The pandemic has brought a global scale of uncertainty that has affected every single business. Beyond the health risk management and rapid digitization of their operations, businesses also needed to consider how their response would affect customers. Customers build emotional connections to brands. An Accenture report shows that up to 43% of customers are willing to walk away when the brand’s actions on a social issue don’t meet their expectations. The COVID-19 pandemic accentuates the need for a clear and positive brand purpose. Brand marketers are at the heart of business survival in a global crisis. The pandemic is highlighting for customers the difference between the brands that do the right things and those who fail to act upon their values.
Brand marketers are crucial to preserving and asserting the business reputation. Businesses thriving during a crisis have succeeded in the creation of an impactful strategy that can tackle both the health crisis and the audience heightened emotional state.
They promote a solution
According to the latest edition of Deloitte CMO Survey, companies have redirected almost half of their pandemic marketing budget to social media and mobile activities. Social media activities contribute to preserving the company’s performance during the pandemic. Marketers have used social media as both a retention and brand awareness tool, maintaining their communication with customers. In the US, brands have utilized social media and mobile spending to communicate their commitment toward a solution. Ford redistributed its content across multiple platforms, making social media the home of their “Built to Lend a Hand” and “Built for Right Now” advertising aimed at customers.
“[…] It’s a critical time that calls for action and cooperation”
Andrew Georgescu, Head of Content Marketing US Ford
Walgreens created short and information videos converted into email campaigns and social media content to answer COVID-related questions and fears. They pushed online care services and drive-thru testing access across the online community.
They address customer concerns
The pandemic has seen the rise of panic-driven and anti-social mass decisions, which led to a shortage in food, toilet paper, and hand gels in stores around the world. Most stores were forced to introduce shopping restrictions, both online and offline.
Brands, such as Cottonelle, one of the world’s largest toilet paper roll producers, seized the opportunity to advertise understanding, community care, and generosity to the audience. The campaign #ShareASquare encouraged donations to those in need with the charity United Way.
“We believe our customers have no shortage of kindness.”
Arist Mastorides, family care president Kimberly Clark North America, Cottonelle’s parent company
McDonald’s Philippines shared videos to show the precautions taken by their staff on-site, addressing health fears. The video campaign established the brand as a community partner, looking out for its team and its customers. It is one of the many brands that reached out to health advisors, such as Carlos Ramirez Safety expert, to adapt to the post-pandemic environment without compromising the quality of service.
They bring people together
As lockdown, self-isolation, and quarantine hit around the world, brands such as Guinness designed campaigns encouraging people to stay at home. The brand encouraged everyone to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day safely by sharing a message of resilience. Combined with donations, Guinness pledged to support hospitality workers and their extended community with $1 million through their Guinness Gives Back Fund.
It is critical for brand marketers to strike the right tone. Creative strategies used digital and multi-media marketing to provide a solution, reassure, and support customers and the community during the pandemic, hence maximizing the brand’s resilience to the crisis.