Innovation in an era of epidemic: what can COVID-19 teach you about your marketing strategy?

Innovation in an era of epidemic: what can COVID-19 teach you about your marketing strategy?

From gym classes on IGTV and pub experiences in the home to increasing letter spacing on posters to reflect social distancing – some brands lead the way when it comes to epidemic innovation.

From gym classes on IGTV and pub experiences in the home to increasing letter spacing on posters to reflect social distancing – some brands lead the way when it comes to epidemic innovation.

So, what exactly are brands doing to stay relevant throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and what can we learn from their creativity?

We are all going through a pretty crazy period of time right now. A time of extreme uncertainty, isolation and anxiety…to say the least. With global restrictions in place and people being confined to their own homes, it can be tempting for brands to call it quits on any form of marketing efforts. However, the effects of doing so can have a knock-on effect way further down the line. Instead, brands should be looking to pivot their strategies and find new and relevant ways of innovating. And it’s clear that some brands are rising as leaders throughout these unprecedented times by doing exactly that.

The brands that are coming out on top...

As Brits found out the dreadful news that their beloved pubs would be closing, East London-based brewery Signature Brew launched their Pub In A Box concept – quite literally, a pub in a box. Complete with award-winning beers, glassware, snacks and a music quiz, the brand took thinking outside the box to the next level to give the people exactly what they want.

Signature Brew Pub in a Box

Meanwhile, the companies that are able to implement remote working are most likely relishing in the capabilities of Zoom. However, the real winners are the brands that have jumped on Zoom’s green-screen virtual background feature by making their own selection of backgrounds available for users. Behr Paint, for example, has developed Behr Your Background, a library of room designs to ‘make people feel good in their homes’. A clever solution for those working from the comfort of their own sofa – and one that could become increasingly essential as lockdown continues.

Behr Your Background

Simple yet effective – Coca-Cola has adjusted the spaces between letters on a billboard in Times Square to reinforce the message that people should be staying apart.

Coca-Cola: Staying apart is the best way to stay united by Mercado McCann

Keep moving, even when the rest of the world has come to a halt.

So, what exactly can we learn from these brands and their innovative approaches? Well, since only 8% of consumers think that brands should stop advertising due to the coronavirus outbreak, brands should bear in mind that their marketing efforts do not need to come to a halt just because everything else in the world has. What does need to come to a halt though, is anything that isn’t serving consumers in a relevant way within the current climate. Brands must play their part in the epidemic – whether that’s through supporting consumers in their daily lives, adjusting their services to comply with the new restrictions in place, or acting as a source of reputable information – there are a number of different approaches that can be taken.

The brands that are able to meet consumer expectations and reflect a change in values, will ultimately be the brands that come out on top. Responding with empathy is key, but that doesn’t mean that brands need to be boring in order to remain relevant. In fact, as we’ve seen with many of the above examples – creativity is crucial.

In need of some support?

As an agency, we must take an unbiased view on client strategy. Difficult decisions need to be made in order to advise on clients pausing, pulling back or pushing forward with increased spend. Whether you’re online, offline, B2B or B2C, if you have any question marks on your next move – we’re here to support you. Get in touch to allow us to talk you through an appropriate response, free of charge.

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