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Marketing in coronavirus times:​ How to navigate your brand through the storm

While we are aware that coronavirus is a serious health matter, we would like to face it as another challenge in our industry and we encourage our clients to face it like one too. ​

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Marketing in coronavirus times:​ How to navigate your brand through the storm

  1. 1. Marketing in coronavirus times: How to navigate your brand through the storm. Christina Misailidi Account Manager,adjust. Iason Trigonis Business Unit Director, adjust.
  2. 2. The corona virus impact. Coronavirus is 2020’s most salient brand What makes a brand great? Is it its market share? Is it its advertising power? Is it a well- designed logo? Most branding specialists out there will tell you that in order to be successful, a brand needs to have a clear purpose/something meaningful to add to consumers’ lives, while offering a distinctive and enjoyable experience. Tapping into these elements, great brands build successful communications, leading to growing perceptions in consumers’ minds. In other words, they grow their top of mind awareness, or the space they occupy in consumers’ minds, or saliency. Coronavirus has no purpose while it makes for a distinctive but horrendous experience. But never in recent history have we seen something or someone with such strong saliency. Coronavirus has no logo, no clear brand identity (is it coronavirus, covid-19 or both?) and no media budget for its advertisement. But it is everywhere in the media, in people’s minds, and it is dramatically changing our everyday lives. While we are aware that coronavirus is a serious health matter, we would like to face it as another challenge in our industryand we encourage our clients to face it like one too. In this report, we will see the impact coronavirus has on our lives and on the business industries. We will investigate the similarities between the coronavirus challenges, the Great Recession period and disruptive brands’ influence in categories. We will delve into the best practices of prosperous brands and give you recommendations on how to successfully navigate your brand through the storm of coronavirus. Because at the end of the day, whether it is a virus, or a disruptive brand, or a recession, successful brands need to fight back, stay relevant and top of mind to the consumers.
  3. 3. The coronavirus impact. Coronavirus iPhone 11 Source: Similar w eb, 2020 The story of a virus gone viral Interest over time, global. March 2019 August 2019 December 2019 100 75 50 25 Source: Google Int ernal dat a, 2020 Top rising searches. People’s interest in coronavirus has radically notched up right after the outburst in China. People search for it online while also searching for any categories related to or affected by it – the news, grocery (online and shop growing) as well ways to entertain themselves at home (sports, tech, cooking, art).
  4. 4. The coronavirus impact. A disruptive brand to all industries An opportunity not to be missed. Increased fear and uncertainty have led consumers to overbuying when it comes to consumer goods. At the same time and for the same reasons, people are more concerned about health issues, leading them to search for tips online. Both Google and Facebook have launched dedicated pages on their websites delivering on demand. It is therefore a great time for businesses like supermarkets and pharmaceutical companies to be more tactical and grow their businesses. It’s time to make a difference. Things change for other industries too. Sectors like retail, media or banking have adapted to the new norm changing the way they operate. Media has gained a lot of attention due to the news, but TV had to postpone some of the most successful shows or change them (we see shows being delivered from the hosts’ houses). At the same time retail and banking count on their online services for their revenue. Businesses that will rise to the occasion and better serve puzzled consumers now will win their hearts in the long term. Investing in the longer term. Industries like automotive, outdoor activities, travel and hospitalityhave taken the hardest hit. While there is no way to change this right now, brands that fall into these industries still have the longer term to look at and build in. When coronavirus is over, these categories shouldn’t start from point zero.
  5. 5. 34% 33% 29% 26% 21% 18% 14% 13% Source: K ant ar, 2020 Online consultation Online education Telecommuting software Paid online entertainment Live broadcast on mobile phone Social e-commerce/ community groups Buy indoor fitness equipment Online banking The coronavirus impact. This brand is changing our habits Online, tele and ‘e-’ are the new most used terms in our everyday lives.We order groceries online, we teleconference with our colleagues, our kids e-learn their school subjects. Consumers turn to technology and the internet to do what used to happen offline in the pre-coronavirus era. It is thereforeapparent,that apart from washing our handsone time too many and avoiding handshakes,we build new habits. Familiarizing with an online system of servicesis new to many. However,theconvenienceof it might lead even therookies to continue using it after the spread of coronavirusstops. The extent of the disruption that coronavirus brings in the different industries cannot be calculated. Our new habits may stay for good. Thus, it is critical for brandsnot to underestimate this new reality. Consumers tried new things in China.
