What should be a brands approach to fight COVID-19 and the lockdown.

It has been more than 6 weeks, the corona virus pandemic hit our world. It hardly took 3 months to change everything upside down. When things started to take an ugly turn, now one expected it to completely stop every human activity. When all human activity have stopped it’s certain that economy will slide down drastically. Every person, every company, small or big, and as a whole every country is hit hard economically. But this is the time humanity unites to show our strength and to save our world from going deeper at the economy level.

Now as all sectors of business has been hit less or more, so no matter which sector you belong, you have to change your plans. Prepare a new blueprint or strategy for future to combat the pandemic to save your company. It’s important for all of us that instead of sitting and waiting for things to get back to normal we start working and adapting ourselves to this situation and living like this, since know one knows how long it will take for things to get normal.

The current outbreak of coronavirus poses a number of challenges for brands. Global growth rates have taken a hit. The change in consumer behaviour as they take protective actions against the virus is likely to have immense social and economic impact.

 

The short-term and long-term effects of the pandemic.

One of the immediate impacts of the pandemic is the scarcity of products and a disruption of supply chains. Now let’s see some of the short term and long term effects on brands.

  1. SOME WILL GAIN OTHER’S WILL LOSE

 The healthcare and wellbeing brands are likely to have better growth prospects in coming years with increased investments in healthcare and sanitation sectors. Goes without saying that these are the most challenging times for brand owners and marketers. Product launches have been deferred, malls and restaurants have downed shutters, movie theatres are closed, streets are deserted, and travel has come to a grinding halt.

But this is also an extraordinary opportunity for brands to engage with their consumers. As more and more people around the globe get locked up in their homes, brands have captive audiences glued on to their television or mobile screens consuming a lot of content.

In these uncertain times, brands are treading cautiously looking for the most cost-effective ways to deliver products and services. It may seem obvious to cut marketing spends, but that’s only a short-term solution that is bound to have long-term consequences.

 

  1. NEW TECHNOLOGY WILL EVOLVE

Necessity is the mother of all inventions. As events and conferences are experimenting with their online alternatives, there will be a need of innovation in the technological sector to enable business as usual.

Many brands are grappling with the need to equip their employees to work from home. While the marketing and branding agencies seem to be better equipped in this regard, the growing need for remote interactions during the pandemic will only lead brands into investing in developing better infrastructure for remote work.

Telehealth is now a reality where doctors can diagnose, treat, and operate patients without the need of the patient being physically near them.

  1. ONLINE CONTENT CONSUMPTION HAS BOOSTED WORLDWIDE

The COVID-19 pandemic is going to boost digital media consumption as people spend more time at home. The greatest beneficiaries are going to be the social media network brands as people turn to these platforms to connect with their loved ones or to access relevant information. Over the top  platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime are also likely to see rise in both subscription and view times as people seek news and entertainment.

  1. E-COMMERCE WILL EMERGE WITH A BIGGER SHARE

As physical shops close down and consumers try and avoid crowded stores, e-commerce is bound to grow. Consumers who usually prefer visiting the grocery shop personally but are practising social distancing at this moment will get onto online buying for the first time. At least some of them will find it convenient enough to stick around post the crisis..

  1. INCREASE IN DIGITAL PAYMENTS

We had already witnessed increased adoption of digital payment methods in India after the demonetisation phase in 2016. WHO has already recommended contactless payments to limit the spread of the virus through cash. In a do-or-die situation, consumers who would have otherwise continued with cash, are also likely to make the shift thus speeding up the adoption curve of these cashless payment brands.

Techniques to combat these challenges.

Now that we have shown what the problems are you would also need solutions, right? So let’s see what are the ways you can keep your marketing company thriving in this difficult pandemic situations.

  • Survival of The Fittest

The world is going to look different on the other side of COVID-19 as teams strengthen their muscles for creating engaging, targeted digital experiences for their buyers. Brands and companies that spend this time building end-to-end, personalized digital strategies are going to come out the other side with a huge competitive advantage over the ones that are simply adapting their live events strategies to virtual ones. Additionally, now more than ever, we’re seeing marketing teams adapt rapidly to customer retention and expansion strategies.

  • Transform into a Purpose-Led Brand

 

Quarantine and lockdown measures can help keep people safe and healthy. But don’t forget the impact on mental health on different age groups. While kids cannot go to schools or play, the earning group is worried about finances, and seniors who are seemingly the most susceptible to the virus are stressed. It is, therefore, important to engage and entertain people. In these times, if marketers can find innovative ways to ensure their services reach customers, it will go a long way in building lasting relationships.

