5 ways to support marketing during Covid19
Updated: May 8, 2020
“The human race built most notably when limitations were greatest and, therefore, when most was required of imagination in order to build at all."
Frank Lloyd Wright - famous writer, educator and creative architect.
Supporting your business during Covid19
While all brands and industries require very different and tailored forms of tactful marketing, we at Outsourced imagination have created 5 ways to support marketing during Covid19.
Times of uncertainty
There is no question; this is a time of uncertainty for almost every business across countless industries throughout the globe. The world has become one giant ship, and together, we are embarking on a journey into a new era of the unknown.
#Covid19 does not discriminate in any sense. Gender, colour, religion, job role, income are all insignificant in the pandemic that is sweeping our world causing havoc in our daily lives, escalating concern for loved ones and pushing the boundaries of businesses, large and small.
Whether you are located in London, New York, Indonesia, Singapore or Scotland, we are all facing a time of great significance. Now is when the human race is challenged by little predictability and plenty of limitations. But as prescribed by Frank Lloyd Wright, such limitations present opportunities for us to rise up and create something spectacular.
Despite all that we face, it’s possible that with empathy, collaboration, embracing purpose and mindful marketing, a plethora of fresh opportunities await.
1. Now is the time to pause & review your current marketing campaigns
If you haven’t done so already, there is no better time to pause and review your current marketing communications. This does not in any way mean dissolving your marketing team or suspending your marketing activities, on the contrary, use this time as an opportunity to consider your current communications and start thinking about your long-term goals.
Most importantly, take this time to dig into your data, discover if your marketing to date has been successful and focused in the right direction. What has been most effective for sales, business growth and brand awareness, and what hasn’t? is there an opportunity to develop better marketing tactics?
During the current climate it’s especially important to be conscious of ‘what’ and ‘how’ you communicate. The market is volatile and consumers are sensitive. If you’re continuing to blast your audience with irrelevant offers or thoughtless gimmicks across social media, not only could you be wasting your marketing budget but you may be disconnecting your brand from your customer.
Senseless marketing can cause long term damage so make sure you carefully review your current messages. Press pause on marketing campaigns or posts that may already be in your pipeline if they’re not benefiting your audience.
2. What can you do for your customer and business during COVID-19?
Times of uncertainty call for authenticity. People are searching for reassurance, not a sales pitch. Our minds are flooded with higher states of fear that stimulate fight-or-flight mechanisms and challenge our ‘regular’ way of thinking.
Smart businesses understand that now is a time for empathy, compassion and to be part of a global community. It’s also important to remember that people are built to survive through highly stressful situations; these turbulent times will pass, but what you do in this moment will leave a lasting impression.
For the majority of businesses, budgets are going to be tight (or even severed). So instead of thinking ‘how can I sell?’ask, ‘how can my business be of service during COVID-19?’. Do you have a product or service that others will value at this time, and if so, can you offer a hearty discount or give away for free, at least for a while?
On 23 March, Chris Hemsworth announced he would be giving users 6-weeks free access to Centr, his personalised health and fitness app. The brand increased their 7-day free trial to 6-weeks in a bid to help people at home stay healthy and active. The initiative came after the closing of gyms and leisure centers in Australia.
Shine Distillery & Grill in the United States began making and giving away FREE hand sanitizer. The product was offered not only to their customers, but to anyone who visits their distillery. The neighbourhood initiative was picked up by CNN's Don Lemon alongside a host of other media. Watch the full interview here>
AirBnB pledged to help 100,000 healthcare providers, relief workers, and first responders around the world. The group and partners are supporting the healthcare community by providing clean, convenient places to stay. The accommodation offer allows workers to be positioned near patients while staying safely distanced from their own families. AirBnB are creating a network of hosts in conjunction with raising donations to support organisations such as Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Even if you don’t have a tangible product or viable service to discount or give away, there are plenty of great ways to contribute to the world right now. Appreciating that travel is either limited or on hold, on 20 March, Visit Portugal launched their ‘Can't Skip Hope’ campaign designed to uplift viewers.
The creative team rewrote their tourism story by reworking previously filmed cinematic footage into a short 2-minute video. After launching on YouTube, positive responses came flooding in, with one viewer commenting: “Beautiful expression of unity, hope & a sense of higher purpose. Bravo Portugal & blessings to us all.”
3. Reevaluate your position & if you can, diversify!
At this point in time we can only speculate on what the future is going to look like. We may assume that everything will go back to normal, or perhaps we discover an even better version of normal.
Although no one can accurately predict what will happen after coronavirus is a thing of the past; what is within our control is how we react to the current environment.
There are plenty of brands starting to play the long game and using diversification to keep themselves front of mind by offering some form of contribution while connecting with consumers on a much deeper level. Could you ever have imagined that one day luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton would swap making perfume for hand sanitizer?
