The current situation is a test for any marketer and brand manager. It’s a test for all of us as humans. This virus is affecting every part of our lives. Our families, friends, livelihoods and communities.
There are also only so many Zoom meetings, Joe Wicks exercise videos and meals cobbled together from what's left in the fridge that we can handle.
While competitors reduce their marketing spend and focus on short-term product sales, investing in marketing can be used to soften losses during this time, reduce the duration of the negative effects the recession will bring and drive long term growth.
We know the numbers. Kantar is reporting that web browsing has increased by 70% and (traditional) TV viewing has increased by 63%. Online usage is increasing at the same or even faster rate than traditional media.
This presents a massive opportunity. Audiences are sitting at home consuming and sharing content to feel connected, entertained and updated. Vodafone’s internet usage has surged by up to 50% and Facebook has seen a steep rise in use of WhatsApp and Messenger, up to 70% in some countries. At this point, my screen time report for the week now feels completely unnecessary. I know I’m using my phone more than ever before, and everyone else is too.
Avoid token gestures
While social media engagement has increased by 61% over normal usage rates, brands are also generally being seen in a positive light. There have been some missteps. Token gestures like McDonald’s separating the golden arches had some blowback but through Media Bounty’s insight work with big data social listening tool, Pulsar, we are saw that over 80% of posts with brands had positive sentiment. Not taking advantage of this increased audience and positive attitude towards brands would be a mistake.
Audiences are engaging with brands across all digital channels and there are plenty of opportunities for brands to gather new insights and behaviours and engage with the right content.
Right now social media is where brands are scoring big, and their actions during times in crisis will have long-lasting effects. This is the moment for brands to invest, leverage lower ads costs and reach wider audiences with their budgets to make sure they hit the ground running once the economy is on the mend.
As the inimitable Mark Ritson said only this week: "The best marketers will be upping, not cutting their budgets".
Jake Dubbins, marketing director, Media Bounty