How COVID-19 changed brand messages?

When it comes to running your own business, as with any other part of everyday life, the words “global pandemic” have certainly brought an air of redefining how things work. In 2020, we’ve been able to witness how coronavirus managed to alter the functioning of virtually the entire planet in a matter of weeks. But what Digital Dot is set to discover is how exactly it affected marketing efforts of both worldwide and small, local companies. COVID-19 changed brand messages under the influence of the large overall consumer behavior shift caused by the “new normal” – the age of isolation and uncertainty that the pandemic imposed on buyers’ lives.

Six months in – the change is not as short-termed as it had previously been expected

When the world went into a lockdown in March 2020, there were those marketers who considered this to be a short-lived bump in the road that would soon enough end up being forgotten. With no long-term effects on people’s lives, there seemed to be no need to make large alterations in the way marketing departments handle their share of work.

a woman putting on a face mask
Although it has been seen as a short-lived bump in the road, the pandemic has made a colossal impact on people’s lifestyles.

However, after what is currently more than six months of different levels of quarantine – companies have begun to come to terms with the fact of the matter: the pandemic has had a long-term effect. This is the type of change that crept into every part of life – including the way people choose to spend their money. Consequently, it was inevitable for companies to start making changes in their marketing efforts.

How did COVID-19 change brand messages exactly?

Customer-based brand messages

During the uncertain times of the pandemic, brand messages have slowly turned from being about the brand – towards being about the customer. Talking about what the customer needs, and showing an understanding of those specific needs has been the primary focus of marketing turns on the road most companies made. The core strategy has been for brands to display compassion and sympathy in order to show appreciation and an honest grasp of what a real person is going through during the pandemic.

a girl wearing a face maske shopping for groceries
The way people live and spend their money has seen some major changes – which, in turn, changed companies’ marketing strategies.

With people changing their everyday lifestyle significantly and narrowing down their scope of movement on a daily basis, consumer habits have shifted immensely. More attention is being paid to how the brands they opt for choose to respond; the level of humanity in brand messages has therefore been forced to increase.

“Stay at home” movement and its impact on consumer behavior changes

In 2020, we have witnessed almost all of the population retreating to their own homes. With people both living and working at home, a lot of industries, such as global tourism have suffered colossal setbacks, whereas others, such as delivery services, have seen a major upswing. Marketing departments of companies worldwide have been trying to adapt to these currents and adjust brand messages to the new circumstances.

Digital relocation of businesses

The abovementioned circumstances of people staying at home more than ever forced businesses to migrate their activities from brick and mortar stores and build their brands online. With purchasing activities shifting online, the necessity for delivery service and human interaction is still very much existent. Businesses are simply pushed towards finding new ways to appeal to customers – by offering convenience, availability, and safety.

How does this affect marketing strategies?

In order to make the most of the current situation, as well as the changes that are yet to come, marketers must remain attentive and able to shift focus when necessary. Running a successful online business seems to matter now more than ever. The way COVID-19 changed brand messages is by all means reflected in emphasizing social awareness and the value of the brand itself in times of insecurity. There is, however, a lack of complete understanding of the actual long-term effects the pandemic is bound to have on all aspects of the industry.

Is there a bulletproof marketing strategy to apply right now? Besides making sure your brand has an honest response and adapts to the situation accordingly, there is no real recipe for success. Ensuring your brand’s message is in tune with the current events at all times is the number one marketing challenge to tackle. There was a time when making a year’s marketing plan was possible. Nowadays, modifications and adaptability play a major role in building any marketing strategy.

The key points of brand messages during the pandemic

In the process of retaining existing customers while making an effort to attract new ones in today’s industry, brands must make sure to follow several key principles:

  • Health and safety considerations – making sure buyers are aware that your brand’s number one care is their wellbeing. The customers themselves, their needs, and their well-being are to be put as the number one concern of the brand you represent.
  • Adaptability and sensitivity to the ever-changing industry climate of today – remain focused on the market changes and, if necessary, shift your marketing course accordingly.
  • Maximizing your online marketing efforts – as the world has turned towards a more private, indoor way of functioning, your brand’s main marketing efforts should be turned towards your product or services being both noticed and accessible online. Use all tools available to make this possible, which include an appropriate social media strategy and a highly-functioning website/e-commerce platform.

Avoid rushing into decisions marketing-wise

a person wearing a face mask holing a globe
The global, long-term effects of the pandemic are yet to be seen, so marketers should remain focused and have an ear for the changes in customers’ needs at all times.

As brands continue to stay relevant and carry a message of deep care and understanding of consumers’ needs in these unprecedented times, one of the most detrimental slips marketers can make would be rushing into decisions and strategies. Stay in tune with the current situation and adjust your brand messages accordingly. Not only has COVID-19 changed brand messages, but it will most likely continue to do so in the days to come; which is why making rock-solid, long-term marketing calls is not the best of choices right now.

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