The ability for brands to diversify - and diversity quickly can create bountiful opportunities. You can not only generate ‘good-business’ PR but this is the perfect chance to add purpose to your business. Whether you’re uplifting humanity, building communities or contributing to the planet, there is no better time to reevaluate your position in society.
In the UK, independently owned hotel group Alexander Hotels are making their mark in the local community. The 5-star hotel chain just outside London, set up online grocery stores for households surrounding their luxury properties in Guildford, Kent, Sussex and Surrey. During these unprecedented times, the hotels have swapped their online spa gift voucher shops for online grocery stores selling local eggs, milk, and of course, toilet tissue.
Even Starbucks is navigating through COVID-19 with a new ‘to-go’ business model in their US and Canadian stores. And until 3 May, the coffee chain offers tall coffees to front-line responders at no extra charge.
Chef José Andrés from LA announced plans to transform six of his restaurants, including his New York site into community kitchens for those struggling during the pandemic.
If you are launching a new product or service, make sure it’s considerate to the climate and consumers. Misleading your audience or using the crisis to make a quick buck will very likely do your brand far more harm than good. Australian fashion label, Natalie Rolt received a negative backlash after releasing a new range of fashionable facemasks. Priced at AU $30 each, the high-end Australian womenswear label talked about the expert craftsmanship and claimed the masks were inspired by the heart of community spirit. However, the masks were not medically graded, therefore completely ineffective against a deadly virus.
Although the label did mention the lack of medical ability in their Instagram post, consumers were vocal about losing trust in the brand. Numerous comments poured in to demand that the brand should have been donating masks to healthcare workers rather than profiteering from coronavirus.
4. Embrace purpose led marketing strategies!
While we’ve touched on current marketing campaigns and possible diversification options during #Coronavirus, it’s critical for companies to continue to think ahead and plan their next marketing moves wisely. The landscape has changed and will continue to evolve in the coming months. Your previous marketing strategy may be completely obsolete or need serious adjustment. Thinking ahead while navigating through the global pandemic could propel your business into an even better position once the market stabilizes. There may be new opportunities with online sales, e-commerce or at-home solutions. This could be a great time to increase brand building exercises, expand your market reach, and work on streamlining your content strategy, social media marketing and digital presence. Perhaps there is more you can be doing locally, or an opportunity to demonstrate positive leadership to motivate and support your employees. Whatever direction is best for your business, keep in mind that purpose is a driving force for creating a successful business. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to develop an authentic brand purpose. Your purpose should lay at the heart of your business; it must go beyond making money and emotionally connect you with your customer. Adopting a #brandpurpose can support best practices, drive innovation, and guide meaningful purpose led marketing strategies. As a bespoke purpose-led marketing agency, Outsourced imagination helps businesses connect and market their brand purpose as well as pledging 5% of every invoice to the non-profit organisation charity : water. The money raised contributes towards bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
Recognising that budget cuts due to COVID-19 will have a direct impact on the people that charities and non-profit organisations support, Outsourced imagination is taking their belief in the power of purpose up a notch and reinventing the way they do business. From 14 - 30 April 2020, startups and small businesses can receive 1-hour of FREE marketing consultancy. In return for top-tier marketing support and creative insights, the agency is requesting nothing but a donation, no matter how large or small, to their charity partner, charity : water. You can find out more about booking a FREE marketing consultancy time-slot here >
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of good leadership and remain only physically distant!
While we don’t believe social distancing will disappear just yet, we do prefer to think of it as physical distancing rather than social. Communities are growing, and the world seems closer than ever, so we encourage you to continue to be positive and productive, especially in the workplace. While economic and personal circumstances may be radically different and increasingly difficult to manage, more than ever there is a need for effective, compassionate leadership. In these unsettled times, leaders must look closely at their own behaviour. Is there empathy coming from the top down or are leaders contributing to confusion and panic? The importance of good leadership is critically important and will shape how your business moves forward in the future. There are plenty of ways to support your team, from offering mindful practices and sharing more good news stories, to asking them to limit time on social media. Help your team manage their emotions, recommend health and fitness programmes they can do at home. Set structures, and why not find out more about your employees passions, perhaps some of your team are great musicians and would like the chance to showcase their skills to their colleagues during a virtual event to boost and strengthen team spirit. Creating internal communities, buddy systems and inviting team members to get involved in other areas of the business could keep them inspired and loyal. If you are planning to introduce purpose into your business, which may involve developing proactive programmes to support social, sustainable or environmental initiatives, getting your team involved is a great way to boost morale. Drawing their attention towards something positive and getting them involved can make your people feel empowered. Knowing they are contributing to humanity, can lift their outlook and strengthen their affinity as lifelong brand ambassadors. We hope you’ve found our blog useful and if you would like to find out more about Outsourced imagination’s purpose driven marketing services, click here > Stay safe, stay healthy. Thinking of you all during these times.
Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh