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Advertising During And After COVID-19, Part 2: Why Marketing Will Add Value During a Pandemic

While the world is sitting at home, trying to figure out what to do with itself amid and post-COVID-19, brands have disappeared from advertisements on TV, streaming services, social media, podcasts, billboards, and beyond. Some believe it’s insensitive to advertise right now. And others, frankly, aren’t sure advertising dollars will be money well-spent. We get it. But we have to disagree. How does the old proverb go? Strike while the iron is hot? Well, the iron is hot! And the competition is low. It makes sense that brands are looking ahead at the remaining fiscal year and starting to panic. It’s understandable that many are considering substantially reducing their annual marketing budgets not knowing what the next 6 to 9 months holds. But there’s a strong case for pushing forward with a strategic media and advertising presence. Your brand should not go dark. And here’s why:

People Are Consuming More Media and There Is Less Ad Competition


During what would normally be a jam-packed media frenzy due to the upcoming elections and sports seasons, as we mentioned in part 1 of this series, ad-spend is at an all-time low. In fact, ad spending is projected to be reduced by up to $40 billion for the 2020 fiscal year between Q2 and Q4. Meanwhile, TV, digital, and social channels are currently being more heavily consumed than usual. People are stuck at home with their devices and desperate for a distraction. Even though there may never be a better time to spend money on media, many brands are hesitant during a time of crisis. Yes, of course, you will need to be careful about the positioning of your media messages. But bottom line, your brand should be out there.

“We have clients that, in the initial couple weeks in March, wanted to get off the air and are now slowly coming back on and readjusting,” said one agency executive. - Digiday.


History Says, Keep On Advertising


Harvard Business School and leading media industry experts, Kantar Media, have both published studies showing how brands that advertise strategically during times of crisis and establish a brand position, create positive long-term growth and recognition, especially smaller brands typically facing steep competition.
Brands that continued to invest in advertising during the financial recession of 2007 and 2008 were able to recover, Kantar’s study shows, and their consumer perception ultimately grew stronger over the next 10 years.
Harvard Business School’s studies provided a longer reaching perspective and considered all major economic downturns dating back to the Great Depression in 1929. The common denominator of brands who survived and excelled? Those brands continued to advertise during a crisis or recession.

Kantar 2
Image courtesy of Kantar Media via AdAge.com

It may seem like a paradox, but recessionary periods actually provide fertile grounds for marketers to grow their brand’s market share if they’re prepared to think long-term. - Marketing Week


New Windows of Opportunity For Brands


So, we know history says to keep marketing. And the competition is low. But what should brands do with that information? First things first, keep consistent communication with your consumers. Dropping off in communication will only hurt the relationship you’ve been working hard to build with them. The more present your message is, the faster your brand will recover. While media behaviors continue to change, new opportunities are created to reach people that you might not have considered in your marketing mix before.

  1. Check in on where your customers are spending their time. Adapt your online and social media strategies as the pandemic progresses in each market.
  2. Adopt an investor mindset. Be aggressive in your approach to adjust marketing spend, and continually track performance in order to readjust and reallocate your money quickly. A shift to online is obvious and inevitable, and companies will need to be both committed and creative about how to use the digital channels available to them.

A study published by the World Economic Forum broke down which platforms these four generations are consuming media on today:

Gen Z Years 8-23: Online Videos, Video Games, Music Streaming, Online TV Streaming

Millennials Years 25-39: Online Videos, Online TV Streaming, Broadcast TV, Music Streaming

Gen X Years 40-54: Broadcast TV, Online TV Streaming, Online Videos, Online Press

Boomer Years 55-75: Broadcast TV, Online TV Streaming, Radio, Online Press

The survival of your brand during and after this pandemic hinges on being present where your consumers are and keeping your message in front of them. Whether your customers are 13 years old and posting videos to TikTok all day or retired and fearfully glued to local news, not putting your brand’s message in front of them while their gobbling media up would be a mistake. Especially while prices are down.

In part 3 of this series, we will walk you through how to realistically plan for the uncertainties looming in Q3 and Q4 while sports and politics (hopefully) resume in the “new normal.”

Catherine Bartz, Channel Engagement Director
Tags
  • Advertising
  • COVID-19
  • Recession
  • marketing
  • Value Creation