These times call for a SHIFT in Marketing, not a STOP.
We’re all aware that the current state of affairs is equivalent to swimming in shark-infested muddy water without a steel cage. And the problem is, in times like this, people tend to panic — perhaps rightly so. They key however, is not to panic, not to turn off the faucets of your business, rather you need to simply redirect them. These redirections can be difficult to solve for and different for everyone but even basic adjustments can go a long way. Let’s look at three things you should consider while we endure today’s climate.
1. Auto Pilot = Auto Failure.
It may seem at first glance that doing nothing could be the best option. So many brands have come under fire for trying to take advantage of situations like today’s, why should you risk your message coming off the wrong way? What if it totally flops and backfires? How bad could it be to just let this pass? The answer is probably pretty bad.
Once this passes, consumer mindsets will be different when it comes to spending – perhaps this was a wakeup call to some millennials who are now regretting all those Sunday brunches and $1K music festival tickets, and not adding a few more dollars to their savings. Either way, shopping behavior will be different for some time and it’s important your brand remains top of mind and continues to show consumers why what you offer is better, more valuable, and trusted.
2. Talking About Tomorrow vs. Today.
A recent Kantar report on how to survive the Coronavirus dives into best practices and ways brands can take advantage of the situation at hand. In doing so, the report looks back at the ’08 financial crisis to evaluate which brands succeeded, how they did it, and why they were successful. One of the best examples was the Mercedes marketing. Who’s buying a luxury car during a recession?! They were competent enough to know the answer, but instead of idly sitting by, they shifted their marketing message to focus on selling us cars a few months from now, or even next year. They evaluated the situation, adjusted their messaging (not shut it down), and they knew their audience. The results were very positive, and carried them through tough times simply by shifting their mindset to tomorrow’s sales when “today’s” weren’t likely.
3. Crisis Breeds Innovation.
If the past teaches us anything about the future, it’s that history repeats itself. And if that’s true, we’re going to see a wave of innovation when the dust settles. An excerpt from an article written following the latest recession reads,
“Joseph Schumpeter long ago showed how economic crises give rise to the gales of creative destruction -- as new entrepreneurial individuals and enterprises seize the opportunity to forge new business models, and new industries revolutionize and transform the economy. The British economist of innovation, Christopher Freeman, found evidence that innovations not only accelerate but bunch up during economic downturns only to be unleashed as the economy begins to recover, ushering in powerful new waves of technological change.”
Not only is the opportunity ripe for new players in the game, but if the large corporations can manage to move quickly enough, they can spearhead innovation within their industry and beyond. As we navigate tough times like these, new needs are revealed and old behaviors change, giving way to new thinking and disruptive innovation.
It’s unclear as to exactly what the future holds in terms of economy and health & wellness of the country, but one thing is clear – if you sit on the sidelines and watch, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant, missing out on massive new opportunities, and not capitalizing on what may at first seem like a doom-and-gloom moment, when in reality we’re on the brink of explosive innovation and better times ahead.