While Coronavirus is sending consumers into unknown territory, business owners are continuing to feel the insecurity around when Australian restrictions will be lifted and thus how long they need to sustain this 'business as unusual' status. One thing that is certain; restrictions are here to stay for months and businesses must continue to be agile and adapt to ride out this storm. With that in mind, we look at why it has never been more important for organisations to invest in marketing, communication and advertising, because how a brand manages and reacts in a crisis will be remembered by consumers for years to come.
History and numbers tell us that continuing, even amplifying, marketing activity is a powerful play during uncertain economic times. As Lynda Cavalera (Australian Marketing Institute Chairperson) said when asked about the Coronavirus pandemic: ‘those brands who place onus on marketing will emerge in the optimum position to grow’.
We asked our client Nick Russo, CEO at Summer Snow Juice, why he is continuing to invest in marketing now and into the coming months: 'since we entered the era of COVID-19 our marketing and strategic thinking has become more important than ever. We are continuing to invest, more than ever, and are increasing the strategic thought, effort and spend around positioning our products and building our brand. When things were good, we always knew that we should market ourselves, now we must'.
During the recession of the late 90’s, *McDonald’s opted to drop its advertising budget, so Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took full advantage of the available market-share and increased marketing activity. Pizza Hut sales grew by 61% and Taco Bell 40%, while McDonald’s saw a decline of 28%.
Our client Pippa Hanson, CEO at The Sport Injury Clinic, has shifted her routes to market and invested in online advertising, here's why: 'the current situation has increased our need for marketing and effective communication with our clients. We're also thinking differently about how we go to market, including joint ventures with other PIER clients where we can add value to each others business. These uncertain times call for increased communication, increased promotion and increased activity to support the community and our business'.
Your audience has spoken
A recent *survey done by Kantar of more than 25,000 consumers globally found that a tiny 8% said brands should stop advertising. Furthermore 77% believe brands should continue helping them in their daily lives and 75% think brands should inform people of what they’re doing during the Coronavirus outbreak. Simply put, your audience wants to hear from you. Here are some key reasons to invest in marketing at this time, especially while your competitors may not be:
- Take advantage and increase your brand’s share of voice in a quiet market. There may be some advertising and promotional opportunities that were previously out of reach due to an overcrowded and therefore expensive ad market
- As the general public is spending most of their time at home, they’re consuming more online content than ever - 70% more to be exact - so you might consider diverting marketing spend to this space
- The cost of digital advertising could be lower due to other organisations culling their spend, less competition means a lower ad cost
- Continuing to be present in consumer’s lives at this time reassures them in the security of your organisation – go quiet and you could leave them questioning your stability
Kantar Group estimate that brands who pause promotion to save costs will see a 39% reduction in brand awareness and experience a delayed recovery after Coronavirus. We know that consumers are more informed and savvier than ever, and their research shows that consumers will develop even greater brand trust and loyalty if organisations reassure them. Build trust and positive reputation by taking the opportunity to share what you’re doing to look after your staff and community, and think about how you can adjust your messaging to be sensitive to the current events we're all experiencing.
Plan intentionally and act swiftly
Whether you’re spending the big bucks on marketing or looking at a more modest budget to ride this wave, it’s critical that your approach is considered and the activity is aligned with your short-term business goals. To ensure you’re getting the most bang for your investment buck, measuring your marketing effectiveness is equally important. This will help you understand quickly and easily what was successful and respond to a rapidly changing market by making swift adjustments. Read our Measure Your Marketing blog here for tips on how to do this. Keep investing, but make sure it’s on the right activities for your business and target audience in today’s market
When Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart, was asked what he thought about a recession he responded: ‘I thought about it and decided that I did not want to take part’. Australia will get through this - it’s not a matter of if, but when, and savvy business owners are preparing for the future. Speak to PIER about how we can help your business invest in the right marketing to reap the rewards.
By Jacinta Brideson.