Every sector of our society is changing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Months of social quarantine and the long economic fall-out ahead are expected to bring fundamental shifts in healthcare, education, work culture, our view of government, and more. We may come to refer to the world before COVID-19 and the world after.
Marketing and communications teams are deeply feeling the impact. Brands have had to turn on a dime to serve isolated customers, project stability, and – judging by some ill-advised commercials – contrive a connection with the pandemic to stay relevant.
But what temporary marketing methods will outlast survival mode and linger post-crisis? There are probably more than three, but these are the ones I predict will have a lasting impact.
The crucial nature of public trust
In a recent blog article entitled Adapting Customer Experience in the Time of Coronavirus, McKinsey & Company advises companies to make their top priority the care of employees and customers. Nearly 65 percent of consumers prefer to do business with a socially responsible company. Amusement with “novel and trendy” is giving way to a deep hunger for “tried and true.” How your organization behaves at this moment will leave lasting memories, so dust off your mission and values and find tangible ways to express them. Companies that back up their talk with actions will find loyal customers.
This is a marketing axiom that has distinguished DKY for decades. Our approach has always been to help our clients Ring True with communication that builds public trust. At the beginning of our engagements, we work with clients to define a clear brand promise and then guide them to live up to that promise by what they say and how they behave.
Migration to digital
Companies have had to move their customer relationships and commerce online, and the transformation is happening quickly. All demographic groups are becoming comfortable with apps and websites. In just a few months, online shopping and video sharing have become lifelines – primary hubs, rather than merely supplementing face-to-face transactions. “Companies who make this shift to digital and deliver superior experiences have an opportunity to increase adoption and maintain these customer relationships after the crisis,” says McKinsey. Like it or not, the world belongs to Amazon-like organizations that make it easy to research, compare, decide, and purchase with a minimum of hassle.
This is also where DKY is ready to serve. Our digital team focuses on user experiences that are elegantly simple – even with complex functionality like calculators and interactive charts that pull in data. We love building websites and apps that are rich in content, strong in search performance, and integrate inbound marketing tactics.
Organic and authentic
Remember before COVID-19 when a live shot with a TV analyst working from home was charmingly interrupted by his toddler? It was so unusual; the clip went viral. Today it’s the new normal. As my PR colleague, Arik Hanson, pointed out in his Talking Points blog, this is an inflection point when brands are becoming truly authentic via organic media. Timeliness and honesty are taking precedence over polished. Corporate communicators are posting Skype interviews with their CEOs on LinkedIn. Walmart is using amateur content contributed by employees. State Farm launched its “Drive Safe and Save” rebate with TV ads recorded on an executive’s laptop.
This opens up a world of opportunity for brands with modest budgets. If you haven’t already, don’t wait to dive into organic content that is socially distributed. DKY’s experienced social media and content team can help you choose the best platforms, create profiles, develop helpful content, and nurture active communities.
What do these three trends have in common? A craving for genuine connection. As a stunned society, we’re done with the slick and superficial. We’re weary of complexity. We want brands with genuine heart, who drop the fanfare and simply find meaningful ways to serve.
Are you making the paradigm shift? DKY is here to help your brand make it through these challenging times and come out shining on the other side.