There are many things uniting us during this lockdown. One of which is our online content consumption, particularly videos. Does it feel like you’ve seen everything? Admit it. At some point, we’ve literally become one of the several memes we share daily.
Btw, my favorite pasta sauce (Arrabbiata FYI) tells me I eat healthy, read a lot and bring happiness to people. So… I have new goals for this month in lockdown.
As a consequence of the pandemic and uncertainty of the future, we are all dealing with anxiety and stress, literally keeping us up at night. Being restricted indoors and being inundated with grim news definitely doesn’t help. There has been a rise in good news movements across the world to bring some hope and positivity to people.
We are actively seeking, looking at, and sharing meaningful content to boost each other in these strange times, to stay connected as we socially distance ourselves.
It’s the ideal time for brands to publish content that can leave a lasting positive impact. Let’s talk numbers. 92% of marketers say video is an important part of their strategy as it provides positive ROI. 65% of users watch over three-quarters of a video and 92% of users on their mobile devices tend to share videos with their circle.
Here are some video types you can explore at this time (and where we can help!):
Let’s pretend we are in college and get back to the basics: boot-strap filmmaking. The idea plays a bigger role than the production quality. Sony Pictures & Kalyan Jewellers recently provided this gem which managed to connect all of the Indian audiences. UpGrad got some stars to film themselves at home to encourage upskilling while we sit at home.
With all of us missing the good ol’ office days, Tata Cliq came to us to create a campaign that could soothe work-from-home blues. While content surrounding employees missing workplaces already existed, we decided to tell the story from a different perspective. The campaign film is narrated through different inanimate objects around office, telling employees #YouMadeItCliq. The film was executed using purchased stock footage and voice-overs from different theatre artists and radio jockeys to bring the objects to life.
After Team Social Beat went into work-from-home mode, we produced a home-made video to check-in and remind each other the proper way to wash hands. For Earth Day, we published a video made entirely from copyright-free videos sourced online. Using in-house talent to get the narration in place and minimal text narration, we encouraged people to remain conscious of the use of the earth’s resources, even after lockdown.
There are several ways a video can be executed even with the on and off-screen talent sitting in their own homes. The video content is what sets it apart. While different themes can be explored, the two popular routes we see at this time is humour and the social/empathetic route. It’s crucial to focus on the message of the video as, in this scenario, the idea trumps production quality.
These videos can be used across channels to engage with your audience. As YouTube ads to social media posts and stories, depending on the type and duration, these videos can be churned out relatively quickly. Ideal to stay relevant, tap into trending topics, and publish timely content.
An easily communicable disease making its way across the globe can be pretty terrifying, more so for those who have pre-existing medical conditions. Dr. Reddy’s reached out to us to create a film for their nutritional health drink, Celevida. The campaign film, #WinLifeEveryDay, showcases the key benefits of the health drink being a nutritional supplement for diabetics, supporting immunity and helping fight against infections.
Another group of people who are home and are experts at producing home-made videos that can help promote your brand in an authentic way - influencers.
Influencer marketing campaigns are a no-brainer in the current climate. Not only do we consume a lot of influencer videos, we are guilty of turning into mini influencers with posts on new workouts, recipes, hobbies, and more! Even those of us who swore off TikTok have now participated in and posted our TikTok challenges. This is a safe space, you can admit it.
Our influencer marketing platform, Influencer.in, has an extensive database of more than 40K influencers across categories like lifestyle, health, fashion, food, entertainment, and more! With the ban of TikTok in Jun 2020, there are a host of TikTok alternatives that have come up in India too.
For Himalaya Quista Pro, we partnered with influencers to share home workout tips and routines. boAt took to TikTok with the campaign #boAtheadStayINsane, creating challenges that can be done indoors and encouraging the audience to do the same. With social distancing in place, Khatabook took to TikTok to tell shopowners not to worry, they just need to download the app to get their pending payments.
Since people are indoors and available, it’s a great time to go LIVE. There has been a jump in people viewing and participating in Live videos across TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Partnering with influencers and experts, through Live Q&As, FAQs, interviews, and more, brands can start a dialogue directly with their audience.
There are plenty of ways we can continue to engage our audience through videos. What’s important to ensure is that the message communicated through the video does not come across as insensitive and out-of-touch which will reverberate long after we cross this tunnel. It’s crucial to stay empathetic, true, and show solidarity in these unprecedented times.
I’ll leave you with this meme.
