Planning Marketing During COVID-19

by Kedet | August 5, 2020

Welcome to Part 2 of a 3-part blog series on COVID-19.

This blog series is derived from a webinar we hosted in June with Hangar18 Design Continuum called, “Navigating Marketing Through COVID-19: Then, Now, Next”.

In Part 1: “How COVID-19 is Changing Marketing”, we discussed consumer trends and how brands should plan about their budget.

In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at what you can do now to plan for marketing during COVID-19.

Topics we’ll cover:

Put Society & Community First

NOW is the time to “help more”. It will pay social dividends immediately now and also down the road. There’s no doubt that it takes a lot of effort to build a good name. People more than ever want to vote with their dollars and support a good company that aligns with their values.

Tip: Look closely inwards, understand the enormous value of your brand image. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive nor expensive to do it right. Do the little things that matter to enhance your reputation and turn it into a competitive advantage. Ultimately it will trickle down to loyalty — which is what we all strive for.

In recent months, almost all of us have been socially-distancing but through that, we’ve found ways to connect with each other, online, on the street (six feet apart), on the phone, on message. In order to understand what “society-first” means we should practice these three things:

Be Community-Focused.
Show you care and don’t be afraid to say it. Show that you’re proud to be part of the community!

Be Positive.
People need hope and spend time with those that are more positive

Ask Yourself: How Can I Help?
Take the time to listen to your audience and plan accordingly.

What Should My Creative Look Like?

We are living through a global public health crisis. It’s a time filled with fear of the unknown, concerns for our own health and the health of those closest to us, as well as billions of people we don’t know, but whose fate is intertwined with ours.

Look inwardly to your brand strategy and what you were saying pre-Covid, and then think about how to adjust your brand voice/brand personality/ brand message. Your brand has to be sensitive to the new environment that COVID-19 has steered us into.

Refer to your brand essence:

    • What drives your company?
    • What emotion does it make people think of?
    • How can you continue to leverage that, and show care?

    Demonstrate that you care, by relating to the moment. Remember to spread positivity and don’t be afraid to make it more real.

    During strict social distancing lockdown, A&W ran a TV spot commercial and it really stood out to us. It was bare bones yet compelling. The A&W spokesman featured in their usual commercials was delivering an ultra simple cell phone selfie video.

    It made the audience feel that, wow, we are all in this together and ultimately feel good about A&W as a company!

    As you can see, it’s a tough time, so please remind yourself that this is not the time of hard selling. Instead, consider volunteering or collaborating with a local charity and making a positive impact in your community. Show that you care through your actions. Remember, your target audience is shopping around for companies that show positive reinforcement in the community.

    How Do I Stay Positive and Transparent in My Creative Communications?

    • Communicate openly and honestly
    • Keep it real. Keep it simple.
    • Tone — does the tone of the creative match the context of the situation? (no need for a cool tempo track)
    • Demonstrate that you care/relate to the moment and in your own way, spread positivity.

    Why Should I Engage in Paid Media?

    There are three main things we need to focus on when considering investing in paid media: flexibility, control, and visibility.

    Consumer spending trends are shifting fast and drastically and COVID-19’s “new normal” is changing too, paid media is flexible to adapt. Unlike traditional media, digital ad format doesn’t lock your investments in. You’re able to switch and tweak your campaigns to best optimize for the current situation. This gives you control to make adjustments quickly to mirror your consumers’ demand.

    Because of the social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we are seeing increased engagements of consumers on various channels:

    Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

    What Channels Should I Invest In?

    In the previous section, we saw large increases in the amount of web browsing time, tv watching, social media and other social channels, and news sites.

    Did you know that since COVID-19 started, desktop usage is up over mobile?

    • Facebook +27%
    • Netflix +16%
    • Youtube +15%
    You should focus on channels that:
    • Have sophisticated metrics that allow you as the marketer to see in real-time the detailed results of campaigns
    • Don’t necessarily need a large financial investment to see good results
    • Attract high-interest consumers with high-conversion potentials
    • Have geo-targeting capabilities
    Social distancing has resulted in a rise in interactive channels. The recent trend shows that Interactive channels are outperforming traditional display channels:
    • Twitch: +19.7%
    • TikTok: +15.4%

    These channels in particular tend to be focused on younger demographics, but the statement of increased interactivity can be broadly applied.

    Wondering what channels your business should be investing in? See our blog, “How to Choose the Right Advertising Channel” or, simply contact us today!

    There you have it for what you can do in the “now” through this pandemic when it comes to marketing. Head on over to the last part of our COVID-19 blog series, “Post-COVID-19 Marketing – What to Expect?

    Don’t forget to stay safe and be kind!

    What Have We Learned?

    • There is no better time to help more than NOW. Don’t forget to be positive, community-focused and think about ways you can contribute to your community. This will pay social dividends in the short-term and foster brand loyalty in the long-run.
    • Evaluate your brand strategy In this time of the unknown, your brand should be sensitive to the new environment. How can you demonstrate that you care without hard-selling? Communicate honestly, keep it simple and real and spread positivity.
    • The reason why we should invest in paid media is because it has flexibility, control and visibility. It allows us to adapt, unlike traditional media where your investments are locked in.
    • Since social distancing started, we’ve seen an increase in desktop usage compared to mobile. Take some time to review the consumer trends to best determine what channels to advertise and be active on.
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