  6. 6. The coronavirus impact. Grocery delivery has increased in most countries affected by coronavirus. Supermarket brands need to dial up their services in order to keep up. People try new ways to get served Web conference is a new way to deal with everyday ‘work from home’ challenges. Internet providers and online conference platforms work hard to respond to the increased demand. Source: Similar w eb, 2020 Source: Similar w eb, 2020 Grocery Delivery:Cumulative change (sequential) in YoY Growth since 20+ Cases Total Traffic (unbounced) Jan-Mar 2020 Web conference platforms: Cumulative Seq change in YOY Traffic growth since 20+ cases Total Sequential YoY traffic (unbounced, mobile + desktop) impact,Jan – Mar 2020
  7. 7. 50Μ 40Μ 30Μ 20Μ 10Μ 8.7% 4.6% 5.7% 31% Facebook Instagram Twitter Pinterest TikTok 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% The coronavirus impact. 3.7% Sessions, global Growth, global Source: Similar w eb, 2020, Nielsen via The Economist ; LATimes Estimated growth in content streaming in Greece +60% Increase in weekly gaming downloads in China +80% 13.52% Total Social Media In the pre-coronavirus era, people had 7.6 social media accounts on average, 10 new social media users where added per second and the average time youngsters spent on social media was 3 hours. One can only imagine how much these figures will have increased now. Never in recent history have consumers had so much time to spend on social media. Staying home has led people to higher online consumption as well as new online activities. We see many videos from non-public figures posted on their social media accounts featuring themselves singing, dancing or participating into challenges. Social media and online advertisement is the way for brandsto move forward with their communicationsas this is where most eyes will be laid on their products. Source: Digit al InformationWorld, 2019
  8. 8. Dec 19, 2019 Jan 15, 2020 Feb 11, 2020 Mar 9, 2020 100 75 50 25 The coronavirus impact. Coronavirus Source: Similar w eb, 2020 Things are no different in Greece Interest over time, Greece. +35,9%* +197% 15K FMCG sales Online traffic Work from home/ banking employees Source: Euro2Day, Capit al, K at himerini, To Vima, Naut ermporiki, Ta Nea , EDYTE, Eleyt heros Typos, Skai As expected, interest in coronavirus is extreme in Greece too. Like in other countries affected by the virus, fmcg and online services are the winners of this period. * Dat a refers t o w eek 24/2 -1/3 2020, dat a might differ w eek by w eek.
  9. 9. What successful brands do. It’s not the first time brands go through a crash test Back in the Great Recession times most brands went through a long period of consecutive crash tests. Their sales dropped, their value was questioned, and their workforce was weakened. No one knew how long this period would last, and the future seemed rather uncertain. One thing was for sure; the brands that would adjust to the situation faster would win the game. And that’s what happened. Great brands like Domino’s remained great by taking rigorous business decisions, innovating and communicating their offer by showing relevance. At the same time, long forgotten brands like Lego and Converse (bought by Nike) managed to revive by playing on an emotional tone and by bringing the nostalgia of better times. iPhone was also introduced by Apple in 2007. However, its value and fan base grew larger in the recession. An extremely pricy smartphone was selling like crazy in times when big companies were closing, and people were losing their jobs. Was it a gamble for Apple? Not really. The brand rode the wave of new technologies and gave consumers a beautifully designed product. A product that allowed them to make more than phone calls and send e-mails. A gadget that would help them communicate better and entertain themselves. iPhone was not just a new brand emerging in recession. It was also a disruptive brand to the mobile phone category. Brands like Blackberry and Alcatel almost disappeared after their introduction to the market. Why was that? And how different was the challenge Blackberry faced back then to what brands face in a time of financial crisis oran unpredictable event, like coronavirus? Like Blackberry or Nokia, brands that wait and not innovate andadapt when things disrupt their businesses stop being relevant over time.
  10. 10. What successful brands do. Being proactive is one of the great values a brand must have to tackle any temporary challenges and last in the longer term. To be proactive you need to constantly investigate consumers’ needs and wants and to answer them, even if you must readjust your business offer. To be proactive you need to be and behave as a leader and not as a follower. Jeff Bezos read societal and consumer needs and wants and built a retail colossus while being in the recession period. Amazon grew sales by 28% in 2009, a rough year in sales for many businesses. Continuous innovation and an offer of relevant services as well as a long-term focus helped the brand become number one in brand value (source). On the other hand, Lego managed to make a comeback in the market not only due to its nostalgic and positive cues but also due to its expansion to other markets (primarily Asia). Additionally, the brand profited by celebrities’ reinforcement, like David Beckham who admitted building a Lego Taj Mahal during his downtime. As a result, Lego’s sales increased by 663%. Domino’s pizza had to fight recession and a brand scandal at the same time. Due to customer dissatisfaction the brand had to withdraw its recipe and create a new one. The brand proactively embraced change and created a new campaign that doubled its profit in the fourth quarter of 2009. Great brands are proactive Source: Investopedia, 2019
  11. 11. What successful brands do. Another way to survive difficult times of crisis is to bring your brand values closer to what consumers need. In recession period, or in the coronavirus dystopia we currently live in, consumers feel the need for empathy, solidarity and support by brands. In other words, brands need to show their human face. Of course, this needs to be translated into corresponding communications and advertisement. It is no surprise, that during the financial crisis we saw small brands rising and becoming trendy. Innocent is one of them, founded by three Cambridge University graduates who after spending six months working on smoothie recipes and £500 on fruit, they sold their drinks from a stall at a music festival in London. People were asked to put their empty bottles in a "yes" or "no" bin depending on whether they thought the three should quit their jobs to make smoothies. At the end of the festival the "yes" bin was full. Maurice Pinto, a wealthy American businessman, decided to invest £250,000 and in 2009 Coca Cola acquired part of their business. What was in the recipe of Innocent Drinks that made it successful? Was it the juice? Sure, it played an important role, but it was the human, fun and down to earth communication they used along the way. At the same time, Tom’s a shoes brand introduced itself to the market with the new unique model ‘one for one’. For every pair of shoes someone’s buy, one pair of shoes will be given to a poor kid in an underprivileged area. With this proposition at the core of its communications, Tom’s humanized approach spoke to consumers’ minds and created a huge success forthe brand. In fact, in the Brand World Value Index research, Toms Shoes ranked higher than Nike in the millennial demographic. Communicating great values in times of crisis Source: W ikipedia, 2020, Brand W orld Value Index, Fast Company 2016.
