Adapting to a changing landscape
Adapting to changes is part and parcel of running any business. This is because brand perception is never set in stone. With every new generation of consumers, your business’ brand image can change. And, depending on how you market your services and products, you can either turn this chance into an opportunity to retain your customers, gain some, or lose potentially new ones.
Time figures in choosing to refine your marketing strategy or creating a new one altogether. A gradual change offers you more time to work out an approach, but a more abrupt transformation will not. Thus, it’s important to know your brand well and position it strongly such that you wouldn’t need to accommodate every trend out there.
Accommodating changes by reworking your marketing strategies is straightforward. But with a scale as large and pervasive as the crisis the world is facing, this may be difficult.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it unprecedented changes in how branding and marketing work on a global scale. With limited information and no historical reference point to start with, it’s natural to not know where to turn to, lest knowing if your brand can take the potential loss.
At this time, it’s important to understand and accept the situation for what it is—a crisis. It is unexpected, creates uncertainty, and is a threat to our important goals. But, as all crises go in history, it will unravel on its own, too.
In the meantime, we must work with what we have and know, utilize the tools at our disposal, and tackle challenges as they come. Translated to your business, this means changing or revamping your marketing strategies to reflect a powerful and empathetic response, as well as a forward-thinking approach.
So, how do you exactly build and revamp these strategies to reflect your position? We start by going back to the basics and then explore effective marketing strategies. This will let you see where you need to improve on how you do things.
What Is a Brand?
A brand is any identifying feature that companies use to distinguish themselves from other competitors. Cultivating your brand or branding means refining it so that it matches the message you stand for. This tells people who you are as a company. But it shouldn’t stop with the right branding; you must be able to reach your target market, too.
It’s important to remember that branding and marketing do not mean the same thing. Marketing is a push tactic, a means to actively promote a product or service. Branding, on the other hand, is the strategic effort that underlies your marketing tactics. Your marketing efforts are not constant; they change according to what accommodates consumers’ behavior.
Your branding is the image that sticks on the minds of your consumers and potential customers. On a long-term basis, it’s what makes your consumers choose your products and services over other companies because you deliver your brand promise of reliability. In short, it’s what determines loyalty.
Given these, it’s easy to think that there’s no harm looking at one as the other, and vice versa. But differentiating between the two makes sure you make informed and effective decisions about which to prioritize and make long-term investments on.
Now that we have the basics covered, what makes for a good brand, what areas affect its creation, what can good branding and, consequently, good marketing do?
What Should Your Brand Do?
Branding is all about solving a particular problem and getting your target market to select your solution over the competition. If done right, branding will give you:
- Competitive advantage
- Customer recognition
- Customer loyalty
- Ease of product line entries
- Higher sales and profit margins
But for your brand to be a ‘good’ brand, in the first place, it must:
- Deliver a clear message
- Connect to the target prospects on an emotional level
- Position itself to have credibility in the marketplace
- Ensure that your customers continue to buy your products and avail your services
- Motivate prospects to make purchases
- Create user loyalty and brand affinity
Not sure if your brand is strong enough to derive and retain value? Here’s a quick checklist:
- Is my brand relatable? Can my target market easily grasp my message?
- Despite being relatable to my target market, is my brand still unique?
- Does my brand represent the values that my target market holds to be important?
But, Your Brand Can Do More
At the end of the day, effective branding drives success—and not only in terms of brand loyalty and sales. Effective branding also serves the good of the community because of the position it has in society. That is to say, because well-positioned brands have a wider reach, they can help out in disseminating the right information in times of crises.
This said, for your branding to reach the projected market, it must have the right marketing strategies. But, how do you do this exactly?
Managing Your Brand through Effective Marketing Strategies
It starts with understanding the needs and wants of your consumers and prospects and then building your brand around these very factors. Marketing is where you synthesize these insights to reach your target market.
This early, you should know if your marketing strategies are performing optimally. Here are three simple questions to determine it yourself:
- Did my product or service satisfy the need I tried to address?
- Is the quality of my product or service as good as promised or was it better?
- Was my consumers’ experience positive overall?
If any of your answers to these questions didn’t sit quite well, we encourage rechecking your strategies. It is important to view effective marketing strategies to not only be beneficial to your company’s sales but also to your loyal customer base. Doing so will make sure your branding is intact or remains true to what your company believes in. Most of all, it genuinely allows you to reach and address your customer’s needs.
Your Brand and Digital Marketing
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing refers to any of the varied marketing tactics used through electronic devices and online. This includes email marketing, social media marketing, search marketing, mobile marketing, and content marketing, among others.