There are few instances in a brand's lifetime when it encounters a real litmus test. A test to see if the brand values it professes and communicates time and again to its audience are genuine or just marketing fluff. Today, we see ourselves right in the midst of this test. As the Covid-19 coronavirus spreads rapidly across the world with a complete disregard for national borders, class or gender, communities everywhere are seeing a complete overhaul of 'life as we know it'. In this time, marketing, which has always focused on staying relevant by leveraging trending topics, sees itself in a conflict. Not creating posts around the coronavirus might make the brand sound out of touch, but talking about the virus for the sake of it can come across as insensitive.
So how does a brand stay true to its values and build equity during these challenging times? Here are some essential points every brand should keep in mind.
It's clear that the overall public health crisis and the drastic changes in buying behaviour caused by the Coronavirus have led the economy to go into a slowdown. In fact, the economic impact of the Coronavirus is expected to continue long after the last patient is treated. While companies across sectors have been hit, the biggest blow has undoubtedly been to the travel and hospitality industry. The chart below illustrates this best.
If you are noticing a steep fall in your organic and paid traffic, it might be tempting to pause all activities until the situation stabilizes. However, sustaining marketing during the Coronavirus period is important because it ensures that you don't lose brand visibility and recall among your target audience. Pausing your campaigns could mean that you will have to work twice as hard to regain your brand presence once the Coronavirus disappears. We recommend that brands continue to invest in brand marketing, even if it’s at a minimal level.
While marketing your products and services might not result in any impact at a time like this, you can start posting positive and informative content that can help your consumers. Posts that create public health awareness or uplift your audience's spirits during this time can be the best way forward.
With so much false information making the rounds, it's important that brands stay true to official facts stated by the world's leading health organizations. Given the immense reach and power to influence that every brand has, it's crucial that we evaluate every piece of information we put out. Brands should also keep a close eye on the tone of their communications. Doomsday-esque messages might bring in the shares and engagement, but our responsibility as brands is greater than that. Always include credible sources whenever you share a post on Coronavirus facts or safety tips. This could go a long way in ensuring every person takes the necessary safety precautions to combat the virus.
In one survey of what customers expect from brands during the coronavirus period, 28% said that brands should be a trusted source of information, while 27% said that brands should attack the crisis and show that it can be fought and 15% said that brands should offer practical advice that can help consumers face their new normal. Achieving these three goals can help your brand far more than sending out negative messages can.
You can learn more about the survey and other strategies to build a strong marketing plan in times of crisis through this video.
The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic doesn't necessarily mean that brands have to go into damage control mode. This could be one of the best times for a brand to create a lasting positive impression on their audience by providing something of genuine value. LinkedIn is one of the best examples of this, having come out with a number of complementary courses and resources on working from home and maintaining productivity to help those in self-quarantine. You can also use this time to branch into new techniques like influencer marketing and vernacular content, or a combination of the two, to reach your audience and build credibility. For instance, influencers can spread social awareness messages in the various regional languages your audience is most comfortable with to get the word across.
Of course, brands in the healthcare space are best positioned to launch medical marketing strategies during this time. A hospital specializing in the treatment of diabetes can provide content specifically designed to help at-risk diabetes patients protect themselves from the virus. Below is an awareness video created by Dr. V Mohan, which exemplifies this:
But virtually any sector can offer content of value during this time. For instance, an early learning education brand can start offering online webinars to continue a child's education despite schools being closed. These strategies can help users build a positive association with your brand that will outlast the pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that empathy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience. Brands need to listen closely to what their audience is saying and sharing on different platforms and then respond accordingly in a way that builds solidarity. It will also be useful to take a step back and audit your new marketing campaigns and messaging to check if they are having the intended effect. All too often, a well-meaning ad can be downplayed by an insensitive 'Subscribe Now' button that pops up at the end of it.
This presentation covers the blueprint that brands should follow to engage with their customers during the coronavirus crisis and examples of some of the brands who have been most successful at it.
Are there any existing evergreen brand assets like ebooks and whitepapers on your website that need to be updated and improved? Or perhaps, there have been long-standing plans to create new guides, a new video or webinar series or new pages on your website. Most companies have ideas in the pipeline which never go live because of a lack of time or organizational bandwidth. The relative slowdown due to the Coronavirus could often translate into a lesser workload. This means you can finally take all of those ideas off the backburner and actually start bringing them to life! You can approach this time as an opportunity to revamp your existing brand assets and create new ones that will rake in results once the Coronavirus clears up.
