Should one even spend on marketing communication?
Many marketeers put a complete freeze on their marketing
communication budgets. Not the most prudent strategy.
This is the time to show you care and be more useful. Depending on your category and brand stature, there could be little forgiveness for inaction and underreacting.
If your competitors aren’t spending – it’s a bonus!
You spend lesser on media buying and get a greater share of voice – hence share of mind, and eventually share of wallet.
What you really need is recalibration of your marketing content messages.
This doesn’t mean that you go on a spending spree either. Instead, limit your marketing spends to a reasonable level. Importantly, make it count!
Here are some insights and ideas that can help
All brands are likely to be put to the test if they’re living up to their purpose.
We must ask ourselves how we can bring our brand purpose/promise/essence to life. Be an ally to your consumers, “prove” that you care, and “demonstrate” empathy. Reinforcing an emotional connection is vital.
Example: Remember the Pepsi Refresh campaign? Instead of spending on Super Bowl ads, they awarded $20 million in grants to individuals, businesses, and non-profits that promote a new idea that has a positive impact. This led to months of user-generated content on top of their own. And, of course, loads of earned PR.
Most people are likely to get extremely careful of their spending.
While the obvious answer is to focus on rational attributes and demonstrate better value, be extremely careful of your brand voice. Be genuine. “We’re-in-this-together” and that’s the approach and tonality you must have.
Discuss better mileage and practical and hard-working features if you're an automobile brand. But do it with empathy. Traditionally, brands in this category have also spoken about buy-backs, extended warranties, and services.
Like a bank, you could focus on your contactless feature, cash-back cards, and other savings schemes if you're in the service industry. But, do it with the sense of help. Pepper it with regular practical tips on social, waive off charges. Remember, purpose before profit. Also, this isn’t the time for one-upmanship against your competitors. Help them instead, and people will remember you for that.
If you run a loyalty program, remind people to benefit from them. Open your hearts and wallet a bit. Share notifications of your offers, but also connect emotionally. For instance, food brands can communicate those families who eat together, stay together.
More people are likely to DIY wherever they can.
We know that people tend to use YouTube / Google for this type of content all the time. Support them with practical advice in their preferred formats – videos and infographics.
If you’re a fitness center, you can give tips on home exercises or do them virtually. Today there are so many video and virtual tools at our disposal.
If you are a food brand, you could give easy, practical recipes for different consumer segments, from new-to-cooking to experts.
Similarly, how to assemble furniture, fix things in your category, or troubleshoot any issue.
People generally appreciate feel-good and/or entertaining content during these times.
Now more than ever, brands need to harness a publisher's mindset and create cultural value by entertaining or inspiring them. Even minor light-hearted entertainment can go a long way, provided you are thoughtful with tonality and true to your brand.
Inspiring content in the form of thematic Hero content – insight-driven or evocative, relevant to your category and mindsets.
Web series or daily/weekly episodes (Hub content in YouTube terminology) can also be effective, e.g., like the fitness center or recipe examples discussed earlier. Make it lighthearted, conversational, and entertaining.
Even digitally savvy people may need help adapting to your digital platform.
Today, many organizations are digitally transformed, and they’ve made considerable investments in it. But what’s the point if only a limited number of people use the new features? Both YouTube and Google advocate help content in the form of How-To videos.
How to pay your utility bills online using the app/computer
How to do various banking services, if you’re a bank
How to make the best use of the electrical appliance / your online freelance platform
How to install, troubleshoot, participate in a competition, claim a price, etc.
Internal communication – your employees look to you to provide clear and consistent messaging regarding the day-to-day and what’s coming next.
Company leadership and internal communications officers have a great responsibility. Your employees can be your most significant source of advocacy and influencers. Treat them right and provide them with guidance, and they will share the love with friends and family, and on social media and beyond, strengthening the brand reputation organically.
Examples of the content you can generate:
Regular words of assurance and periodic updates from the top management – with authority, humanity, and clarity
Tips, advice, and regular encouragement
Of course, one size doesn’t fit all, so you must brainstorm what is suitable for your brand, category, and, most importantly, your customers.
And remember, as Henry Ford said: “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops the clock to save time.”