Considering the current climate, we didn’t think the usual format of a monthly hack was appropriate, before addressing the situation at hand. Instead, we give our birds eye view on what we are seeing after spending many weeks assessing digital behaviours in this unsettling time.
To predict the ripple effect this global health crisis may have on marketing is difficult, as we don’t really understand the breadth and depth of the situation. In a piece of work completed in the China and US regions, it shows a strong shift towards businesses focusing on online marketing efforts for online services and products.
The one thing we must not forget at this time is, it is first and foremost a humanitarian issue and brands must be sensitive in their responses to avoid any brand equity damage. In context, content should reflect the changing times and consumer sentiment. Taking this utility approach to promotion, will better connect.
For those brands leveraging digital media and those looking for ways to promote your business during quarantine, we should consider the opportunity. Digital socialising is on the increase as we practice social distancing and more people are at home for what could be a short-term situation or longer, we don’t have that foresight at this point. Businesses would be well placed to revise their online marketing strategies during this quarantine, it is a great time to audit your assets, messaging and other content and ensure it is aligned to the situation and authentic in playing true to your brand value and tonality.
Above all, winning a share of voice at this point in time, supports a longer term recovery plan. Indeed, this could be as great time to prompt brands that are in need, to innovate. Brands searching for Marketing ideas for small business this Covid-19, should consider the temporary opportunities, as well as those that arise through the emergence of new norms that establish as we emerge from the crisis.
With our clients they are sitting in three buckets. 1. Business is peaking. They are eCommerce or offer online services and they have products/services that are in demand (fortunate ones) 2. Business is a little flat or taking small dips. They are eCommerce or offer online services and have products/services that are considered non-essential. 3. They are service based bricks and mortar and hard hit.
If you are a (1) then go get ‘em and make sure you keep respectful of the current sentiment, you are keeping our economy going, we love you for this.
If you are a (2) then you need to be focused on two key things. The first being content and ensuring you’re adding value in this time, including any incentives you can add to your product or service to the consumer, to increase the opportunity of landing in their consideration set and ultimately making purchases, during this time. This is not business as usual; this is unprecedented times and discounting and seemingly evergreen sales are not going to affect negatively your brand equity. They will do the opposite, if coupled with the right messaging strategy. We have seen this change in strategy work successfully over the last 2 weeks. Businesses that thought they were on a downhill trajectory curve are back northward. This makes us so damn happy and the exhaustion worthwhile.
The second being growing your share of voice and completely engaging your community, without expectation of the sale to follow immediately. This will undoubtedly set you ahead of the pack when all this uncertainty passes. And it will.
If you are a (3), my heart shatters for you. The scariness of seeing everything you have worked so hard for, dropping to its knees is something you just can’t prepare for. I have spent endless hours on the phone and working on pivot strategies for my client’s sitting in this bucket. From a marketing perspective you need to pivot hard and fast to try and keep afloat during this time. I have seen it in action with success, from cafes and bars to hair salons. It can be done, but it is about getting the bandwidth and clarity to be able to think with this vision. Reach out to all those around you, collaborate, brainstorm. #weareinthistogether. We are personally working with our clients by providing “relief packages” should they want to remain with one foot in the market. We are also working hard brainstorming options for pivoting and considering how they can move anything online. And finally, we are putting in extra hours to support them, at no charge, in content creation. This is categorically one of the most important marketing arms to focus on during this time. The value you provide now to your community and beyond, is what will lift you back to success when the dust settles.
For a quick 2 minute check list you can consider before you share any content or messaging, check the following:
- Is it sensitive to those who may be suffering at this time?
- In sharing challenges you may be facing, is it still positive and show your commitment to your customers over the short and long term?
- Does it validate how your customers may be feeling right now?
- Is it solutions focused, rather than just sharing the problems?
- Will it build loyalty and trust within your customer base that you have their back?
- Wherever possibly promote things to do online, virtually, show flexibility and resilience.
Be aware of business scams this Covid-19, but above all, please consider your health and wellbeing during this pandemic. A good friend of mine who owns a rather large Media Agency sent me a message this week and it said, “When you are trying to save the world, but you can’t save yourself #wrecked”. It is a stark reminder that there are many business owners out there stopping at nothing to future proof everything around them – staff, business, income – but none of this can be done if you aren’t looking after yourself first.
Stay safe and healthy.