Marketing During a Pandemic – How 10 Brands Handled It

Social distancing, manic hand sanitising and lockdowns continue. But how are brands handling Covid-19? I’m looking at Marketing During a Pandemic – How 10 Brands Handled It.

Before we delve into some awesome marketing examples, it’s important to understand the current climate. So, here’s a rundown of the latest stats.

The bad news…

  • According to a March survey of 237 brands, 69% of respondents believe they will decrease ad spend in 2020. 65% noticed a decrease in revenue and 38% were concerned about laying staff off due to Covid-19.
  • 73% of small businesses experienced a significant decrease in domestic demand while 56% reported logistics delays with their supply chain.

The good news…

  • According to a KLAVIYO survey published for the week ending Friday, 27 March, many businesses still had optimistic sales forecasts with 28% of respondents reporting an increase of sales.
  • That said, there’s a distinctive shift in the types of goods which people are buying, with consumers opting for essentials over non-essentials.
  • Sales of disposable gloves, for instance, are up by year-on-year by 670% while cough and cold supplies were up 535%.

The incredibly important news…

  • 1 in 4 companies are set to increase their marketing activities
  • 41% intend to make use of the Covid-19 online momentum to maintain or increase their presence in the media.

As a content marketing agency providing unique content for brands during these unprecedented times and beyond, this is music to our ears. The right marketing strategy will give your company the best chance of boosting sales, despite an erratic economy. So, with this in mind, here are 10 companies that are nailing content marketing during a pandemic.

#1 Jet2 – Organised, Informative Tweets

Airlines have been hugely affected by the Covid-19 crisis and have had to face much demand and criticism from angry and frustrated travellers. Jet2 has dealt with the pressure by using the Pinned Tweet tool on Twitter to keep followers informed. Their updates are to-the-point, concise and considerate. They also show how the brand is trying to deal with things in an organised and structured way.

Jet2 has also been very responsive on social media, replying to customer posts and trying to resolve as many issues as possible. While it’s impossible to keep everyone happy during such a difficult time, being active across your channels is a great start.

Top tip for marketers: Try not to bury your head in the sand when things go wrong. Instead, confront the issue head on and provide practical, useful advice when possible.

#2 ASOS – Brand-Related Humour

With 1 million Twitter followers, ASOS keeps their fan base entertained with brand-related humour. Sure, Covid-19 sucks and is not funny by any means. But, when we’re all stuck indoors, laughter can go a long way with ASOS lifting the mood with memes, GIFs and quarantine-related jokes. After all, we’ve got to keep smiling at times like these – right?

Top tip for marketers: Remember, you don’t always have to go in for the hard sell. Building a strong connection with your followers is important. You can do this by posting relatable, on-trend content that will resonate with your target market.

#3 KrispyKremeUK – Giving Back

Head over to Instagram and you’ll see that Krispy Kreme UK is all about giving back. Corporate responsibility initiatives show you care and help your brand to stand out during a crisis. Don’t be sickly sweet or over-the-top, however, as you don’t want to seem in-genuine or make people cringe.

Krispy Kreme also introduced an element of competition into their corporate responsibly efforts. By asking consumers to design a new donut to show appreciation to critical workers, they also encouraged brand engagement. Genius.

Top tip for marketers: Think carefully about corporate responsibility. 81% of millennials say they want to support brands with corporate citizenship, so by giving back you can also build your own fanbase.

#4 Waitrose & Partners – Celebrity Partnerships

You may have seen celebrities such as Gok Wan trying to lift the mood of Instagram followers with his Isolation Nation DJ set. But brands are also getting in on the act with celebrity partnerships that focus on creating an upbeat vibe. Waitrose & Partners, for instance, teamed up with Fern Cotton to deliver a weekend playlist with a link through to Spotify.

Top tip for marketers: Create your own campaign hashtags. If you’ve got something good going on, let people find your content and engage with it easily! For example, Waitrose & Partners went for #FeelGoodFriday.

#5 Asda – Promote Health and Safety

With people scared about catching Covid-19, promoting the health and safety of your brand is a good idea – particularly for supermarkets. Asda provides regular Instagram updates explaining what they do to keep you safe while shopping.

#6 Yale University – Free Content

In the spring of 2018, Yale University professor Laurie Santos taught ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ in response to stress, depression and anxiety among students. That class resonated with students and became the most popular in Yale’s history. As a result, Santos created a Coursera course to give a wider audience access to the contents of the class: The Science of Well-Being. And right now, you can access this content for free showing how Yale really care when it comes to sharing important information with the world.

Top tip for marketers: Don’t be afraid to offer giveaways, as they spark engagement and show you are not just after money at every opportunity. Profit will come down the line if you manage to garner a loyal following.

#7 IKEA UK – Meatball Love

When you think of IKEA, you think of meatballs, right? Oh, and flat pack furniture. IKEA and meatballs go hand-in-hand and the Swedish brand knows this all too well which is why they’ve shared their special lockdown recipe on Instagram and Twitter.

Top tip for marketers: Play on the strengths of your brand. If you have a product you know people love, then maximise it on social media. Or, just be useful. If you can make lives a bit easier during the pandemic, go for it.

#8 Boots UK – Encourage Engagement

We like this simple yet clever post from Boots UK, over on Instagram as it encourages interaction and engagement while simultaneously promoting a wide range of products available from the brand. It’s fun, on-trend and not too in your face.

Top tip for marketers: Get people thinking and talking while staying on brand. Asking questions encourages replies and is a useful tip to remember. When using Instagram, you can also make the most of question or slider stickers to fuel a response.

#9 KFC – Promote What You Still Do!

There’s a lot of confusion around at the moment. So, as a brand it’s important to explain what you’re doing in this current climate. KFC, for instance, has made it very clear across social media that they are offering drive through and contactless delivery.

Top tip for marketers: Ensure your marketing messages are crisp and clear. Don’t leave consumers guessing, then wonder why your sales are falling.

#10 Sephora – Stay at Home Glam

Just because we’re in isolation doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy stay at home glam! Sephora refuses to let standards slip with their Beauty at Home feature on Instagram Stories which features all kinds of product tips and explainers . So, whether you’re home schooling or sitting in front of Netflix, you can still feel pretty.

Their Instagram posts are even shoppable so you can get your hands on any products that take your fancy – quickly and hassle-free.

Top tip for marketers: One-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses. So, why not use this tool to your advantage making sure your posts are shoppable where necessary to get that revenue coming in? With many companies moving online during this pandemic, making sales as easy as possible really is the key.

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