As the world is facing unprecedented change, it’s time for brands to reflect on how to react in the short-term and how to instigate long- term much needed changes.
Although media is, by definition, an industry affected by change on an ongoing basis, nothing could have prepared us for what we are currently witnessing on a global scale.
Brands are reacting to change in different ways, from freezing their advertising spend, to embracing innovative ways to engage with their audience. Indeed, only brands who will embrace change though a process of understanding their customers’ needs will come out of these challenging times as winners.
The biggest challenge seems to be the need to respond in real time. But where to start?
Here are 3 questions brands should ask themselves to implement an audience-centric, and rapid, response to change.
What does your audience need right now?
People across the globe have been asked to drastically and rapidly change their way of life. From home schooling to experiencing social isolation, chances are that your target audience is going through traumatic changes. This is the right time for your brand to engage in a deeper and more meaningful relationship, not only with your customers, but with the wider public.
Rethink your social media strategy and offer support and entertainment, for instance.
Offer, if you can, practical help to communities and the wider public. Examples are many: from Louis Vuitton producing free hand sanitisers for French hospitals, to Armani providing overalls to hospitals in dire need of equipment.
Achieve visibility for the right reasons, but also think of how you could potentially retain some of these positive elements in the long term.
What should I include in my plans right now?
Data is showing that, due to enforced isolation, the audience is hungry for content right now. Think of how you can use content on your social media platforms to start a conversation with your audience through this medium. Real time and cost-effective content solutions are immediately available for brands who want to maximise their visibility and audience engagement.
Use this time to plan – there will be a huge appetite for social activities in a few months’ time. Don’t be afraid to include events, festivals, cinema in your Autumn/Winter plans.
“When this is over there will be a demand to get out like we have never seen before in history. There is no scenario after lockdown where people will say – I am not going out, I am staying in watching Netflix” – said Tim Richards, Vue CEO.
Brands who will be brave enough to include these solutions in their plans, will participate in a future social renaissance.
How do I want my brand to be remembered?
Finally ask yourself: how do I want my brand to be remembered?
The “winners” will be remembered as those being able to adapt their communication to be completely in tune with their audience needs.
Most importantly, the winner will instigate changes that will be implemented in the long term. The post COVID-19 world will be a very different place. Smart brands will have used this time to rethink their relationship with their audience, their staff and the environment.