Before the spread of COVID-19, the market sphere was doing a great job of making good quality and entertaining content, while producing interesting trends and customer demand. Nowadays, a lot of experts agree that the world will not return to its previous state. A global pandemic has had a significant impact on the lives of many consumers, which eventually affected the business, marketing and the obsolescence of the usual communication formats.
What businesses should do in the new environment and how to communicate with the audience.
New Reality: How the Pandemic is Changing Consumers and Brands
In a pandemic, every business is well aware that it does not have the ability to wait out the crisis. Companies that are easier to adapt and do not disappear from the information field are more likely to hold their positions, and in the long term, they will benefit from activity during this period. Flexibility here is an opportunity to see how the audience’s insights are changing, what it is guided by when making decisions.
Online Business Development
Studies of Internet traffic over the past year indicate that audience activity on the network has increased, demand for online orders for goods and services, and home delivery has grown. Leisure has also moved online: sports, reading, and self-development are more often done with the help of gadgets. There is a good chance that some activities, such as in-app ordering and online training, will be on the list of established consumer habits for a long time.
What is happening is now called “new reality.” And the sooner each of us comes to terms with the fact that there will be no more games according to the old rules, the faster we can live in this reality. Therefore, it is not worth waiting for any global changes, you need to plan advertising activities now.
Research-based on the analysis of consumer behaviour after previous crises shows that people form an emotional connection with those brands that have supported the audience during difficult times.
What Topics and Formats will be in Demand in the Near Future
Campaigns lasting several months have long been in the past – it is difficult to keep the audience interest high for so long if they are not niche projects. Local ideas that exactly meet the needs of the audience – this is what will be even more relevant. At the same time, even the usual creative templates will soon become obsolete – the audience is tired of the one-sidedness of selling messages. An online business needs to go beyond, look for new insights every day, monitor the situation in the world, learn to be moderately provocative. Interest in the non-standard presentation of key messages will increase, and no one can be completely sure how the content will look after the pandemic. However, areas for discussion have already been outlined.
Social distance, being forced to stay within four walls and the lack of the opportunity to freely go out into the street forced many to reconsider their views on some things. People began to be more attentive to their health, their finances, they were engaged in general cleaning and repairs. All this translated into a growing interest in the topic of conscious consumption.
Communication campaigns should focus on topics close to this direction. Speaking about USP (unique selling proposition), you need to consider what practical benefit this can bring to the audience. It’s just that entertainment content has almost gone out of fashion, such material will partially remain only in the infotainment format. To summarise, we can say that the demand for quality outweighed the demand for quantity. At the same time, there is a fairly large list of advertising formats that allow brands to show that they communicate in the same language with users, share their values and are ready to be useful.
The only thing most companies can do nowadays is to keep up with the trends, to adopt and respect the needs of clients. Entertain them, make special projects and transfer them online. If you are a small fashion brand, start producing masks and sell them online. Delivery companies, fast food chains, professional freight companies are on-demand, but only if they, just as everybody else adapt and keep up with the time.
What to Do?
One of the solutions and our suggestion is special marketing projects.
If traditional advertising is “campaigning from the podium”, then a special project is a way to interact with the audience more closely: to enter into a dialogue with it, share something useful, and entertain. In other words, a special project is a communication in which the main character is not only a brand but also a person. Thus, a special project is able to solve any problem that a brand sets itself: a loud reach campaign with deep audience involvement, an educational project about a new product, and an emotional image story, and even a pure performance that includes entertainment mechanics.
There can be a huge number of possible technics, without taking into account the creative component. Let’s divide them into two categories.
The first is with the mandatory purchase of the product. In this case, the user needs to purchase the brand’s product itself in order to participate in any activities. This can be a photo competition with a product, a mechanic with special codes on the packaging, as well as a check promo, in which the user uploads a receipt with the purchased product to the site. Here are three fundamental points that make a check promo successful:
Prize. The main thing to remember at the stage of creating a project: the prize was and remains the main motivation for a person to participate in a competition in which the user needs to spend his money. Do not neglect this point.
Eye catcher themes and formats. “A picture to attract attention”. In other words, the image that broadcasts our legend. You can’t just give away prizes, there must be some story behind it, ideally tied to the present day. In other words, even in the most pragmatic contests, a special project needs a creative concept.
Call-to-action (CTA) formats. This is more than a slogan. This is a phrase that, by actualising a creative concept, encourages the user to take a useful action and does it convincingly.
The second is without the obligatory purchase of a product. This includes all the other possible formats for special projects:
flash mobs and challenges in social networks – a brand can initiate a new flash mob or effectively integrate into an existing one;
special projects on platforms or thematic sites – it is important to understand the behaviour and triggers of visitors to a particular site;
special projects with bloggers, contests, tests, bright image campaigns, including the production of a video, landing page and banners.
The coronavirus is not only the most discussed topic around the world but also a factor that can change the course of history. The pandemic affects business equally globally. Entrepreneurs, more than ever, need to urgently adapt to the existing conditions in order to stay afloat and not drown.