It’s Important Not to Go Dark in Disruptive Times

Unprecedented times bring massive challenges, but we have been through this before, and lessons learned from 2020 are important to remember this time around.

Businesses need to consider strategic plans and continue to invest in their brands. Continuing to invest in advertising and an online, social media presence will help set your company up for success.

Don’t Cut (All) Spending on Advertising

Slashing advertising budgets until things stabilise is tempting, but for most companies, it will actually have negative downstream impacts. As we know from last year, you can’t afford to get left behind.

According to a Nielsen custom analysis, on average, brands realise 47 percent of their marketing efforts after one year. That means a reduction in advertising over the next few months could have a big impact well beyond. In addition, messaging from brands that stop advertising now may be less effective when the brands ramp up their marketing efforts again, potentially reducing long-term sales.

Take Advantage of Changing Media Habits

With most people engaging in some form of stay-at-home living, media consumption has changed dynamically. Never have so many people suddenly altered their daily work and personal routines.

In general, overall media consumption has gone up, increasing a brand’s opportunity to create meaningful, loyal, and long-lasting relationships with consumers. In February 2020, during peak lockdown periods, social media platform TikTok was downloaded by over 100 million users worldwide.

In New Zealand, more that 170,000 adult consumers shopped online for the first time during the first six months of 2020.

With these changes, brands have an opportunity to re-evaluate their traditional media channels, identify media consumption changes within target markets and adjust accordingly.

Consider Changing Strategy and Messaging

Few companies have the luxury of continuing with the same ads and marketing programs that they had in place before the pandemic. COVID-19 is disrupting advertising content, changing brands’ messaging and advertising strategies.

For brands, it’s critical to be seen as a source of stability during these times and to emphasise how they are assisting customers in riding out this storm. Brand messaging pivots fall into one of a few core themes: charitable relief, frontline assistance, reinforcing public health messages, promoting a new advantage and digital reinvention.

Finding new ways to message your brand can help you maintain awareness, bridge the gap to a new normal and help you retain customers.

Now More Than Ever, Leverage Analytics

In the current environment, using analytics is important to ensure you are deploying every dollar effectively. According to Nielsen’s long-term effect model benchmarks, having the right data, methodology, insights, and activation can lead to, on average, a 7x return on the cost of the analytics program itself.

Today, the right analytics program needs to be adaptable and account for both marketing and non-marketing factors. Understanding the impacts to your brand from a local to country level, and foreshadowing potential disruption to inventory, supply chain and consumer confidence is critical.

Flexibility is also key. While you must consider the long-term impacts of your marketing efforts, you also need data quickly to make short-term moves and evaluate on a daily basis as the environment continues to change. To truly maximise the decisions, you need to make to win, consider using custom insights. With the right local brand and vertical customisation, brands can see ROI increases of up to 40 percent.

As history has taught us, advertisers that double-down on their marketing plans and commit to riding through the storm will maintain their hold on brand awareness and market share, securing their place with consumers for the long term.