10 Learnings: Leading Through Adversity and Managing Complex Change During COVID-19

April 20, 2020

As a marketer, what’s the best strategy for steering your media and marketing programs through the uncharted waters of the global pandemic?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this question, our Consultancy team was able to lay out clear ways to approach a change as complex as this in a webinar event a few weeks ago. As the situation continues to develop, having the ability to take a humanistic view of your data along, with being flexible in your approach is more important than ever. Summed up briefly for you below, we’ve highlighted the top ten takeaways from the event.

1. There is comfort in familiarity. Staying top of mind now, and not just when things start to recover, is vital to protecting the health of your brand. Being dependable during these times will lead to a long-term positive association, rather than going silent or adapting your messaging in an inauthentic way. By staying present, you provide continuity.

2. Agility wins. Knowing why, where and how to shift media budgets is essential. Thinking about agile ways you can invest is imperative when things are in a constant state of flux. Biddable media which can be turned on and off within moments can be very effective for this environment.

3. Market orientation has never been more important. Being hooked into customer’s changing wants and needs will help you shape a winning strategy. The more you know about your consumer, the faster you can respond and evolve to fit their new needs. Your customers may look very different than they used to, based on what new or different channels they may be engaging with you through. Having CRM systems in place that account for this, and that help you understand and capture these new behaviors, is crucial.

4. Increase internal communications. Marketers must be able to respond to interruptions in supply and fulfillment. But first they need know about them. There is a direct link between marketing and the supply chain so it’s crucial that strategies are in place to monitor future stock volumes to manage disruption. To manage this dynamic, brands should invest in feed management to link media messaging to stock levels to ensure the right products are being prioritized.

5. Increase your share of voice online. Maintaining brand spend while others cut is an effective and efficient way to gain excess share of voice.

6. Improvements made to customer touchpoints, check-out processes, on-site performance and general conversion rate optimization will pay back now and even more so in the future. Customer experience goes hand in hand with the user experience on your digital platforms. Ensuring these are performing optimally is vital to ensuring a positive sentiment around your brand.

7. Look for opportunities to add value rather than cut prices. Instead of giving away margin, think creatively about how to add value for customers. Improving the purchase process, speeding up delivery, or engaging in relevant co-marketing is more likely to drive value.

8. Pivoting messaging towards at home activities to remain relevant. How is your brand relevant within the home environment? Nike’s message to “Play inside, play for the world,” is a strong example of this, executed in an authentic way.

9. Where it’s appropriate, don’t be afraid to reach outside your brand to do some good. Sometimes it’s about something bigger than your brand, and a global pandemic is an important time to give back and help. A strong example of this is several luxury brands making the shift to producing masks. This kind of act earns brand loyalty and respect that will certainly not be forgotten.

10. ‘The new normal’ is constantly evolving. Consumers around the world are starting to define their new normals; but what’s clear is that “the new normal” today may not be the same as tomorrow. Stay vigilant, stay adaptable, and stay open minded to your customers’ needs as they adapt to new ways of life.

As markets around the world continue to respond to the global health crisis, so too will marketers play their hand in navigating toward recovery. We hope these tips have given you a some insight into preparing for recovery and shifting towards resurgence in your markets.   

To access the recording of our webinar, click this link.

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