Freezing your communications during a crisis isn’t prudent, but you do need to recalibrate your messages. EloQ Communications shares strategies and content ideas to help you through challenging times.
Challenging times are opportunities disguised as problems—and brands must act fast. Brands need to be as useful as possible by combining purpose, practicality, and creativity.
But first, should one even spend on marketing communication during a time like this? Many marketers put a complete freeze on their marketing communication budgets. But that’s not the most prudent strategy. This is the time to show you care and be more useful. Depending on your category and brand stature, there could be little forgiveness for inaction and underreacting.
Plus, if your competitors aren’t spending, it’s a bonus! You spend less on media buying and get a greater share of voice—hence share of mind, and eventually share of wallet.
What you really need is recalibration of your marketing content messages. This doesn’t mean that you go on a spending spree either. Limit your marketing spend to a reasonable level. But importantly, make it count.
Here are some insights and ideas that can help.
The time for brands to shine their living purpose
We need to ask ourselves: How we can bring to life our brand purpose, promise, and essence. Be an ally to your consumers. Prove that you care. Demonstrate empathy. Reinforcing an emotional connection is vital.
- During the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, Lifebuoy – the leading antibacterial soap in Vietnam by Unilever – has cooperated with the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, and the Vietnam Youth Federation to implement the fundraising program “For a healthy Vietnam.” Every cover video of handwashing dance Ghen Co Vy 2.0 contributes 25,000 VND to the fund “Building 100 Lifebuoy handwashing stations – For a healthy Vietnam.” The campaign has attracted 25,000 cover videos with 209,000 shares from celebrities, influencers and the public, and raised 2,3 billion VND. At the end of the campaign, 113 handwashing stations were built all over the country. By building free handwashing stations, Lifebuoy also built their image as a national health brand and spreaded the mission of improving hygiene conditions of Vietnamese.
Financial difficulty is the same for everyone
While the obvious answer is to focus on rational attributes and demonstrate better value, be extremely careful of your brand voice. Be genuine. “We’re in this together” is the approach and tonality you must have.
- Momo, one of the leading e-wallets in Vietnam, just introduces the new online grocery shopping feature on the app. Momo also provides free shipping in under 1 hour for grocery orders in Ho Chi Minh city until April 30th to encourage safety during COVID-19. The promotion delivers the message that Momo understands the difficulty that their customers are facing and Momo is with them to go through this pandemic.
- Also, this isn’t the time for one-upmanship against your competitors. Help them instead, and people will remember you for that.
DIY content thrives in this social distancing period
We know that people tend to go to YouTube and Google for this type of content all the time. Support them with practical advice in the formats they prefer—videos and infographics.
- California Fitness & Yoga Center, a popular fitness center brand in Vietnam, recently ran a series of home workouts named CALI x Home Show on their YouTube channel, teaching people to exercise at home during the quarantine period. Through the series, the center shows its practicality while maintaining the connection and engagement with customers.
- Knorr, an international fast-moving consumer good brand specializing in food seasoning products, suggests 4 recipes to boost the immune system during the pandemic on their Facebook fanpage. Social media is among the top channels to reach the public during the social distancing period as the average time spent daily on social media increases. By sharing useful tips on this channel, Knorr shows its relevance and thoughtfulness to the wide public.
Make people feel good and optimistic
Now more than ever, brands need to harness the mindset of a publisher and create cultural value by either entertaining or inspiring. Even minor light-hearted and entertaining content can go a long way, provided you are thoughtful with tonality and are true to your brand.
- To strengthen the brand image in the pandemic crisis and create a stepping stone for the brand to rebound when the economy recovers, Biti’s, a national footwear brand, kicked off the campaign “Canvas of Pride – Proudly Made in Vietnam.” The project provides a platform for Vietnamese youth to design their own sneakers on the heroic theme to support the beauty of Vietnam – solidarity, humanity, and positivity. The 4 most pre-ordered designs will be put into production and 10% of the product revenue will be contributed to the available Biti’s 1 billion VND fund to support COVID-19 victims. The campaign has attracted over 380 articles from global media outlets such as Bloomberg, Business Insider, BBC, etc., and reached 2.5 million engagements and 50,000 pre-orders in less than 2 weeks. It has also created the highest wave ever of Vietnamese pride and made Biti’s another hero in the national war with the “Invisible enemy.”
Teach your audience to use your digital platforms
Today, many organizations are digitally transformed, and they’ve made huge investments in. But, what’s the point if only limited people use the new features? Both YouTube and Google advocate help content in the form of how-to videos.
- How to pay your utility bills online using an app/computer.
- How to make the best use of an online learning app/platform.
- How to install, troubleshoot, participate in a competition, claim a prize, etc.
Focus on internal communication
Company leadership and internal communications officers have a great responsibility. Your employees can be your biggest source of advocacy and influencers. Treat them right and provide them with guidance, and they will share the love with friends and family, and on social media and beyond, strengthening brand reputation organically.
- As the COVID-19 has impacted severely almost all industries, PR & marketing agencies are not the exception when all businesses are trying their best to tighten the budget. In the pandemic, EloQ Communications’ top management consistently assures and encourages the team members although the company is also facing financial difficulty. Duy Ly, vice president of EloQ Communications, emphasized that “I think that is a way to keep the stability, make employees feel secure to work.”
Of course, one size doesn’t fit all, so you need to brainstorm on what is right for your brand, your category and most importantly, your customers.
And remember, as Henry Ford once said: “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops the clock to save time”.
The blog was developed by Trinh Nguyen, Account Executive at at EloQ Communications. Trinh is studying at California State University, Fullerton, California (USA), majoring in Public Relations.
With references from Campaign Asia.