Author: Joshua Beale, Principal Account Director, Global Retail and CPG
The challenges brought by COVID-19 have meant that even the world’s largest and best-loved brands needed to pivot in order to survive. As a result, many brands have accelerated their shift towards digital sales. But it is clear that consumer habits will change as society is changing – and businesses will need to adapt to survive. Just how smart they are in that process will spell the success or downfall of many a brand.
We held a joint webinar with The Drum on June 10th, titled ‘Digital strategies for a post-lockdown world’, aimed at helping digital marketers to prepare for this strange new world. The webinar featured guidance on how to use data-driven insights to achieve success in your marketing. Following are some examples of how major brands are doing this transformation right.
There is no doubt that travel and tourism have been one of the hardest hit industries. With far fewer opportunities for the brand to sell its rental spaces, Airbnb has innovated and is offering images of its most impressive residences to download for free. In this way, Airbnb can maintain some level of brand awareness and engagement until travel and tourism gets back to normal.
With all sporting events cancelled this summer, the impact on betting companies has been considerable – with activity on their apps and websites having declined significantly. But with the German League having been reinstated, SkyBet moved quickly to respond by launching content that focuses on live polling and engaging customers.
Shelf expiry dates need no longer be a problem for PepsiCo brands with Unwasted.NL. This allows customers to purchase bundles of near-to-expiry products at discounted prices, providing a new way of reducing waste. Unwasted.NL has been followed by similarly themed brands such as snacks.com and pantry.com. With consumers less inclined to pop to the shops, this innovative offering has been very well received.
Homebase has led the DIY sector, thanks to speedily pivoting all of its sales to online. This has been backed by a smart digital strategy based on frequent and thoughtful engagement with its customers. As lockdown restrictions have eased, Homebase quickly communicated social distancing rules to allow customers back into the store, then adapted its marketing activities to focus on the products they would find there.
Admiral quickly responded to the lockdown by offering something back to their clients – a £25 refund on their car or van insurance. This was well received by customers who may have been feeling the financial pressure. By making such a gesture of support in a time when insurance claims on vehicles were at an all time low, the brand has enhanced its customer loyalty.
Cosmetics retailers have seen a great deal of damage brought by lockdown, as they are highly dependent on in-store sales. It has been essential for brands such as Internet aggregate retailer Lookfantastic to reposition themselves – this has been achieved with a combination of incentivised product bundles, product discounts and gifts added to purchases. Impressively, Lookfantastic’s average order value has boosted, as has that of its partner brands including L’Oréal.
The hospitality sector has been hit hard by lockdown – and Cote has responded in an innovative fashion. The French cuisine brand has shifted quickly to focusing its business on online delivery – and it has supported this with some smart Facebook ads powered by geo-location technology. By doing this, the brand has been able to sell meats, chilled meals and wines to a highly targeted marketplace.
Similarly, Pizza Express has shifted its content strategy in a way that enhances its image as a family-oriented brand. It has done this by launching a campaign in which activities and games are suggested to help to keep children and adults alike entertained during lockdown. These messages include promotions of their range of products available in supermarkets.
This New Zealand department store is channelling its creativity towards helping customers feel positive in these difficult times. With a single uplifting message of ‘We Are Open’, the brand aims to instil confidence while promoting social distancing and contactless payment policies. Meanwhile, the store has advanced its online services.
Many people will have financial concerns due to the issues that have arisen from Covid-19. This has led Aldermore Bank to launch its own campaign aimed at reassuring customers. This has seen it promote mortgage repayment holidays, alongside access to funds for business clients. The bank has also launched a wider range of information, with the aim of easing pressure on customer service teams. Finally, the digital banking experience has been strengthened.
The above examples provide some inspiration as to how brands can innovate in order to improve the chances of brand longevity, even in the dire circumstances brought by COVID-19.