The changing shape of marketing as a result of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of April I wrote an article on how to maintain a brand presence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and our thoughts on the future of marketing in general. Four months on, it is refreshing to see that many businesses have been able to embrace the somewhat forced remote-working model in order to keep their businesses alive – and working from home has been crowned a success. The way we work is clearly changing and it is interesting to read that 50 of the UK’s largest employers questioned by the BBC said they have no plans to return all staff to the office full-time in the near future. Working from home has been extremely successful and many businesses that can operate remotely are cautious to return to the office, at least on a permanent basis, and have dare I say found efficiencies within their organisation. Whilst remote working is now instilled within many businesses and has produced many benefits, on the flip side we believe interaction is still incredibly important for the creation of ideas and brand culture.

This does not mean that challenging times do not lie ahead. Unsurprisingly the UK officially entered recession and the marketing model has once again been turned on its head. Gone are the big advertising budgets, or at the very least spend has been cut back. Certain growing promotional areas are under the spotlight, with influencer partnerships being evaluated. Facebook reported its slowest revenue growth since 2012, yet their daily social media usage during lockdown unsurprisingly increased by 11%. Twitter reported that its daily active users increased by 34%. Out of sheer boredom people also took to new platforms such as Tiktok, which in some cases has created a whole new audience. Restriction on movement has increased video content and the reliance on social media audiences has seen many businesses taking these channels much more seriously.

Your brand has arguably never been more important

Marketers like many service-sectors have had to adapt their creative approach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Speed of delivery has been key. With client meetings paused, at BrandBrown we saw an increase in electronic client communication output and the digital profile is in some cases now the biggest brand touch point. During lockdown a web site was a company’s core shop window, and client newsletters and social media activity has arguably provided the most brand awareness – keeping all businesses including those that were forced to close such as shops and restaurants connected with customers and prospects. Furthermore innovative Government schemes such as #EatOutToHelpOut have given businesses a real chance to communicate digitally and help get people back out and crucially, spending.

Let’s not get too comfortable

The easing of lockdown has helped many businesses get back on their feet but the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to determine advertising spend. This has been the most testing time the majority of businesses have ever faced. As an industry, things are constantly changing – and we have to adapt.

The digital path forward

Marketing in a recession will never be easy, but there is an opportunity here to maintain and grow your presence during this difficult period. Now is a great time to be thinking about 2021 and your longer-term marketing goals.  The benefits of our integrated marketing model highlight the need for speed, adaptability and reliability – combined with good value. Please do get in touch if you are looking for help with any brand, design or communications work – or if we can assist with any new-found challenges you may now have. Had a brilliant idea during lockdown? We’re always happy to talk!

Author: Robert Brown, Founder of Brand Brown Ltd – a boutique activity-led creative marketing communications agency.