The economy worldwide is crashing. Brands are dumping their marketing strategies because they’re worried about bearing the costs. Even Facebook has taken a hit as marketers have switched to organic advertisements to tighten their budgets (AdWeek 2020). They assume there is no other choice left since sales are dropping, and if no money is likely to come in right now, why bother with the risk?
The COVID-19 pandemic is testing all our survival skills. This is the moment a brand’s adaptability is under tremendous pressure. Whoever adjusts to the changes and takes actions the fastest, is more likely to pull through.
Now, how do you adjust to this unforeseen event? The answer may be closer than you think.
Conform to the current situation
You would be interested to know that Facebook’s pricing power is reducing due to brands pulling out their ads and the consumer demand decreasing (CNBC 2020). That means you can gain a better reach of your audience if you market your brand right now, at a much-reduced price.
But how should you utilize these media?
The steps are the same as your regular media buying strategies, except you simply need to conform to the current situation. With the market less saturated, your focus should be on building your brand value and equity in the eyes of the audience.
Advertise your brand, not products
You must be careful to advertise your brand, not your products. Since sales are likely to be low at the moment, with most customers rationing their money, it’s almost rude to push your product or service to them. Your ads mustn’t come off as if they’re exploiting the situation.
For instance, Ford replaced its vehicle-promoting ads with a Coronavirus-response campaign. In the ad, Ford referred to its duties during wartime and natural disasters. There wasn’t a single allusion to its products. This shows Ford as a thoughtful brand amidst the crisis.
Empathize with your customers
The key is to think long-term. Don’t focus on sales and profit. Instead, build your brand into something that looks out for the best for your customers.
Empathy towards the situation can provide a major boost. You don’t need to go all out with a massive social media campaign. Some of the things you can do include dropping a donation number, sending check-up tips, and providing information on how to stay safe.
Your media buying plan should concentrate on the goodwill of the people. While it may not bring you sales right now, you’ll gain their loyalty and they’ll keep you in mind when the crisis blows over. Even a sympathetic or optimistic tone of voice will be able to help your customers relate to you more, whether it’s on a serious post or something to distract them.
So, why should you invest in advertising and marketing if they can’t actually buy your products?
The opportunity to grow your brand
The thing is, while instant-gratification is alluring, it’s the durability of your strategy that benefits you in the long run. What I mean by this is that this would be the perfect opportunity for you to help your brand grow.
The internet is bustling at the moment given that people stuck at home, working and studying online to try and cope with the situation around them. Even when they’re relaxing by, say, watching a movie on Netflix, they are likely to be switching their attention between their phones and the TV screen.
In fact, according to TechCrunch, 28% of Americans admit to using their phones while watching TV and up to 45% say they use some kind of a second screen when watching a movie or a show. (TechCrunch 2018). This would mean they would be coming across your ads more frequently during this worldwide lockdown. So, there’s no better time than the present to promote those ads!
These are trying times. While the current environment is unstable and the future unforeseeable, the best we can do is minimize the panic and try our best to take control of the situation. It’s truly a game of survival of the fittest, and it does not do well to dwell upon the problems instead of trying to come up with solutions.
AdWeek 2020, Facebook Ad Spend, Cost Per Click Take a Hit During the Coronavirus Crisis, viewed 4 April 2020, <https://www.adweek.com/digital/facebook-ad-spend-cost-per-click-take-a-hit-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/>
CNBC 2020, Facebook will suffer a coronavirus-related hit to its ads business, Needham analysts say, viewed 4 April 2020, <https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/06/facebook-ad-revenue-to-be-hurt-by-coronavirus-needham-analysts-say.html
TechCrunch 2018, Nielsen: the second screen is booming as 45% often or always use devices while watching TV, viewed 4 April 2020, <https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/12/nielsen-the-second-screen-is-booming-as-45-often-or-always-use-devices-while-watching-tv/>.