The coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the world. In addition to the insurmountable pressure on global healthcare systems, companies everywhere are caught in the aftermath. From daily operations to public communications, it’s no longer business as usual. Most are left wondering how they should navigate the pandemic. Do marketers play a part, and if so, how?
Navigating the current climate is not easy, but as Richard Edelman puts it, a brand’s role is one of guidance. In other words, “solve, don’t sell.” Now more than ever, consumers are looking to brands to be a part of the solution. Surveys are already showing that consumers are trying new brands based on the level of support the brand is providing to the greater problem. Companies should remember that trust is often one of a brand’s core value propositions. Check out a full interview with Edelman above.
As we all are well aware, experiential marketing activations and all events recently came to a screeching halt. And while the impacts are no doubt felt at this moment, it does not mean the death of the brand activation industry. Agencies are putting their creative engines into overdrive with alternative ways to provide a human connection between brands and their customers.
A recent Campaign article featured experiential agencies within the United Kingdom and demonstrated how they were delivering brand experiences for brands during the quarantine. Paul Stanway, co-founder and creative director of XYZ, points out that this unprecedented isolation will significantly change consumer behavior. This makes it even more important to start preparing for life once we all start moving around again. Check out the rest here.
The need for brands to humanize has been a significant contributor to the rise of experiential marketing. Consumers want to see brands’ values align with their own. They want them to take a stand on social issues. And now more than ever, in a time of uncertainty, brands are judged on how they are handling the fallout from the pandemic.
Brands have made difficult decisions since the outbreak, often putting the health and wellness of their employees and customers before the bottom line. But many brands are going a step further and seeking to provide additional assistance wherever they can. For example, many brands in the fashion industry have adjusted their production capabilities to create masks and personal protective equipment.
The near-complete shutdown of gatherings across the globe has proved to be one of the biggest challenges event marketers have ever encountered as it relates to delivering brand experiences. But it’s not an impossible challenge to overcome. Brands and agencies are looking to creative ways in the digital space to engage with consumers and continue to build relationships.
The digital space is easily accessible and allows for many ways to bring people together. However, as the Google head of ads and YouTube events and experiences puts it, just because a brand can do digital, that doesn’t mean they should. She goes on to explore the key challenges that brands need to keep top of mind if they are considering digital events. Check out her full post here.
People making decisions based on another’s influence is the engine behind word of mouth, but it is also why both social media and experiential marketing are successful. Also known as social proof, this concept requires brands to understand why and how people are influenced.
But, thanks to social distancing, everything has changed. Few companies are delivering brand experiences or other marketing tactics as though business is proceeding as usual. This makes now a great time for brands to participate in conversations to find out how consumer outlooks have changed. This social listening helps brands pivot where necessary and boost social proof, which will hopefully lead to tangible benefits when things return to normal.
It may seem counterintuitive for brands to increase their marketing budgets, considering the unknowns that surround the coronavirus pandemic. Also, increasing your marketing budget at any time can be a hard sell, especially during a recession, but there is evidence that the payoff can be worth it.
According to Marketing Week, the benefits of increasing spend have to do with a concept called ESOV (excess share of voice). The idea is that, because a large number of brands will choose to lower marketing spend, there is less competition, thus an opportunity for increased visibility. And this visibility allows brands to have a head start when the economy starts to pick up.
Do you have any insights of your own that you would like us to share on a future Elevate Connect news roundup? Contact us! We’d love to hear from you.