The Show Must Go On(line)
Authored by Manas Gulati, Co-Founder & CEO, #ARM Worldwide
For over two months, the world is in lockdown. Global quarantine has locked the consumers indoors and, for the first time, we have a situation where the necessities collar bound consumerism. That’s a landscape in which brands and marketers are operating in right now.
With that consideration, a significant advantage that digital marketing and the digital brand building gets is a substantial change in the internet behaviour of consumers, globally. The impact of COVID-19 is visible all across — from our lifestyles to purchase decisions we make in this lockdown. Moreover, it has changed how we use our time when locked inside our homes. McKinsey reported a 33% growth for social media usage and, over 40% for digital content consumption, especially videos. For once an opportunity like this calls for a new chapter of brand marketing.
Let’s look at how a few players have already won the brand marketing race by staying relevant, optimising their approach and leveraging the soft-data fest that is ongoing on the web in the current scenario.
The supply chain is gold in these times, and digital logistics brands are being seen in the right light now. Especially the local and hyperlocal brands who are filling the logistical gap for all commerce.
OTTs and digital gaming channels are being used by most of us during this quarantine. With user preferences more visible and more open to trying new content, both production and advertising in these categories have seen a shoot upwards. And this is not surprising since Indians are spending over 18% of their day on their smartphones during the quarantine period.
Similarly, online education and training have seen an impressive turnaround too. More & more brands are coming out with their own digital, educational content; relevant of-course, that wants to target the consumer at his home. The most comfortable space to consumer informative content was the newly discovered “quarantine lifestyle.” A great example of this was in the B2B area, where March and April were completely about #WorkFromHome guides for companies.
A brand’s need is to be consistently relevant all across their user’s lifetime. This comes as branding 101. In the modern age, this is the first time when a crisis has impacted people at such a large scale. There are new lifestyle challenges being discovered every day — from working out at home, to nutrition and health consciousness. Now is the time when, as a brand, we must try to find our suitable spot, where we resolve these everyday challenges.
Now, chances are even if our brand is relevant to one such challenge, it is not deemed necessary or, logistically serviceable. In such cases, being consistent with “content” acts as the linchpin. A great example could be different gym & physical training brands who chose to pivot to become digitally available for their customers. They solve the problem of workout-at-home and continue being relevant and present in the customer’s mind.
If your brand has customers that aren’t able to reach out to you during the pandemic, this is a problem. It is evident that customer satisfaction, like a meter, can fuel down from full-to-low unless you keep them engaged. By the time things go back to normal, a customer might not remember your brand’s flavour anymore or could have been poached out by a new-age competitor.
Optimising your digital channels and abilities is the need of the hour. Your brand’s ability to continue reaching out to existing and new customers while maintaining the recall should be one big goal on the board. Nonetheless, it starts with your social media and digital communication platforms like emails and WhatsApp. Adapting a new face for customer care would be having an enhanced ORM system in place to handle volumes larger than usual.
However, do not ignore volume. Brand and consumer’s frequency of usage can be directly propositional. Now that consumers are more frequent on social and digital, it is time brands go full volume too.
To look at the silver lining in the situation, an appropriate perspective is that there is a data festival happening on the internet right now. Users are limited by what they can buy and brands by how they can deliver, creating a new hyper-synergy in lead generation. In simpler terms, people are window-shopping a lot too! According to the report quoted earlier, purchase intent has shot up in equal fractions.
With a higher frequency of brand push — on an already high screen-time, consumers can become more & more responsive to relevant brand activities. This demand created just from the crisis impacts is a real festival and digital marketers must address that. Even if your brand has stopped selling during this quarantine (by limited resources or by law), it must continue to grow its users for the sales funnel. There couldn’t be a better time for this! This is the reason why many brands are providing their offerings free of cost. For example, we are seeing a plethora of free online course, online fitness classes and baking tutorials.
In more basic categories like pharmaceuticals, digital amalgamation saw new shapes. While companies in medicine supply & deliveries’ business took a civil charge, immunity & supplements brands also leveraged the moment well.