The concept of marketing has evolved over decades but what has remained constant till date is keeping it personalised. Earlier, marketing initiatives revolved around the product and services and its USP being the ‘hero’, with the intent to sell. While the intent still holds true today, it’s the consumers who are at the forefront of all marketing strategies leading the brands to focus on awareness and problem-solving with creativity and innovation at the helm of it. The advent of online advertising has opened multiple touchpoints to reach out to consumers but that also means that brands need to be agile in order to find the best platform to reach its audience. What also holds true today is as the famous saying goes - ‘one idea is all it takes’, and the execution of that idea doesn’t necessarily have to be larger than life ATL/BTL activations with a huge spend.
At present, with screen-time at an all-time high, there is an increasing reliability on online platforms, which has led to higher digital adoption across the board. In the midst of information clutter in the past five months, what has surely struck the minds of the consumers and made the rounds on social platforms and the media are creative brand stories that resonated with the audiences, eventually bringing brands closer to them. Marketers who have focused their messaging around relevant content and the realities of our world while portraying an authentic side to their brand have been successful.
Brands that have been quick on their feet to understand the shift in the consumer behavior, purchasing and consumption pattern and pivoted the same in their strategy creatively have been on the forefront. Unlike, the post-Covid world, where brands would spend multi-million dollars on their campaign, it still made the news even though it’s overall impact and reach wouldn’t have matched the numbers. With major shifts caused by the pandemic, marketers have gone back to their drawing board as the race is about capturing the audience’s mind and creating conversations in a brief window.
We can’t deny the fact that it is a time where everybody has been impacted by the global pandemic in some way or the other. Hence, now is the right time for brands to extend their presence in the lives of consumers by adding value and helping them solve their problems. Relevant content around the realities of our world can resonate and portray an authentic side to your brand – a more human one. Touching on uniquely human emotions and touchpoints like resilience, kindness, empathy, memories, self-expression, gratitude, etc, and molding it creatively in the overall marketing mix is the way to go.
A simple idea like having a positive conversation around work-life balance led to Blackberry launching its campaign #RiseFromHome asks their users to share how they are managing their time personally and professionally vis-a-vis sharing tips on video conferencing etiquettes and how to dress up during video calls creating brand resonance. On the other hand, I have also appreciated how food-delivery companies have really taken the challenge head on and have been delivering on their brand promise. For instance, how Zomato’s team have simple moments or trends being instantly capitalized on their social platforms or the many initiatives that the brand has undertaken to support its delivery partners, restaurants, customers and the larger community is something we could all take a note of.
It was also interesting to see how various brands pushed the messaging of inclusivity during the month of pride especially when pride marches were cancelled all over the world. As again, the focus was not on the product but around the consumers to create a line of messaging that talks about Pride by creatively adding brand values to that narrative. While these initiatives might not have directly impacted sales, it would surely put you up the ranks for content that audiences will look forward to checking out going forward.
All in all, what I would like to conclude here is that in this period of uncertainty, the first and foremost thing that brands need to do is accept their reality and focus on now. While no one knows what the future holds, brand strategies curated at present to add value to consumers’ lives by being creative and agile will be the cornerstone of communication for any smart and future thinking business.
The author is group CMO, Embassy Group.
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