When dealing with a crisis the first thing a brand needs to do is try to assess the situation — but what follows next? Well, it depends on what kind of a business it is (so your solutions are tailored specifically to your industry) and you should find a remedy that works for your brand. 

In some instances, many would jump into restructuring their finances if it’s an economic crisis, while others might seek public relations agencies for guidance or even make use of media monitoring services. 

In the midst of it all, some brands seek opportunities to elevate themselves to greater heights. Take, for example, those who add new services to their offerings, adapt to change and invest more in other parts of their brand during tough economic crises and uncertainties. 

Without beating around the bush, here’s how to head a marketing campaign during a crisis: 

1. What measures can brands take to remain relevant in their space of trade?

Across industries, consumers are embracing digital even more than they were before the start of the pandemic. 

The half-hearted digital commerce and marketing strategies [that] many organisations pursued before will not be good enough anymore. Marketers are looking closely at how customers’ behaviours and habits changed under lockdown to understand which are going to stick.

Many of the lifestyle changes, channel choices and brand switches consumers made during the early months of COVID-19 are likely to endure. Brand managers cannot assume when lockdowns are all completely over that people will go back to the old ways.

Established brands will build on what they learnt at this time [in order] to position [themselves] for a world where remote work, omnichannel retail and other changes are entrenched.
 Companies that use digital technologies to know their customers and respond with agility will be best positioned for the future.
Digital-first companies, however, are often better equipped to adjust to changing customer habits. UCOOK, for example, positioned itself for a world where people are moving away from dining at restaurants to eating at home. Others like Bottles and Netflorist could rapidly reinvent themselves as essential service providers when they couldn’t sell their core products.

The lesson to take from this is that companies that use digital technologies to know their customers and respond with agility will be best positioned for the future. 

2. What steps can marketers take if their brand is affected by economic strains strangling their sales? 

They can begin with an immediate audit of their marketing spend across all channels with a view to finding ways to cut wastage. In most instances, the wasted advertising Rands are the ones that are not accurately tracked or measured to the point of conversion. 

The next step is to use digital tools to learn more about the audience and target the right people with a relevant message at opportune times. Platforms such as Google and Facebook enable businesses to precisely target consumers most likely to convert with the right message, and without spending a fortune on above-the-line mass media. 

Marketers can [also] track spending to final conversion events, enabling them to see where they’re getting a good ROI. This, in turn, lets them optimise campaign messaging and targeting, so that they get ever better results over time.

This approach is flexible, allowing brands to rapidly launch tactical, conversion-focused campaigns without massive outlays.  

3. When, and why, should a marketing strategy include media monitoring services into their strategy?

I think media monitoring is essential to fully understand where you are getting the most value from your above the line campaigns. 

 I don't think it  works as well in digital, given that most media is bought programmatically through an auction. There are no rate cards and it is difficult for a media monitoring company to know the extent of a brand’s exposure on a platform like Google or Facebook through monitoring.

I think media monitoring is essential to fully understand where you are getting the most value from your above the line campaigns.
They can't count how often the brand shows up and how much it is bidding for that exposure. Digital is, however, measurable through various platforms and analytics tools. 

 4. In times of crisis, do you think traditional or digital marketing is more effective? [Video]

Do you think having a brand crisis management plan in place will help you stay ahead of the curve when a crisis looms? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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