Coronavirus is an unprecedented public health crisis that has confined people to indoors and self-isolation. People are largely in the research phase so it’s vital to give them something to read or to give them a video to watch. Inspire them, entertain them, and give them useful content that leaves a positive impression on their post-pandemic buying behaviour.
To survive, businesses will need to adapt. They’ll need to find new ways to find, engage and sell to their customers. Today when the businesses are reeling under the fear of losing their brand value and market capitalisation due to their shrinking operations, less production and frequent shutdowns, PR has proved to be the best tool to come to their rescue by reshaping the marketing strategies for clients through more focus on content marketing and repositioning brands as ones that build empathy and solve some of the issues that the consumers would be facing.
My friend and Marketing Expert, Amar Wadhwa, Founder, CrystalEyes rightly explained in one of his recent articles, “PR is all the more important now as most clients other than those who are providing essential goods do not want to make significant investments in marketing. Also, in an environment where consumers are feeling scared and perturbed and with the rise in fake news on mediums such as WhatsApp, they tend to rely more on authenticated content by journalists and experts vis a vis advertising. At this point in time, all brands must think through their content strategy and should use PR strategically.”
Consequently, the demand for PR as the most cost-efficient and measurable ways for brands to regain visibility has increased manifold in the lockdown period and will continue to do so in the times to come.
We will see Brands eventually shifting their brand marketing exercise to content-driven communication since the content will gain more precedence, to educate consumers about how the brand can solve an issue in order to bring some value addition to their life and peace of mind. Traditionally, marketing communication has relied on entertainment to grab the attention of consumers but now there would be more focus on educating them and disseminating the information proactively so that consumers also know that their favourite brand cares
Though sectors like travel, tourism, hospitality, aviation etc are not the only ones which are bleeding in this global pandemic what customers want right now is peace of mind and that arises the need of Plan-B for many companies in these sectors. The fear of customers can only be turned into confidence by winning their trust through regular communication and educating them about the endeavours by companies to ensure safety and security of customers, which forms an essential part of marketing. This elevates the level of marketing from mere promotion to ‘need of information being circulated to larger group’.
Public relations has, in a nutshell, emerged as an indispensable tool for all the corporates to regain the lost ground as they know that they cannot stop marketing in times of crisis. As marketing and communication have become a critical need, PR firms are sketching fresh PR strategies which are the strategic combination of technological advancement, customer-centric approach and research-based selection of media platforms. Besides, they are running webinars, arranging for virtual press conferences to quickly help companies survive this unprecedented situation and re-energise them for the sustainability of their business.
By Nikhil Singhal, Founder, Vigor Media Worldwide