- The rules of engagement in the post-Covid world have changed and marketers are having to reinvent themselves.
- Ashwini Pable, Strategic Consultant Director – India & SEA,
bluemarlinwrites about what marketers should focus on now, to make sure consumers remember them, even once the pandemic is over.
People’s emotional reactions around the recession, pandemic and events that triggered social unrest in the recent months are altering consumer behavior. The result is a decrease in consumption, people saving more money, and elimination of non-essentials from their buying list. Fallout of these factors coupled with the rising unemployment
could be the loss of social capital, depression, and anxiety.
Consumers are literally striving to survive a physical threat to their existence and businesses need to build brands that communicate from a place of understanding and compassion.
Brands become Catalysts!
Brands have a critical role to play. They build demand on which hinges the health of any economy. Demand creates jobs. Jobs put money in the hands of people which they put back into the economy by making purchase decisions.
It might seem like a tall ask, but the onus to build a much needed positive wave lies with brands. That requires understanding the consumer pain points and changed behavior patterns as they evolve through the crisis. Consumers want to hear from brands across sectors and be the voice of hope and positivity. An online survey conducted by Opinium around the end of March confirms the same. The consumer perception of vocal brands was that they were handling the pandemic better.
As consumers look forward to drawing hope and a sense of normalcy from all possible sources, how brands respond during the pandemic will be remembered by consumers.
Stand for something: If there ever was a time to have an authentic brand voice, it’s now. Consumers today are empowered and have a voice. They want to be a part of something, and their buying choices are heavily informed by the social and global issues, fall-outs of which are extremely personal and immediate for everyone today.
Brands with a purpose allow consumers to collaborate and participate in something bigger than themselves and drives the hope of a better tomorrow.
In 2011, the outdoor-clothing brand Patagonia urged people not to buy their clothing during a Black Friday sale with an image of their jacket with the statement “Don’t buy this jacket”. They went on to list the strain the production of this one jacket puts on the environment and resources urging people with a “Don’t buy what you don’t need”
The ad attempted to educate the consumer that even a jacket manufactured following high environmental production standards, comes at a high cost. The repair, reuse, recycle belief that the brand stood with resonated with audiences willing to choose better, more ethical brands establishing Patagonia as a brand with a promise. Needless
to say Patagonia’s sustainable position tripled its revenue, rising to $750 million between 2008 and 2015.
A common denominator: Our most pressing needs are no longer a secret. If we weren’t before, we now know what matters. As do the brands. Uber’s initiative to offer the Uber Essential service during the imposition of curfew to facilitate necessary travel is a great example of how the brand uniquely met the consumers’ unmet need. The
unique aligning of our priorities is an opportunity for brands to get creative and stand out, becoming partners for the consumers through these times. A new product, service, solution, message, initiative, mobile kiosk, markdowns, taking a stand — anything that has an underlying empathetic vein, is certain to make the customer interaction deeper and build lasting brand loyalty.
Engage Engage Engage: Show up for your customers wherever your customers are at. Build your digital and social media presence. Take your business online where possible as the storefronts remain deserted. Seek feedback and build engagement. The ideas are aplenty—live stream product launches, create interactive content, start a how-
to series. Collaborate towards shared goals and turn your buyers into engaged customers. Turning buyers into partners in a common ecosystem is how brands build robust communities.
The world is set to very vividly get divided into the 'Pre' and 'Post' Covid era. Whether the dramatic jump between the two eras leaves brands more innovative, nimble, and engaging or pushed to the wayside, will be determined by how smartly brands utilize their marketing spend.