Today, different kinds of companies are using this method to propagate their respective brands. In fact, we encourage you to switch most of your marketing efforts to digital because of its numerous benefits.
This is not a trend, it’s the present and this is how it will be in the future.
So, why switch to digital marketing? Consider these:
Traditional marketing works on a fixed budget. Usually, this budget will be spent on television ads, radio ads, and newspaper ads. But knowing where your budget will go won’t make a difference when you don’t have an accurate way to measure your return of investment. This alone makes it expensive. With digital marketing, your budget will be spread out to multiple electronic channels such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, etc. You can also adjust your budget to reflect the results of your campaign as it happens or according to what you can afford at the moment.
Ability to Target the Right Customers
Digital marketing allows you to focus on your target audience, thereby reducing random traffic that won’t do anything for your sales or your projected outcomes. With traditional marketing, this can be downright impossible.
Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your campaign working effectively in real-time. Digital marketing makes this possible with Google Analytics. This tool allows you to run a couple of campaigns and know their conversation rate, profit rate, audience demographics, and your bounce rate, as they happen. With traditional marketing, you would have to wait for months to know if your campaign worked. If it did, you still wouldn’t know how to quantify and interpret the data.
Instant Interaction and Engagement
Reviews are a traditional marketing tactic and are one of the surefire ways you can know if your products or services are well-received. But these can be notoriously slow. With digital marketing, specifically through social media, you can immediately get comments from your consumers and give feedback immediately. This allows you to build long-lasting relationships and trust. Above all, it reassures your consumers that you are there.
Today, the need for an online presence cannot be overstated when you’re running a brand. Compared to traditional marketing, switching to digital marketing allows an infinitely wider reach—something that an ad space on a newspaper cannot offer.
Digital Marketing in the Time of COVID-19
There is no better time than today for digital marketing to be at the forefront. With the pandemic causing confusion and uncertainty in the workforce, digital strategies can protect your brand from going under. On the other hand, the crisis also presents an extraordinary opportunity for you to prove your mettle—like the way you will handle it will affect your reputation even after the pandemic passes.
Consumer Behavior During COVID-19
COVID-19 continues to impact consumer behavior, as well as marketing spend and marketing mix. Some key points:
- Overall retail demand decreased by 90% according to Amperity’s COVID-19 Retail Monitor. This is consumer behavior based on 100 North American retail brands.
- Conviva, a streaming media intelligence provider, reports a 26% streaming increase in the U.S.
- There is more content created these times. According to Global Web Index, an increase of 10% of consumers globally are creating and uploading videos. The same study also reports 45% of them using social media more actively than before the crisis.
These increased online and digital activities mean you need to find where your consumers are online and engage them in these platforms. You will need to move into SEO-led campaigns and social media marketing and adapt fast, so you won’t lose them.
However, improving your online presence and adapting whatever marketing strategy you see fit shouldn’t be placed just because you can. You also need to understand the inner workings behind consumer behavior. The key here is understanding that while your consumers are highly distracted, they are also vulnerable at this time. So, make sure your messaging is generous and empathetic. After all, a brand that is able to make consumers feel better will be the one that retains a larger market share.
6 Digital Marketing Strategies to Adapt During COVID-19
Effective Content Writing
Your content drives search engine results and increases your traffic. It also sets you up to be an industry leader on your field and prompt Google to rank you higher in the search engine results. But during this time, effective content writing can work to recalibrate your messaging.
The only type of content you should churn out
Maintain a steady stream of high-quality content through blogs, videos, social media posts, and other types of content that are:
- Original and informative
- Shareable/optimized for sharing
- Valuable but easily digestible
Original and informative
If creating original content is daunting, we suggest repurposing them into an infographic, condensing them into a short video, or getting snippets of it to create sound bites for social media posts. You can also call on guest contributors to share their wisdom to keep an interesting mix of content.
Shareable/optimized for sharing
The important thing here is to have new content posted routinely. You shouldn’t start with enticing content and then disappear. A lot of B2C businesses don’t see the light of the day because of this self-sabotage. It also paints you as unreliable from your audience’s perspective where being seen as trustworthy is the ideal one.
Valuable but easily digestible
Being a trusted source of valuable information is crucial at this time. Users feel vulnerable and one of the ways they feel safe is by loading up on information. But it won’t do if your content is dense and ‘un-skimmable.’ Remember, there are a lot of choices online. So, make sure to recalibrate your messaging and offer valuable but easily digestible content.
