A time for action

As part of some recent reading, a survey by Econsultancy.com caught my eye, revealing that 67%, or two-thirds of brands have changed their marketing strategy in response to the current pandemic.

Whilst this statistic didn’t exactly halt me in my tracks, that a third haven’t, is a cause for concern. If you’ve not reviewed your current strategy or worse still, not doing anything to communicate to your customers then now’s the time – as you can bet that your competition certainly is.

Whilst at the end of March and April the general consensus was that brands promoting their products and services wasn’t perhaps the done thing, with mutterings of being inappropriate or profiteering from a pandemic, Amazon quietly cleaned up. Fast forward just over a month and the sentiment is now very different, with 9 in 10 global consumers are all for brands and businesses advertising as normal.

Of course, no one is expecting things to simply flip back to the way they were and it’s inevitable that consumer behaviours will change, along with social distancing requirements. But, it’s very clear that there is absolutely a hunger for something as close to normality as is possible. And as this journey picks up pace, it’s imperative that brands are engaging with their customers. But we’re not just talking messages of reassurance or updates on supply and delivery; there is a global sentiment of expectation that brands will have adapted and are now acting in a more responsible and sustainable manner. According to a recent GWI Coronavirus research report, 3 in 4 consumers globally say it will be more important that companies behave more sustainably, with 2 in 3 feeling it’s more important to reduce their usage of single-use plastics and 7 in 10 feeling a heightened importance to reduce their carbon footprint / environmental impact.

Over the last few months, we’ve seen some amazing solidarity, sacrifice and sentiment of getting through this together, with some truly creative approaches to adapt to the situation, something we reflected in our recent #creativityconnects campaign. But we’ve moved out of the ‘grieving period’ now – as people slowly resume some normality, it’s time to reinvigorate, re-engage and reignite the conversation.

I’ll conclude not in my own words, but from a deck produced by those wonderful chaps at BBH as part of their ‘Brands post-Covid – how to emerge well’: “From a marketing standpoint, the greatest threat will be reduced demand as economic uncertainty swirls and keeps wallets in pockets. The second threat will be the failure of brands to generate demand. We strongly remind readers of the lessons of history: during economic shocks brands that keep spending and do so in specific ways outperform their competition.”