The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected brands in almost every sector across the globe to varying degrees. Some industries, such as hospitality and travel, have been brought almost to a complete stop while others are adapting to remote working or reduced staffing policies.
Whilst it is a challenging time for all bringing sweeping lifestyle changes, it’s important to recognise that it is a temporary situation. It’s likely that we’ll learn important lessons through the crisis and return to a ‘new normal’, but it remains vital for brands to keep an eye on the future.
Keeping marketing in the picture
Ultimately, marketing is an investment, and should be treated as such – rather than as a cost. Although there is no precedent for such an impactful pandemic in the modern era, we can take a few lessons from the 2008 financial crisis, which saw many brands take a hit.
Following the 2008 financial crisis, strength of brand – or ‘brand equity’ – proved to be a significant factor in businesses’ recovery. Brand equity is made up of three key elements:
- Brand meaning – how is the brand seen by consumers?
- Point of difference – what differentiates the brand against the market?
- Salience – how well recognised is the brand?
Of these factors, salience is the greatest indicator of a brand’s ability to recover effectively. It’s having a strong point of difference, however, that tends to indicate growth in the long term.
Brands can improve their salience by ensuring that they have an effective share of voice, which should be equal to their market share, if not higher. Despite the current situation, very few consumers are expecting brands to stop advertising completely, so there’s no reason not to keep developing brand voice provided the messaging remains relevant, reassuring, and avoids profiteering.
Marketing might not be the first thing on everybody’s minds right now – but it certainly shouldn’t be the last, and brands that continue to work proactively will reap the benefits in the long term.