Dharika Merchant
Mar 30, 2020

Opinion: Marketing during Covid-19

Creating an impact with current and potential consumers is the need of the hour, says the author

Opinion: Marketing during Covid-19
While the cases of Covid-19 are on the rise all around the world, the media and advertising industry immediately responded with concerning, brand integrated messages. The most memorable ones being the messaging that leveraged the work-from-home epidemic that is on high-demand at the moment. In times like these, where people are constantly on their phones and computer screens to stay abreast of trending news, it becomes imperative for various brands to rethink their marketing strategies so as to meet the current demands. 
The question - ‘how do brands market at a time where Covid-19 is filling the news headlines?’ - is something brands should thoroughly think about. Creating an impact with current and potential consumers, therefore, is the need of the hour. Brands that deal with sanitisation products don’t necessarily have to go above and beyond to market their offerings. However, for others, thinking on creative lines while being sensitive to and empathising with the situation is highly essential. 
Your consumers are indoors. Their only sources of entertainment are browsing the internet or performing tasks that are engaging such as reading, cooking, home workouts, creating, etc. Brands should weave their communication in a way that is edgy yet sensitive. The most effective way to get the attention of consumers is by making use of online media because they are on their smartphones now more than ever. In fact, earlier, the attention span of online consumers was not more than 8 seconds. Now, it’s most likely gone up to 15 seconds; a shift that serves as an opportunity for brands to create an impact. The Covid-19 outbreak is pushing consumers to spend more time on various social platforms. Needless to say, it’s the best time for brands to make use of influencer marketing to drive engagement at a time where sales are most likely to take a hit.
While traditional online marketing may work to an extent, the focus should be on leveraging the right kind of influencers to create long-form content. Influencer-driven campaigns can help position brands as building confidence among its consumers through awareness-generation, amid creating strong brand visibility. After all, influencers are your everyday people whom consumers trust, lest we forget. Influencers can be used effectively to spark conversations about safety, being responsible, and positively engage with the right information. One brilliant example is when the World Health Organisation and Instagram partnered with the ‘Dude with Sign’ to spread awareness about safe routines that people should follow to stay healthy. 
Currently, staying entertaining and safe is primarily the two most concerning aspects of today’s consumers. Self-isolation has become the norm, which means that consumers are taking time out for themselves and rediscovering the joy of being at home. Marketers should perhaps think on the lines of being aggressively social, sensitive, and create an impact that people find will be entertaining at the comfort of their own homes. Kill-joy or not, staying indoors is the situation consumers are forced to be in right now. Brands should welcome messaging that can help them build a long-lasting relationship with their consumers that drives brand loyalty by supporting the general cause. 
(The author is COO, WORD and Alchemy Group.)
Campaign India