Consumer Marketing: Navigating the ‘new normal’
COVID-19 is impacting different parts of the world at different times in varying degrees. No matter the size of a business, what sector it’s in, and who its audience is, consumer marketing efforts will have changed dramatically over the last few months, and will continue to do so for some time to come as people figure out what the ‘new normal’ looks like.
Be of service to your consumers
As greater China move towards market revival, with social distancing rules relaxed and elements of life starting to feel normal again, COVID-19 still remains top of mind whilst communities continue to stem the spread and the story dominates news cycles. This is why it’s still important for brands to work alongside government efforts and support their stakeholders and communities in continued efforts to fight COVID-19. Brands that were of service early in to the outbreak have garnered brand-love, and now is a time for all brands to demonstrate purpose.
Understand the needs of your consumers and the communities in which you are present. Are your audiences now taking better care of their physical and mental wellbeing? How can your brand support them with this? Are they still concerned about the elderly in their community? Are there any CSR initiatives the brand could launch to benefit local care homes, for example?
If you’re doing work for good, it’s beneficial to let your audience know what you’re doing to help, but be conscious of the fact that many brands are doing the same. Think about how your actions and your message can stand out, consider what platforms this message is best shared via, who are you telling and why? To find out more about ‘information overload’, check out a previous insights article here.
Be emotionally aware
Brands need to be attuned to consumer sentiment and understand which phase of recovery their market is currently in, in order to communicate with their audiences in an authentic way that will be well received. Think about the language and tone of voice you’re using to speak to your audience, is it appropriate given the way people feel right now? It’s important that brands understand constantly shifting audience perceptions. If, for example, your audience is feeling positive and excited for the future, now might be time to speak more positively and share the brands’ plans for the future, such as store openings and product launches.
Ensure all internal and external communications channels and agencies are aligned on tone of voice and priorities. If there are different teams working on different channels, make sure they’re in touch and on the same page to enable consistency.
Adapt to a new way of life and new cultural norms
During the first half of 2020, people all over the world became familiar with the term ‘social distancing’, and work-from-home and school-from-home was and continues to be adopted by many households and families. Even with social distancing rules relaxed, consumer behaviour has adapted, and people still remain wary about being out in crowded spaces, so brands need to adapt to appeal to their audiences. Consumers are more digital than ever before. Ensure your brand is available online, on social media and is actively engaging with audiences.
Once the outbreak is largely contained, we’re likely to see certain types of consumers appreciate the physical, the outside and off-line activities like never before. If it’s relevant to your brand and fits with your ethos and personality, it’s time to start thinking about physical activations such as pop-ups, bricks and mortar, and small group community gatherings. It’s a balancing act that will differ from market to market, sector to sector. The right strategies will depend greatly on who you’re trying to reach, when, and what you have to offer to them.
Not only are brands in recovery, consumers are too
There will be changes reflected in people’s daily habits and consumption patterns. Brands that acknowledge and embrace this sentiment through their communications strategies and recovery planning, as well as use positivity and optimism as a business communications tool, can win hearts and minds as we move towards the new normal.