Just as important as spreading accurate information about the virus is spreading accurate information about your brand itself. Since most physical outlets are shut, you should ensure that the most accurate information about your working hours is updated on your GMB listings and on social platforms. Change your working hours to 'Closed' if you have a physical presence and are not operational. If you are an e-commerce brand and are unable to ship products, make sure that your database of consumers receives a notification about it and that this information is displayed on your website.
While the situation might be grim now, there's no doubt that it will pass eventually. Brands need to gear up for when this happens by putting in place a contingency plan. This is especially true of the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry. Once the pandemic clears, the world isn't going to go back to normal overnight. Post-Coronavirus consumers are very likely to still be fearful of travel or of visiting crowded locations like malls and movie theatres. Experts postulate that there will be ten major shifts even once the coronavirus pandemic clears up:
This presentation goes into the above ten factors and breaks down how brands can navigate through them to increase their ROI on post-COVID-19 marketing.
In this scenario, brands need to put in place a holistic full-funnel marketing plan to instil confidence in their audience and reassure them of the safety of their safety. Special promotional activities and offers might be required to help brands gain traction.
The sudden spread of the Coronavirus has certainly come as a shock to consumers and brands everywhere. But with the right strategies, brands can emerge from this trying period with greater brand equity, more engaged audiences and powerful new assets. The most important thing to focus on now, of course, is to stay safe until this tides over!
Brands across sectors have seen a large scale shift with the decline in the economy, which has taken a hard hit during the ongoing pandemic. And in these last few weeks, as the world has grappled with the Coronavirus and its unprecedented impact, brands have quickly stepped up to roll out important changes and updates to make these times a little bit better. Here’s a look at a few of them.
Google is the number one search engine across the globe, and with people turning to them every day to look for answers on COVID-19, it’s important that their information is accurate and up to date.
Which is why now, when you look up anything related to the coronavirus on Google, every search will trigger and display a dedicated Knowledge Panel which provides users with accurate information.
Google has also announced that arrangements have been made for some teams to work closely with the World Health Organisation through the ongoing health crisis. The information gathered in this interface enables Google to provide and update information on the Knowledge Panel with real-time news and verified advice.
At the same time, so many of Google’s products are integrated into a person’s workday - with Gmail, Google Ads, Analytics, etc. With the Coronavirus, there have been certain products that have been seeing more engagement and traction, and to make working remotely easier, Google provided free access to all features of the advanced version of Hangouts. This is applicable around the world to G-Suite users, as well as customers in the field of education, and will run till July 1st, 2020.
Google has also included Coronavirus as a featured search on its trends page. The most commonly asked questions can help guide healthcare professionals and companies address these queries and provide useful information during a time of unfamiliarity and little knowledge of the disease.
Similar to Google, TikTok has provided users with an Information Center on COVID-19. This is visible on their app in the upper right-hand corner, as an icon shaped like a shield. When users click on this, they are directed to a live page, updated continuously with news-clippings and videos from official sources, updates from WHO, information on global and domestic numbers, myth busters, FAQs, and basic preventive measures, amongst other COVID-19 initiatives.
This is an insightful way of leveraging content during these times, especially since TikTok has really taken off during these last few months with the spread of the virus. New challenges have shown up as people attempt new things while locked indoors around the world, and this has led to a massive surge in the number of downloads. In the week of March 16, 2020, TikTok witnessed an 18% increase in the number of downloads, with 2 million that week alone.
With the prevailing rise of this social media platform, TikTok’s move to provide information on COVID-related updates allows the app to be a one-stop destination for both entertainment and news. Marketers and influencers may also move to leverage TikTok marketing during COVID-19 as the situation of lockdown and social distancing remains in place.
Google is not the only brand to have made remote connectivity easier. Facebook has finally launched the desktop version of its Messenger app. Facebook has been planning to release this update for a while now, but having witnessed the increase in use and number of downloads of video calling apps during these times, this update comes at the perfect time.
The app can be downloaded on any OS and can be launched separately. It enables users to log in and use Messenger just as they would on any browser - with features to chat with different contacts, share media, and of course, video call friends and family to stay connected.
Instagram rolled out a co-watch feature on its app to bring people closer together by providing access to share screens and scroll feeds with one another. This feature is a useful one as it provides a new way for users to connect and share with one another when everyone is under lockdown at home, unable to connect face-to-face.