  • Focus on Customer Experience More Than Ever

In worrying time likes these, brands must focus on instilling confidence in customers, by providing them with the means to cope with the situation, furnishing the right information, and going beyond to help customers. Being empathetic and prioritizing customer experience will help your brand stand out and help you build a loyal customer base..

  • Be Present in the Digital World

As people stay at home, time spent on their mobile devices, and online platforms is already on the rise. They are spending more time on OTT streaming platforms for entertainment, social media for connecting with the outside world, e-commerce portals for shopping, and so on. Although COVID-19 has disrupted marketing and advertising initiatives, we can expect marketers to keep their plans fluid and tweak their ad-spends to reach customers where they are.

  • Leverage Technology

 It has become a challenge to meet customer needs, and you must think about how best to serve customers with limited resources and social distancing constraints. Organizations, especially e-commerce giants are over-burdened with rising online orders, stocks running out, prioritizing essentials, and ensuring the health of employees and customers.

  • Anticipate Consumer Needs

Social distancing can lead to stress, boredom, anxiety, and a sense of loneliness. This makes it crucial to identify individual consumer needs and address them before it becomes a problem area.

During this unprecedented time, as consumers’ buying behaviors and media consumption change, it’s so important for marketers to understand these emerging patterns – as well as to anticipate consumer needs.

So these are the opportunities you have right now to make use of.

This pandemic has brought us opportunities to do things we didn’t in normal so enjoy this new environment and make use of the opportunities.

#1: Help others selflessly

Keep in mind, new customers means free trials… a large portion of free-trial users doesn’t convert into paying customers but still, the more trials you get in theory, the more paid customers you will eventually get.

 

With your website and business, consider what you can give away for free. Anything you can do to help people out is appreciated, especially during this difficult time. You’ll also find that it will drive you more visitors, which is a nice indirect benefit.

 

 #2: Paid ads are really, really cheap

The latest trend we are seeing is that paid ads are becoming cheaper. It makes sense because the way these big ad networks make money is through an auction system. They need small businesses to drive up the cost per click (CPC) for ads so that way the big, billion-dollar corporations have to spend more money on ads.

If you don’t have as many small businesses advertising (like we are experiencing now) there isn’t as much competition for the inventory, so the cost per click decrease. But the virus has been causing us to spend more time online, so much so that companies like Netflix have had to reduce their streaming quality to help. In other words, traffic on the web is up and there are fewer advertisers. This means ads are cheaper. Now we are also seeing conversions rates dropping in certain industries, but nowhere near at the same rate as the CPCs. When we average things out per industry and globally, we are seeing paid ads producing a much higher ROI than before the Coronavirus hit. Just look at the chart below. In general, clients have seen their ROI go from 31% to 53%. That’s a 71% increase in ROI. If you haven’t tried paid ads yet, you should consider it. If you do, consider ramping up as there is more excess inventory than there has been in years.

 

#3: Offer educational based training

If you are looking for a good opportunity, consider selling your audience educational based courses. With unemployment numbers reaching all-time highs, more people than ever are looking for new opportunities. Many of these opportunities are in fields like high-tech that not everyone has experience in. And, of course, going back to school can be expensive and is time-consuming. Plus, let’s face it… you can probably learn more applicable knowledge on YouTube than sitting in a college class for 4 years (at least for most professions). So, where do people go to learn? Any online education website offering very specific, niche advice and courses.

 

#4: Geography diversification

COVID-19 is a global issue. But it is affecting some countries worse than others. For example, South Korea has had better luck controlling the spread of the virus compared to many other countries. And countries like the United States and Italy have exploded in daily cases. With over 84,000 new cases a day and growing quickly, the spread of the virus or the slowdown of the virus can affect your traffic drastically. For that reason, you should consider diversifying the regions you get your traffic from. Through international SEO, you can quickly gain more traffic and be less reliant on one country’s economy.

Conclusion

Sadly, the next few months are going to get worse. The daily count of new Coronavirus victims is growing.

These are exceedingly testing times for brands. By the time the COVID-19 crisis is over, we will realise the real impact it will have on the way brands conduct their businesses as well our societies at large. From a personal standpoint, all you can do is stay indoors and practice social distancing.But from a marketing, business, and career perspective, you can make a change.

You should have more time now (sadly), so use it to your advantage. Put in the effort so you can grow, that way you’ll come out of the Coronavirus stronger.