Normalcy is once again gradually setting in across countries as governments ease lockdown restrictions and business operations pick up. But what we have realised is that the new “normal” is nothing like what was before this havoc came upon us. The world has evolved – humans, businesses and even nature have come a great deal in the past 3 months. Considering this, what are the top 5 lessons leaders have learned to carry out relevant marketing in the post-pandemic era.
1. The Power of ‘First Mover Advantage’
Covid-19 was first identified in November when doctors started understanding patterns and realised the rise of a potential epidemic. Countries that acknowledged this fact, could prepare in advance and were able to control the spread. Those who did not, suffered.
Such is the case with all trends. They are like waves – you don’t know when they will hit you and what their severity is until you are caught in one. They disappear just like they come, in an instant. Those who identify them first are at an advantage.
However, this advantage is only realised to its full potential if it is acted upon with a plan. Merely identifying a trend is not enough. Marketers need to spot a trend and prepare a strategy around it in order to benefit from it.
It is not always necessary to spot it first. You can always catch up and flow with the tide. It just means that your marketing strategy would need to be only that much stronger and sharper, in that case, so as to steal the attention from elsewhere. Being agile about new emerging trends will help in developing relevant marketing campaigns that become popular.
2. Quick Action, Instant Gratification
Things are uncertain in status-quo which creates confusion and chaos among people. It is important to realise that in the current digital world, information can travel in seconds to millions of people at a click of a button. Hence, marketers and business leaders need to be swift in their decision making.
Be it an opportunity or a crisis, quick and smart action is what will yield desired results. Online Reputation Management (ORM) is a digital strategy most companies follow to ensure positive information travels in the world about their businesses and disaster management is done quickly, when necessary.
The Covid-19 crisis has forever changed the consumer market. With economic uncertainty, both for businesses and people, instant results and gratifications are most important. Marketers and business leaders need to introduce innovative ways to gratify their consumers, employees and society at large. Instant gratification is a great way to show your people that their trust in your brand is being noticed and appreciated. Such a communication goes a long way in building brand equity, which is much needed in status quo.
3. Be Empathetic and Sustainable
Give, give, give. And then give some more.
The consumer behaviour has evolved in the past 3 months. Attitude and mindset of consumers has greatly tilted towards sustainable living. Consumers increasingly prefer brands who are emotionally conscious and environmentally sustainable. For this reason, we see many major brands actively marketing their social and environmental initiatives – what we refer to as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in our business jargon.
Consumers expect brands to give back to the society and be empathetic towards prevelant issues. Giving back can be in multiple forms. Brands can create fundraising campaigns targeted towards a cause or offer their resources to assist in an ongoing crisis. It can be in the form of offering monetary benefits to employees or making services free-for-use by consumers. Giving back transcends any form of marketing as it creates a lasting impact on people – it will help develop brand loyalty and retention that goes beyond any value for a company.
4. Appreciate Co-Dependency
If the crisis has taught us one thing above any else, it is that we are all co-dependent in more ways than we realise. Businesses and individuals are all inter-related whether we like it or not.
Companies depend on their suppliers for manufacturing and rely on consumers for sales. Consumers need these brands to survive as they provide them with the products and services they need and desire. And principally, we all need the environment to always be on our side. It is crucial to acknowledge co-dependency in society as a reality we cannot escape.
Business leaders should realise that not many things are independent in a business. By this very nature, ripple effects are very common. Marketing strategies should be made post thorough analysis of the business environment to ensure positive reactions. Ignoring any variable or simply refusing to acknowledge can lead to negative fallouts that can be damaging to the brand image.
Marketers must recognise and respect these interdependencies to ensure that their marketing campaigns have the desired impact.
5. Never Back Down
Giving up is not an option. Things might seem bleak at the moment, but they don’t have to stay that way forever. Tough times test the true metal of a company – what it offers, its values and most importantly, its leadership.
While businesses worldwide have been impacted, things will eventually get better. After you hit rock bottom, the only way is the way up. Marketers should focus on positive messaging in their campaigns in times to come. An advertisement by a brand is not only the brands’ communication but is also an important tool in managing public sentiment.
Positive marketing will go a long way in maintaining an optimistic outlook in the society. The impact is deep-rooted and far beyond.
Because if the company is hopeful, so will be its people.