If you’re in the communications field or own a small business, you might be thinking: What should our brand be doing for marketing + advertising right now? Endeavor, the downtown coworking community for creatives, asked several of its agency members what advice they would give to businesses for marketing or advertising during a crisis like COVID-19.
1. Name: Ramon Nieves-Lugo
My advice will be to live in the future, learn from the past. What I mean about this statement, is to learn how brands and companies have reacted to similar situations in the past and plan for a high demand once the virus outbreak settles down. At UMG, we believe this is an excellent opportunity for the following:
• Re-evaluate current marketing strategies
• Position your brand now as a true partner in the community
• Develop your marketing program to gather and grow your first-party data so that your brand will be future-proof
The last point is very important because, with the increase in privacy laws and Google removing third party cookies from their web browser, more brands and companies are going to rely on their first-party data. During this down-time, work with your agency to establish the first steps toward gathering and owning first-party data.
2. Name: Josh Lane
Title: Partner, Director of Account Strategy
Agency: Ferebee Lane
“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”
No matter the brand and the unique circumstances presented during the crisis caused by COVID-19, this quote from economist Paul Romer has always been a universal truth. Applying it to this current situation, the brands that will not only survive but also thrive after the crisis passes will have done so because they recognize this current reality can offer up as many opportunities to build the brand as it can to damage the brand.
For health care organizations, it can be a time to build trust and credibility. For other brands, it may be a moment to be quiet and reallocate resources to long-term planning efforts that traditionally get compromised. For all brands, it should be an occasion to assess how the brand is navigating this current situation – was it prepared, is it too reliant on a particular revenue stream, was it too slow to react and communicate effectively to current customers. Or maybe it’s a realization that the only way for the brand to continue is to innovate. No matter the situation, it can be a much-needed wake-up call.
This may sound unrealistic and painful if a brand is just trying to survive. Even for those struggling brands, however, if they want to exist long-term, then they must adopt this perspective. COVID-19 has given them no choice, but ultimately a brand can be stronger if it can act on the opportunities present within the challenges caused by this crisis.
3. Name: Bo Rogers
Title: Senior Vice President of Client Services
Agency: Infinity Marketing
- Marketers should be taking time right now to pause and reflect on their marketing strategy, as well as the current state of the marketplace. Adjustments will be needed for a variety of reasons, spanning from the state of a brand’s local market and trade areas, to the affect this crisis is having on their specific target audience segments.
- Media consumption will continue to increase and consumer behavior will change. We are anticipating increases in linear and streaming TV consumption, social media time spent and increased dual screen consumption (watching TV with mobile device in hand). Consumer spending is likely to decrease. Campaigns developed months or even weeks ago will not have the same impact on customer journeys and sales funnels they were originally designed. Campaign expectations must be reset and strategies adjusted.
- Consult with your marketing agency about what their other clients are considering, as well as what data/trends their partners (Google and Facebook, for example) are experiencing and sharing. This situation is going to keep changing quickly and is likely to create disruptions across industries for the months to come. Marketers are going to have to continue to navigate nimbly as this crisis changes consumer behavior in a variety of ways (time spent online versus restrictive movement offline).
4. Name: Ben Pettit
Title: Founder & CEO
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Many businesses strive to be a success but don't stop and think, "How could I be of value instead?" STORY believes drive, determination, and motivation are better served coming from a place of providing value to those around you. We believe in striving to provide value, sharing your knowledge and providing support. From there, you will find that success will follow.
It’s time to narrow your scope of work and broaden your targets. At STORY, we like to think about marketing as a naval radar in battle. When times are good, it’s easy to see and hit the ships (generating activity), but when times are bad, it’s harder to see the boats on the radar, and there are fewer ships overall. The best course of action is to focus on one product/service offering (narrowing the scope) that has broad appeal across multiple audiences (industries, people, places). Many companies have myopic thinking that the advertising budget is the first place to cut and it actually might be the first place to expand. Lastly, don’t forget about the submarines hiding under the water; in other words, get creative.
5. Name: The Team at Crawford Strategy
Agency: Crawford Strategy
Last week, our team moved quickly to help many of our clients shift their messaging and tone while still remaining active on social networks. The travel and hospitality industry is certainly feeling significant impacts right now. For the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, which promotes travel to the NC Smokies, our team developed a creative and relevant new way to showcase the area while clearly not asking people to visit right now. In these uncertain times, we can all use a refreshing moment of pause every now and then. So, on Saturday we launched the first of a new video series that was shared as a moment of natural serenity in a feed full of chaos – Your NC Smokies Moment. The first video features butterflies on a creek shore and has already been viewed nearly 900 times on Facebook and more than 1,000 times on Instagram. We think that’s a good start, but we want to do more. And so, as we roll out the video series, we are also actively working on more ways to brighten the days ahead for each person in our client’s online community.