  12. 12. nowadaysWhat successful brands do. Communication shows presence What would you say if one month ago someone told you that LVMH would make hand sanitizers? You would probably think he is crazy. In frenzied times like these, crazy things happen…or maybe not so crazy. As stated before, adjustment and adaptation are the key answers to overcoming challenges. When a brand goes out of its comfort zone to meet consumers’ emerging needs it is for two reasons. The first reason is the actual need to contribute to society at extreme periods like this one, and the second one is the need to stay present in people’s minds. LVMH and Bewdog ‘distill’ sanitizers in their factories, Lush invites you to its shops to wash your hands, Defected Records host virtual music festivals and Pornhub offers free content to the much-suffered Italians. All these actions are great ways to contribute to society but also to advertise the brands as those who rise to the occasion. Consumers appreciate brands who are present to their needs. They feel closer to brands who understand them and show it to them. Therefore, it is important to communicate your brand, even when conversion is out of question. Building your brandimage is a long- term process, and it shouldn’t be affected by anytype of fluctuations. Source: The 2020
  13. 13. SOV>SOM: Companies cutting investment by 50% for 1 year before returning to normal weight take up to 2 years to recover lost share. Those that increase exposure during downturn can gain up to 3x more share in the first 2 years of recovery. Source: Binet and Field 2013, Coronavirus t rends, Google, 2020 Share of market Historically share of voice has driven share of market ShareofVoice What successful brands do. Communication correlates to market share
  14. 14. What successful brands do. Tackling in house boredom We see the same pattern in Greece, where brands communicate with consumers at both an emotional and a rational level. Amstel and Audi use their propositions to speak about solidarity, encouragement and responsibility. Audi also offers an alternative to in- house boredom by introducing a challenge on social media. Tapping into the increasing cooking trend, Papadopoulou biscuits company offers recipes on their social media account. When conversion is not possible there is always room for building brand perceptions. This is an opportunity for brands to shift their minds from going after sales to thinking brand first. Showing solidarity Emotional and rational comms help get closer to the consumer
  15. 15. So, what’s the way forward ?
  16. 16. Adjust Communicate Try Identify Empathize Six steps to success Validate Moving forward brands will need to: Do everything you need to adjust to the situation.This might mean restructuring your business or taking tough decisions. Continue to be present. It is very important to stay top of mind with consumers in the longer term. Try new things for your business. This might mean stepping out of your comfort zone and producing products and services that are not traditionally part of your offer. Identify any opportunitiessuch as e-commerce and online services. Remember that changed consumer habits might be here to stay. Validate your proposition. Remind people why you are still relevant. Your products might not be selling right now but your brand values should still be relevant to consumers. In hard times like this one, it is important to show your empathy to the society. Be sure that your communication embracesthat.
  17. 17. What will you do?
  18. 18. “ “ Marketing is not only about talking; marketing is also about doing. Communication during the corona crisis should and can be both relevant and useful. We must combine left and right brain, data & feelings, in order to make decisive, empathetic actions. George Gritzalas General Manager, adjust. Marketing Strategist, MSc.
  19. 19. Bonus: adjust. for COVID-19 adjust. creativeteam created a Messenger chatbot called “Na me prosexo”, which givesusers a daily smart / healthy tip. Six interactivedashboards, created by the Ops & Data teams of adjust. That inform users of the current COVID-19statusin Greece & Worldwide. #menoumespiti giphy sticker pack givesus a fun alternativeto express ourselvesthrough SoMe while in quarantine. #menoumespiti Stickerpack “Να με Προσέχω” Healthy tips chat bot InteractiveDashboardsabout COVID-19