COVID-19 has drastically changed the way the marketing world functions, most likely for the foreseeable future. In order to keep up with the competition, brands need to captivate their audiences by emotionally engaging with them and creating a strong brand identity.
As we enter the second half of 2020 and the world slowly starts to reopen, it is important to reflect on how drastically the marketing world has changed. Even though lockdowns are starting to ease up and restaurants and retail are carefully reemerging, the lessons we learned from March and April will definitely carry on over to the future of marketing. Now more than ever, it's important to emotionally connect with your audience in order to keep them engaged.
The communications and marketing world revolves around the news and current events, and the industry's response to the COVID-19 crisis provoked quite a response while still holding true to the brand's image. The advertising and marketing world during the COVID-19 pandemic has been focused around one principle: Stay Home. The concept of being a good and responsible civilian by staying home and socially distancing to flatten the curve of the coronavirus literally spread like wild fire, and brands coped with this pandemic by creating some great advertising and marketing stunts. For example, Burger King's "Stay Home of the Whopper" highlights the Burger King app with delivery features so Whopper fans can enjoy their delicacies from their couches. The spot's strong and ironic tone reflected Burger King's usual creative flare, promising that the Whopper lifestyle can exist at home. Uber, contradicting its functionality of providing transport, thanks its riders for not using Uber during the pandemic, abiding to its heartfelt and emotionally characteristic sentiments. Not only are brands taking advantage of the new stay-at-home norm, they're incorporating it into their identity to continue to appeal to consumers during this difficult time.
Fortunately for freelancers, being able to stay home and work remotely is often part of the gig. For those yearning to make meaningful content and keep audiences engaged during this time, consider turning your brands into a true lifestyle. If during social distancing we can't have people to interact with, we can at least have brands to socialize with.
Turn your brand into a lifestyle.
Find your strongest emotional connection and build off of that idea.
How do you want your consumers to feel when they hear the name of your brand? For example, when we hear Nike, we think of "Just Do It," strong and empowering. When we hear Airbnb, we think of adventures and the housing that goes along with these experiences. What emotions do you hope to evoke from your audience? What is your central idea or message that you want to elicit a response from?
Treat your brand as a personality with feelings and thoughts.
As ridiculous as this may sound, imagining that your brand could speak for itself without the help of copywriters and content creators. After the establishment of a strong image, the copywriters and content creators then make this idea come to life. The brand development of Apple didn't happen overnight- carefully drafted images and advertising helped shape Apple's brand image of sleek, futuristic, and necessary products in our world. A consumer looks at an Apple product and immediately can feel the core values of the brand, which is shown through its advertising, packaging, functionality, and more importantly, its brilliant consumer connection.
Have a conversation with your consumers.
People don't like to read information that they can't understand and process. Write your copy as you would speak to someone in a casual conversation. Using complicated and confusing language can turn off the consumer into thinking your brand is too elitist. Talk to your audience about what they would like to see from the brand, what changes need to be made, and keep an open mind regarding the changing needs of the consumer. An open dialogue ensues trust between the brand and consumers.
What makes your brand different than your competitors? Take two competing spin bike brands for example: Flywheel and SoulCycle. Flywheel brands itself to be intense and guaranteed to break a sweat, while SoulCycle focuses on getting in touch with your zen side. Ask yourself how your audience sees your brand personality in the market and continue to build off of that differentiation. Positioning yourself as the best in your field, specific to your brand image, is the key to success.
So, how can brands take that next step to creating a central message and identity? Have open and honest discussions with your consumers; find out what they would like to see from you. Ask yourself what your brand truly stands for and what values your consumers possess. Experimentation, flexibility, and creativity are the main tools to the communication industry's success. After all, rebranding is supposed to be part of the marketing fun.