When looking at offline behavior including visits and purchasing it is clear that consumer behavior has significantly changed. This is forcing brands to adapt quickly to these new consumer needs as well as an uncertain and evolving environment and economy. Studies show that brands that remain connected with customers during times of crisis emerge stronger and return to profitability sooner. Among them, an IPA dataMINE analysis showed that brands that maintained Share of Voice (SOV) equal to their Share of Market (SOM) during a downturn improved profitability over a three year period.
Studies aside, the current landscape is vastly different from the economic downturn of 2008, making the risks of losing that connection with customers even more detrimental to a brand’s health. Thanks to social media, customers expect more from brands. Brands are no longer just companies providing a service or product, they’ve taken on distinct voices and personalities that consumers relate to and identify with. Now in this time of crisis, brands and marketers have an opportunity to reach out to customers and provide comfort and reassurance.
The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands showed that while all companies were hit by the 2008 Recession, the stronger brands recovered quickly and experienced faster growth. Here are some recommendations & questions to ask that could help your brand emerge stronger.
- Be empathetic: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask: What would you want, need or value most now?
- Be bold: Challenge stakeholders – Ask: What investments, systems or technologies can we use or implement to help or enhance their experience?
- Be authentic: Look for ways to give back, donate or be of service.
- Be supportive: Do what you can to support your employees, their families and customers be it financially or via your policies and procedures.
- Be prudent: Review expenses and operations and ensure that marketing investments are tied to business outcomes.
- Be logical: Shift budgets to where people are spending time – reallocate out-of-home to in-home.
- Be creative: Test new creative strategies and solutions that allow your brand to break through the noise, provide value and connect with consumers during this difficult time.
- Be strategic: Prepare for the future – shift dollars from missed opportunities to new, bigger future opportunities around relevant events i.e Summer Grilling, Back to School, Mothers/Fathers Day, etc.
- Be effective: Review your systems – audit databases, CRM systems, and marketing automation programs to ensure your lead to sales funnel is optimized and running effectively.
- Be cost-efficient: Commit to increasing efficiency – move from IO based campaigns to monthly recurring contracts for key ongoing programs and services to lock in discounts and greater efficiencies.