Consumers staying at home, making conscious purchase decisions, wary of excessive spending and inclined to shop for the most basic of necessities. That’s the reality companies found themselves in within weeks as Coronavirus hit Europe and America.
The situation highlights the growing importance of online communication and value marketing. As consumers’ decision-making process is now subjected to totally different criteria, brands need to rethink their marketing strategies including the creation of branded content. We zoom on key actions brands can implement now to respond to consumers’ shifting priorities.
Greater emphasis on values, not products
The reality of COVID-19 pushed brands to support a variety of noble causes. Food companies such as Uber Eats and Starbucks deliver free meals for Doctors, Google has donated $800 million to tacking Coronavirus crisis while hotel chains like American OYO offered accommodation for relocated or commuting medical staff. In times of crisis, being a value advocate is expressed in gestures that make a real difference.
Giving free access and creating added value
Social isolation made companies aware consumers might have extra times at their to spend them interacting with brands and their digital content. To use that time efficiently, consumers require incentives. Apt reactions of companies such as Adobe or LinkedIn, offering free access to their programmes and online courses, is a smart tactic demonstrating how creating added value – an opportunity to dedicate your free time to self-development – can convert into brand affinity. In a long-term, once a free user will be more likely to become a client.
Build brand notoriety via engagement
While giving free access to your products might not be an option for companies in certain industries, there is an alternative and it means engagement. Create challenges and messages that call for totally different action – exercising kindness or unveiling creativity. Your content can be way much more compelling if you don’t speak about products but inspire co-creation instead.
One of Britain’s oldest department stores – Selfridge’s – has created a series of optimistic Instagram posts inciting collective action and empathy. The company doesn’t deny hardships, such as the problem of isolation, but aims to inspire its audience to support people feeling alone by sharing acts of kindness. Similarly, its collective challenge titled “Creativity is not cancelled”, encourages interaction between users themselves by inviting them to participate in the digital process of typography design.
Branded digital content is one of the key selling tools in the light of COVID-19 pandemic. As many brands compete for the attention of social media users, posting #Stayathome hashtag is not enough. Your branded content should reflect values that the world is calling for in crisis – empathy, creativity, transformation and togetherness. It means companies – regardless of the industry – should focus on responding to consumers’ currents needs and look for a return in revenue in a long-term perspective.