Brands worldwide have become cautious about their ad spend amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and are pulling back on promotions during this trying time. Meanwhile, they are also mulling the next appropriate step to take to ensure they remain afloat while not coming across as opportunistic. To help brands tide through this period and obtain clarity on what brands should focus their efforts on right now, Lion & Lion has come up with four strategies to adopt.
1. Fight the pandemic with brand purpose
Purpose is not a CSR message, neither is it a creative take on social distancing nor a discount on a service of product.
Instead, purpose is the brand in action, serving the people with frictionless solutions that help them brave this storm.
Quoting a survey of more than 35,000 customers globally by Kantar, Lion & Lion said 78% of them believe brands should help them in their daily lives. Close to half of (45%) consumers want to see companies adopt plans to protect the supply of services or products, while only 30% want to see brands offering discounts and promotions. Meanwhile, 19% want to see companies setting up call centres to help with customers queries.
2. Invest in brand actions to serve the community
A brand’s community is its biggest asset. Brands that choose to serve their communities will see their communities serving them back. Citing Zoom as an example, Lion & Lion said in the wake of the pandemic, the company removed its 40-minute limit for non-members and offered everyone unlimited access to its video conference service. By doing so, Zoom has become the most downloaded app on Apple Store, surpassing Facebook and Google Hangouts.
“According to various researches, consumers expect the brands they choose to look after their employees first and foremost, with 78% saying take care of employees’ health and 62% saying implement flexible working,” Lion & Lion added.
3. Maximise brand impact with new mediums
Consumers are being inundated with messages about COVID-19 messages on a daily basis, and brands are also racing to reach consumers with similar safety messages on social distancing and hygiene. As a result, marketers are faced with the challenged of cutting through the clutter and making an impact during the pandemic.
To overcome this, brands should not only invest in new mediums but also adapt their brand language to the grammar of new platforms to connect with audiences and create strong impact.
4. Develop helpful solutions via creativity
Quoting Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer report, Lion & Lion said a clear majority of consumers expect advertising to make a positive contribution to society. Most of them (77%) want brands to talk about how it is helpful in their new everyday life, while 75% think it should inform them about their efforts to face the situation. Meanwhile, 70% of consumers believe brands should offer a reassuring tone, while 40% said they “should avoid humorous tones”.
One good example is LVMH, which produced approximately 12 tonnes of hand sanitisers and distributed them free of charge to French authorities. This was done within 72 hours of the French government calling for help.
Steps brands can take now
Lion & Lion advises brands to go big with partnerships by providing a range of services, as well as partner with reliable companies to widen their audience and increase brand value. Companies can also consider planning a content distribution timeline, with topics following the current momentum.
In such trying times, content about appreciation to heroes go viral easily. As such, Lion & Lion said brands should try to find relevant occupations or angles that they can tap into to create online buzz. Besides showing appreciation to frontline workers, brands can also provide a caring and nurturing approach by understanding the basic human needs to create genuine content. “It will help the brand to increase relevance and audience stickiness during hard times,” Lion & Lion said.
Lastly, education about the pandemic can be conveyed in an engaging manner while not comprising on the urgency and essence of the message. Lion & Lion said this approach is effective in making the younger generation fully aware while reducing their anxiety.