COVID-19 has changed the world in ways we can’t even begin to grasp yet. With the situation rapidly evolving and no definitive view of what the timeline will be, people are still trying to prepare for the next wave of change. There’s just as much uncertainty for brands, but many also have an opportunity to help their consumers as they navigate this global crisis.

It’s time to get proactive. Think about what your business looks like tomorrow, a month from now, or even a year from now. Marketers and business leaders may want to have those conversations to determine how they could prepare for tomorrow and the weeks to come, and how they could adapt to the different scenarios that might play out. Look beyond the short-term and think about how you can shift from reactive to proactive. What solutions do you need to build? How can you adapt to prepare for the long-term?

5 questions brands can ask themselves

What is our plan if this lasts for months? A year?

Brands may want to think about this as if it will be a long-term change. Consider putting plans in place today to get ahead of the next challenge.

How and where can we still connect with consumers?

Your audience hasn’t changed, but where you connect with them might have. Think about where consumers are spending time and how to shift your focus.

What do consumers need? Where can we add value?

Look for opportunities to help consumers in different ways, as people and companies both adapt to a new lifestyle.

How should our messaging change now and long-term?

Evaluate your messaging and think about how it will need to evolve over time as things change (or stay the same).

How can we provide support when things stabilize?

Think about what your business could look like when social distancing ends. How could your brand transition, and what might consumers need from you?

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The changing digital landscape

With most people at home, consumers are spending much more time online and in front of screens. Nielsen predicts that at-home streaming is poised to rise by over 60% in the U.S. based on past consumer behavior during isolating hurricanes and winter storms. Consumers are at home, working remotely, and looking for ways to fill their time, which will result in more time spent online, watching TV and streaming video, playing games, and on social media.

Industry publication eMarketer has adjusted their global media ad spending forecast for 2020 from $712 billion down to $692 billion. This initial adjustment anticipates reduced spend, but still a 7% increase over 2019. Advertising costs are also likely to shift across search, social, and programmatic platforms. Accenture Interactive analyzed over 14,000 social ads to find that cross-platform CPMs were 24% lower on average from February to March compared to the same period last year. Advertisers whose industries can still add value for consumers during this period of social distancing can leverage those lower media costs to reach new audiences and continue connecting with customers.

Select Google searches have been on the rise as consumers seek information on shelter-in-place policies, restaurant and grocery hours, how to order goods online, the housing and stock markets, taxes, unemployment, and Covid-19 testing.

Food & beverage

Searches for “open restaurants” and “online grocery” have grown rapidly. Food brands can adapt their media to help customers find information quickly.

Financial services

Brands can support consumers by meeting them in search with clear information on markets, mortgages, taxes, savings and credit options.

Ecommerce

Ecommerce brands can highlight their most relevant goods and instill consumer confidence with transparency around shipping and sanitation policies.

Entertainment

Searches for “things to do at home” continue to grow, giving brands an opportunity to answer consumers with relevant content in search.

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Consumer-first recommendations for media

Give consumers a community

Look for opportunities to build a community as consumers search for ways to interact with each other and engage with content “together” online.

Recontextualize your campaigns

Consumers are eager for information, activity and entertainment. Get creative with virtual alternatives to your marketing efforts.

Focus your messaging on the consumer

Tone is a crucial factor in navigating this sensitive, uncertain time. You can strike a balance by focusing on transparency and consumer needs.

Prepare for first-time digital customers

Audiences that have traditionally avoided ecommerce will need guidance, clarity, and education from brands as they adapt to a more digital world.

Bring your offline offerings online

From telemedicine to online fitness, remember to be flexible and innovative as you consider where your offline offerings can bring value online.

Use your voice to add value

With media consumption rising, brands can use their positions of power to spread factual information and help consumers navigate the day-to-day.

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