Customized Web Design
Gone are the days when a website that looked like every other website was the standard. Today, the more customized your website is, the better chances of your business being found, engaging customers, and growing your business. This is because, when you customize your website, you are:
- Making sure a unique look matches your unique brand
- Showing the professionalism of your business
- Ensuring that it is search engine friendly
- Showing your dedication to your consumers
- Standing out from your competitors
- Setting the foundation for a lasting relationship
With the pandemic terrorizing the world, users want to feel safe more than ever. Customizing your website does just this. It offers you the flexibility to shape your messaging according to the times and ensures your users that your business is legitimate.
Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is essential for every business regardless of size. It is a fluid and long-term marketing strategy that will already have a noticeable impact within the first year. This impact, however, will last for several more after that as long as basic SEO best practices are employed.
Making sure your website is search engine optimized will help you reach more customers during this time. Adapting SEO in your e-commerce website selling medical aids and DMEs, for instance, will allow you to address your customers’ needs.
Aside from improving your website’s overall searchability and visibility, you can also leverage SEO to:
- Foster trust and credibility
- Give a better user experience
- Understand the environment of the web and the tactics used
- Increase engagement, relevant traffic, and conversions to drive revenue and profit
Good Social Media Management
Brand messaging is crucial, especially when the world is facing the uncertainties of a crisis.
In fact, according to Smart Insights, 63% of social media users expect companies to offer them services through this channel.
Thus, you must ensure that breaking down the barrier between your business and your consumers is worth it.
When fake news and misinformation run rampant on the same platform, you must always make sure to be a source of verified information presented in a non-sensationalist manner. Also, make sure to employ the appropriate communication strategies and say the right things in the right tone. Recalibrate your position if necessary.
Figure out how you can help even if it doesn’t involve your product or service. The last thing you would want is to come across as opportunistic. Aside from the right tone and messaging, you can provide limited free access to your services for those who have been affected.
Engaging Graphic Design
Open any digital platform and chances are, you will be faced with an overload of information.
While other factors can naturally separate the relevant from those which aren’t, good graphic design can capture your attention and pull you in immediately. It’s also a sign of the dedication of the brand to maintaining a brand identity and, in turn, to its customers.
This is especially obvious when facing a crisis. Brands that spend for good graphic design are most likely to be seen as being serious about their business than those who don’t. As a user yourself, you will likely prefer a healthcare provider that has a clear vision reflected on the website than one that is poorly designed.
Paying for an expensive but engaging graphic design upfront will also save you money than spending on a cheap but poor design. A poor design will most likely end with delays and redesigns since they will not print clearly or have formatting or layout issues.
Obviously, delays and crises don’t go together. Your audience needs timely information and services—something that a poorly designed website or social media graphics won’t be able to give.
Efficient Customer Support through Customer Support Outsourcing
Customer service keeps your business afloat. Even with the best services and the highest quality products, without a dedicated customer service to keep customers coming and accommodate their after-purchase needs, your business will not survive.
Here are more reasons to consider it:
- Outsourcing your customer support will save you money and resources
- Outsourcing your customer support will connect you with professionals who already have the expertise. This allows you to collaborate in finding new ways to engage with your consumers.
- Outsourcing your customer support will take the pressure off your HR or administration as they won’t have to take over the task and instead focus on the ones they have.
With the present crisis, you can’t afford to lose your customer support—outsourcing will make sure your operations remain smooth.
There are marketing strategies and digital tools you can utilize to ensure your brand’s growth and positive image amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But these strategies won’t matter if you don’t have the basic best practices in building a brand down pat.
So, while you should especially leverage digital platforms during this time, you must also make sure to go back to the basics, so to speak.
Also, remember that good intention goes a long way. As long as you do things from a genuine place, then you’re already off to a good start.
Let Proweaver Help Manage Your Brand During COVID-19
If marketing is the lifeblood of any organization, then the changes in the field are the veins in which marketing thrives. This said, with the flurry to make the transition to work from home from working on the office, facing changes at this time can be difficult.
However, as a business owner, you must make sure that it is well-managed, too. Approach this shift to digital marketing strategically so you can carry on providing long-term value even after the crisis. In any case, it would make your business more resilient if you don’t treat this as an emergency fill-in but a possible way of business, too.
Proweaver can be your partner during these trying times. We understand that with everything on your plate, you may not make the best decisions. For instance, that proactive statement that’s supposed to be empathetic and forward-thinking or that brand messaging that’s meant to reflect the values of the consumers cannot be as effective when you’re pressed for time. This can result in a faux pas that could have easily been prevented when you enlist the services of a trusted provider of custom web design like Proweaver.
Our graphic designers, web developers, customer service representatives, SEO specialists, and content writers will work together to make sure your brand reflects your vision. We will also make sure to position your brand in a way that’s positive so you are quicker to rebound and retain a larger market share during this time.
Let Proweaver be your partner for success. Contact us today.