What we learned about marketing in the height of the pandemic that brands should apply post-Covid-19
So much as changed in such a short space of time and it is clear things won't be returning back to ‘normal’ anytime soon. To help brands navigate the transition to a post-Covid-19 world, we looked at what key marketing trends have emerged during the pandemic that businesses should be aware of and adopt in their post-pandemic strategy.
STAND FOR SOMETHING
Consumers are loyal to and will reward brands with values. They are now voting with their wallets for the type of world they want to live in, by making conscious decisions to economically empower the businesses that advocate for a better world, care about the people in it and ultimately align to their values.
Brands should ensure values are communicated within their brand messaging, as this aids to build connections with consumers, thus encouraging them to spread a positive sentiment plus increases the likeliness of being forgiven for missteps. A purpose and people before profit strategy is a winning strategy to speak to a new wave of conscious consumers. Stand for something, or your consumers will find a brand that does.
CONTENT AND DIGITAL STORYTELLING IS KING
Whilst the world was brought to a standstill as a result of lockdown, the power of digital as a facilitator of communications, connections, content and storytelling was reinforced. With no access to production studios, digital storytellers (content creators and Influencers) proved to be valuable storytelling, awareness and content generating assets to brands from the comfort of their homes. These creatives have also helped to connect brands with their audiences, bring a sense of entertainment, levity and normality to them. Influencers should be an integral part of a brand strategy to maintain communication with consumers during this transition and post-Covid.
COMMUNITY IS THE FUTURE OF COMMS
Several studies show that group membership and social belonging is important to humans' sense of meaning. With the revolution of digital, it has made it more feasible to connect with people across the globe and access spaces and individuals who share our interests. It is no coincidence the usage of social networking platforms and communication tools such as Zoom shot through the roof at the start of the pandemic as “staying connected” was a theme which prevailed throughout quarantine. Whilst other traditional marketing tactics were paused due to lockdown limitations, one thing was clear, brand communities were still thriving and seeking communication, connections and content. Savvy brands swiftly changed their strategies to Digital PR and community-centric initiatives whilst slower players had to learn how to listen to the needs of their community and open opportunities for meaningful two-way conversations with them to keep them engaged and loyal.
Bringing people together online and offline, especially in times of crisis is a proven successful strategy that brands should adopt, as society navigates a new normal post-Covid-19.
THE POWER OF UNITY
In these unprecedented times, there wasn't a corner of the world Covid-19 didn't affect. For the first time, everyone was facing the same issues, struggles and able to relate. The theme of collaboration and coming together proved effective in helping others and driving positive change. From working together to 'flatten the curve' to millions of people of all backgrounds across the world supporting the Black Lives Matter movement to fight racial injustice, people are now aware of the immense power an individual voice or action can have for the greater good.
For businesses, this means an increase in being held accountable by their united consumers to do better. Brands can use this to their advantage to take heed of what people care about and use their platforms to support the change, unite with their community, be transparent to earn their respect, listen to the conversations and look inwardly.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY CAN NO LONGER BE AN AFTERTHOUGHT
Lockdown provided a ‘no escape’ zone from horrific news, world problems and injustices, forcing important global conversations around racial inequality to take place. The tragic death of George Floyd, one of many tragic cases caused a ripple of global Black Lives Matter movements. Non-Black people were forced to confront White Supremacy, White Privilege, and different forms of structures of racism prevalent in society - people took the time to educate themselves, unlearn and look inwardly.
Businesses were forced to look at their internal structures and external contributions to racial injustice and set out clear commitments for change.
As we move forward, Diversity and Inclusivity can no longer be an afterthought or tick box exercise, businesses must incorporate this in their values, actively educate their workforce, create inclusive brand narratives and become ambassadors for racial diversity.
Consumers have joined in chorus to demand more from the brands they invest in, with research now showing that the diversity and inclusivity in a brands marketing and communication is increasingly becoming an important consumer purchase decision factor.
People want to see themselves in the brands they love and feel welcomed. Businesses need to make internal changes to ensure the people constructing diverse narratives do not reflect one single perspective.
It’s safe to say the world won't be the same as society adapts to a post-Covid-19 phase. Whilst we are still very much in the middle of a pandemic, there are several learnings and trends that businesses can take from the crisis to strengthen their positioning in times ahead. See a recap below:
Stand for something or your consumers will find a brand that does
Content is king, so is the power of Digital Storytelling
Community is the future of communications
There is power when people unite
Consumers are not afraid to hold businesses accountable
Brands who put purpose and people before profit will win
Diversity and Inclusivity can no longer be an afterthought
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