The news broke out in March when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. Since then the process of quarantine and isolation has begun. It has affected several businesses across sectors which is likely to create a long term impact on them. This has led to many retail and fashion brands cancelling or postponing their shows, launches, and seasonal collections. However ‘going dark’ in terms of communications is definitely not advisable as it can have an adverse impact on the brands image.
Marketing in uncertain times is indispensable; marketers curate strategies, alter it as per their needs and find best possible ways to resonate with their audiences. Every step has to ensure engagement and loyalty towards the target audience. Brand communications are imperative in unprecedented times and results in the uplifting or degrading the brand. In these challenging situations, digital has emerged as the most powerful platform for showcasing ones brand. As the lockdown encourages staying indoors and shutting all the shops, brands have geared up for digital sales. Brands with online strategies can be positioned best under the crisis clout and recover from the same.
During the quarantine, social media platforms have emerged as savior to bond with the target audience and create awareness. This crisis has created plethora of opportunities for brands to connect innovatively. One of the best example is #QuarantinePillowChallenge started by two influencers which was later opted by many celebrities and was all over the social media; or the designer masks created by designers, or even the no contact delivery that is opted by many food delivery apps. Several brands are advertising to showcase care, loyalty and continue to create relevant content that keeps the high momentum towards the brand.
Most Indian brands are advertising, changing their logos to promote social distancing, putting out TVC’s and Creatives on their social media handles, warning people about COVID19, social distancing and the extended lockdown. This can also be measured as an opportunity to bridge the gap between brand and its audience and keep the recall value among the consumers. Even the new Make in India initiative is a great space for local as well as Indian brands to increase their sales. The campaign #VocalforLocal has given brands an opportunity to promote their businesses by boycotting foreign goods.
Some of the strategies that can help brands or marketers during such crisis is the engaging content which has become the need of the hour to keep target audience updated and ensuring safety at the same time. Many brands have also used this as moment marketing and a way of striking the conversation. Brands are opting for online challenges to engage with their consumer with the help of influencer marketing, brand announcements, live sessions on social media and even by coming up with news campaigns and strategies.
COVID-19 is definitely a testing time for brands. What is going to define a brand during such times of crises is that how powerfully these brands emerge with strategically approaching their audiences with the help of digital, e-commerce and social media tactics that can come up as a warrior than before. Knowing your audience, taking efforts to understand their needs, and assuring the safety of products in unsettling times will help brands emerge much stronger than before as we all settle in this new normal. Keeping the sensitivity and awareness in mind, its better that as we enter the new normal, we think more from the consumer’s perspective and invest in the correct platform which might result in bringing great outcomes in the form of the brand’s growth.
Authored article by Sameer Makani, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Makani Creatives.