Now, in the age of COVID-19, a new normal has arrived. We’re obligated to self-isolate, and so the new, predominant way we (both businesses and individuals) can connect to our broader community is by leveraging social media. It’s the only tool we have to keep each other up-to-date with the facts, communicate with friends and family for support, and learn new ways to cope from individuals and companies who have set a great example.
It’s also now, more than ever, one of the main tools marketing teams have turned to in order to keep customers engaged with their products and ensure businesses keep running.
Before the pandemic spread, brands were able to rely mainly on traditional marketing strategies that were predominantly offline. Research states that on average, 30 – 40% of marketing budget is allocated for trade show sponsorship, travel, expenses, attendance, and collateral. However, amid the fear of attending and sponsoring large events or keeping restaurants and local stores open, businesses are turning to content marketing delivered online to stay engaged with their customers.
It’s an integrated approach that relies on a wide range of digital marketing strategies and tactics such as email, social media, SEO, and paid media to boost engagement with customers.
So, we’ve scoured social media to see which local brands have reacted quickly and effectively to the virus by implementing digital marketing strategies and other creative ways to engage with their customers and look after their employees. Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Plantify is encouraging plant-lovers to buy online and sending a clear message on their social media platforms that they stay at home if they aren’t feeling well. Where that isn’t possible, they have gone above and beyond simple internal hygiene and human exposure minimisation measures by implementing social distancing and payment via SnapScan at the store. To protect their employees, they’ve adjusted staff arrival times to reduce peak traffic exposure and made 70% alcohol sanitiser available as a community service.
2. Pilcrow & Cleaver restaurant reacted swiftly by closing their doors temporarily, making themselves available for take-away online. Before closing the restaurant they replaced their salt & pepper pinch pots with grinders, had hand sanitiser available at all times, removed tables to limit numbers, had two booths available for isolation in the bar area, and ensured their menus were wiped down in front of customers.
3. Pick ‘n Pay mirrored Woolworths Australia’s strategy to protect pensioners, the more vulnerable group in society, by allowing them to shop exclusively from 7am – 8am every Wednesday, before the panic-buyers stream in. They adopted this technique after a suggestion from their online community.
4. Nandos is using their classic cheeky humour to drill in the importance of maintaining hygiene to South African customers. After KFC marketed a ‘finger-lickin’ good’ campaign recently in the UK and received massive backlash for their irresponsibility, Nandos shared the following photo on their Facebook page and Twitter profile, with the caption ‘The power is in our hands, wash them.’
With our ever-changing digital landscape, Coronavirus has driven businesses and individuals to ensure their marketing strategy is delivered both offline and online. Although online communication provides its own challenges, it allows brands to communicate and engage with their audience undisrupted (in an ideal world, where Eskom isn’t involved), no matter what the situation is – as long as you have holistic marketing strategies in place. If you don’t yet have these in place, don’t worry – we’re here to help – and are so glad we can make a positive contribution during these tough times.