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Working in Digital Marketing during a Pandemic

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Pandemic and the Internet

Check. Perhaps someone has had the experience (or misfortune?) Of working during a pandemic in earlier times, but definitely not in the context we have today.

The context of the internet, the immediacy, the challenges of dancing on TikTok and the double-edged sword that comes with being connected 24/7.

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Social Networks and the Pandemic

If I spend a minute on my feed of any social network, the emotions can be a roller coaster: Going with anger for the aunt who shares fake news and conspiracy theories (my favorite is 5G), astonishment at the note of ” People in Ecatepec do not believe in the coronavirus ”from your favorite tabloid website, sadness at the official global figures of those verified portals and ironic laughter with any meme about the new internet tlatoani, López Gatell.

The reality is that times of crisis bring out what you really carry inside. And it also applies to brands. 

“The reality is that times of crisis bring out what you really carry inside. And it also applies to brands”.

Seeing the positive for Covid-19

In a virtual meeting during one day of the week (because it doesn’t matter what day it is), my boss asked the forum: 

“Before we start, tell me one good thing that COVID19 brought you”.

The answers, slightly skewed by the fortune of belonging to the upper-middle class that can take refuge in their home, were totally different:

From spending more time with your family to being able to wear pajamas 24/7. Others said the ability to save, exercise or just the opposite: allow yourself to neglect your physique.

I, for my part, answered simplicity. I hadn’t realized how little I need to lead a happy life.

And that’s when I remember that what really brings a smile to my soul is being able to have a deep conversation with my family, laugh over beers with friends, get lost in unknown streets during a vacation trip and dance on Saturday nights in any bar. low reputation in the city.  

Brands in times of Pandemic

And suddenly, it also clicks with my profession:

Although it seems that a constant around the governments of the world is that the official information that is shared falls short, that does not give us the right to share our thoughts or recommendations through our brands.

Epidemiology issues should be left to the experts. However, that does not mean that your brand should not have a position in the time of the coronavirus, and that position should be simple.

Marketing might seem once again to fall to this shallow, self-serving and non-transparent profession, but the practical reality is that now more than ever, consumers need product availability, brand utility, and simplicity. how you can help them.

And when I say simplicityI mean they need:

The product / service / content that they consider useful or essential to face the quarantine or the situation where they are at that moment. 

Nothing else. 

How will companies be affected by the Coronavirus?

The reality that plagues all of us who are dedicated to digital and its communication channels, is that they do not need a commercial with motivational phrases that tells them that everything will work out, or interrupt their digital experience with a letter from your CEO that titled ” We are with you during these difficult times. ” Today, less is more.

And it is this simplicity that has to make us aware of not falling into the usual mistake: 

Consumers do not care about brands.

According to Mark Ritson during a Mini MBA webinar by AdWeek last month (2020), brands will go through two main stages: The crisis and the recession. During the first, the marks can be found in three situations: Flex, Fix and Freeze.

The “Flex” situation speaks of those brands that are not severely affected, and that within its catalog could have had changes in demand that are even favorable – like any supermarket.

The second tells us about those brands that must urgently change in order to survive, a clothing brand with a physical store, for example.

The third speaks of those brands that cannot do much to try to cope with the situation and that maintaining business involves exogenous factors, here let’s think of an airline. Whatever the situation, the business will need to make quick decisions and tactics that allow it to continue with its executions in the short term. 

“The business will need to make quick decisions and tactics that allow it to continue with its executions in the short term.”

The 4 Ps of Marketing

What to do during the Crisis process?

And that is where Ritson reinforces that many marketers fall into the error of forgetting a concept that is more than 60 years old but is still just as valid: The 4 Ps (at some point someone told me that it is already 6, or 8, but for effects of the simplicity of this text we will stick to the original concept).

These marketing basics have not changed, even in today’s context, and each one of them is a button to attract new consumers.

The problem lies when it is believed that the only button that can be pressed is the one with the P for promotion. 

And there you have content agencies running to make the new viral template on Instagram Stories, thinking about the new emotional ad or bringing to the table the winning concept of the new challenge that the entire audience is expected to do, which has your product at the center . 

These tactics may or may not work, but it is ensured that, of the 4 buttons, this is the wrong one to press as the first option. Certain brands are using the rest of the options to stand out in this crisis, and their actions carry earned media : 

Product

Uber Flash, who enabled its platinum drivers a new form of entry within the platform: The user will be able to transport all kinds of legal items, as long as they fit in the trunk of the car.

For all the people who do not want to leave their homes, but need an immediate logistics service, this service becomes invaluable. Likewise, we will have the option to share the route of the trip in real time with whoever will receive the article.

Price

Many, the Danish supermarket that has come up with a renowned pricing model for the highly sought after antibacterial gel, where the first bottle costs the equivalent of £ 5 and any subsequent bottle costs the equivalent of £ 100 each.

This simple action stops people from hoarding purchases, while the supermarket guarantees traffic and revenue.

Square

Best Buy, which has introduced “contactless” delivery in its own parking lot; free and with great customer service, through an employee who leaves your package directly in your trunk. Online shopping and contactless in-store pickup, all within the same day. 

All of these tactics definitely add value to the consumer and create business for brands. This crisis stage will allow us to engineer executions to address the consumer in the short term but also to introspect and rethink 2021, to have a position on the role of your brand and what it will bring to consumers when life returns as close to the normal”

Recession Stage

After the crisis process, Ritson affirms that there will be a stage of recessionThis is where businesses will have two weapons: 

Brands and advertisements.

The most powerful brands (that is, with the highest Brand equity) will perform better at those critical moments; while ads, when kept constant and with a long-term vision of impact, will help maintain the SOV of the categories in which you compete.

These two tactics give us a glimpse that the time of recession is also a time of opportunity for brands to grow, and there is a lot of documentation about it, here is an example in the recession of 1920: 

“The time of recession is also a time of opportunity for brands to grow”

And precisely in those most difficult times, where we need to make sure that brands have a holistic plan that reminds the fragmented consumer of their power; exposed to multiple messages on different channels. In this difficult context for companies, the message will be simple: Businesses that invest in the promotional P will ensure that their long-term post-recession growth remains stable (as long as the other P’s work, of course). 

In a nutshell

Difficult situation in this crisis to present at a meeting that your digital and communication tactic can be “The strategy will stay at home”; but we are definitely the filter to make sure we don’t fall for one more ad (one of those motivational ones) or fall with a message out of context – with the promise that, in a short time, the media communication of the brand will be essential to ensure growth.

For now, all communications and digital marketers must help make the holistic consumer experience present – enabled by the right product, at the right price, in the right channel;

 And then then; a message of value that connects with the consumer… For now, the promotion button can wait to be pressed. 

“For now, all communications and digital marketers must help make the holistic consumer experience present – enabled by the right product, at the right price, in the right channel.”

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