiences to keep them busy at home. Challenges related to fitness, cooking, studies, writing etc. are in vogue. If you can come up with an innovative challenge, it will definitely get a positive response from the audience.
3. Extend a helping hand:Let’s face it – it’s a hard time for everyone. It’s times like these when brands can show their human side. Rather than monetary donation, extending a helping hand to communities will matter more. For ex. OYO has offered to convert its hotels into quarantine centres amid the pandemic. Can you think of innovative ways to utilize your resources for the larger good? Create a campaign around it and promote it using digital media.
4. Spread awareness:Brands like Lifebuoy are encouraging people to use ANY soap to clean hands. Zomato & Amul have created a series of innovative social media campaigns to drive awareness about the issue and we all loved these. Even if your brand doesn’t relate to the pandemic, your audience does. It affects everyone and nothing should stop your brand from promoting awareness in a unique way.
5. Innovate your products / services:Liquor company Diageo has started manufacturing hand sanitizers instead of liquor products. Mahindra & Mahindra plans to create ventilators for Covid patients. Many restaurants have offered their facilities to help prepare food for the needy. If you can innovate your product / service offerings in such ways, your audience will love it & it will keep you at the top of their minds too.
6. Show how you’re dealing with Covid19:If your brand is setting an example by laying down employee guidelines, work from home policies, salaries & incentives for affected workforce and innovating its ways to fight Covid19, you must showcase it on your digital profiles.
7. Launch a knowledge hub:For b2b businesses, it’s tough to create digital communication – as their audiences are largely businesses. I personally feel it’s critical for b2b brands to stay active on digital platforms. For them, audience engagement is the key to success (& revenues too!) and hence, it’s important to take a thought leadership position in the midst of a crisis. Most businesses are looking for information related to: how it affects their business, ways to deal with it, insights and a roadmap for the future. A knowledge hub answering these questions will be the right way to engage with your audience. Here’s one such example by IDeaS.
What about monetization?
As a marketer, the ROI question will be first on your mind. Well, this situation is different – don’t think of monetization in terms of sales or revenues. Instead, think of ‘trust’ as your returns on marketing efforts. Afterall, ‘trust’ is the first step towards ‘sales’. The above efforts will help you in building trust with your audience. Admit it – your trust for the brands mentioned above has grown after knowing their commitment for fighting the pandemic.
Last words: Yes, it’s a time of crisis. It’s time you must step up and be sensitive & responsible towards your audience’s well being. So, don’t be afraid to communicate with them. Don’t stop at this article, we are ready to extend our helping hand in crafting a creative communication for your brand during this situation. Drop us a question now!