Currently, carrying on with a ‘business as normal’ attitude isn’t going to work. In the wake of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the majority of businesses and brands are having to find new and innovative marketing ways to combat this difficult situation. One of the main methods they have found to do so is by utilising digital platforms like they never have done before.

Marketing during Coronavirus presents unique challenges to brands and how they approach the situation can drastically affect their perceptions and identity in the eyes of the public. Finding the right, responsible way to craft your messaging and effectively market during a crisis has now become a key aspect to ensuring that your company can thrive once the world begins to return back to normal. As Marketing Week founder Mark Ritson puts it, ‘It might seem superficially mercantile to discuss brands, pricing and customer behaviour as we stare down the barrel of a pandemic. But the practical reality of global economic trade means that we need to market now for the good of all mankind’.

With this in mind, here are some innovative examples of brands reacting digitally to COVID-19 in ways that not only engage their audience, but also act as effective ways to offer help at this testing time.

1. Brewdog

With people in the UK now advised to steer clear of pubs, bars and all other social gatherings, it would understandably seem to be a dire time for beer chains and providers. However, Brewdog has been finding new ways to help keep its stockists afloat while still promoting social distancing. By shifting their focus more onto their Hop Drop app, something that was initially built as a delivery service, customers can now place an order for any amount of Brewdog food or drink. Once they have done this they will receive their order delivered to their car or even to the door of a bar. Essentially, Brewdog has transformed their delivery service into a click and collect one.

Just as added extras, Brewdog is also now producing hand sanitiser in order to combat current shortages and is offering all NHS staff 50% off all orders via this repurposed ‘Drive Thru’ service. Brewdog proves that just because the way you’ve always operated digitally might not work right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t transform it into something even more effective.

2. Chipotle

With social distancing becoming more important to fight off Coronavirus, most restaurants and fast food chains are having to shift away from their physical locations and instead promote their delivery services and engage with customers digitally. Mexican fast food chain Chipotle is one of the best examples of this. While they have been offering customers free delivery throughout March, the brand is also trying to lighten the situation by helping customers come together virtually. Recently they launched‘Chipotle Together’. This is a series of Zoom hangouts featuring celebrity hosts, live music from the likes of Portugal, The Manand and have had up to 3,000 guests. Just because you may be unable to connect physically with your customers, doesn’t mean you can’t engage with them digitally in fun, unique ways. This is the sort of response that forges strong bonds with your audience and makes it much more likely that they will want to connect with you again in the future.

3. Secret London

As they are concerned with offering advice and insights into events and things to do in London, it might be assumed that websites like Secret London would be affected badly by the effects of social distancing and people in quarantine. However, they have very cleverly and helpfully adjusted the focus of their content effectively. Instead of promoting outdoor centric content as normal, they have digitally shifted to help people stay active and engaged from the comfort of their own home. Now they feature pieces of content such as ‘Things to Do in London Without Leaving Your Home’, ‘Virtual Walking Tours’ and ‘Online Talks to Keep You Learning’. Through adapting their online approach effectively with the shifting times, Secret London have managed to keep engaging with their audience as well as offering information and content that is helpful, useful and interesting, all while staying true to their identity.

4. Passenger

Passenger clothing has founded its entire identity around activities outside, exploring nature and offering outdoor clothing. Unfortunately these are the sort of hobbies and activities that people can’t really do at the minute. However, while they may not be able to offer the outdoors to their customers, they have decided to offer other digital forms of escapism. With regular newsletters, updated site content and new clothing collections, Passenger are engaging with their existing customers extremely effectively. However, they have also taken their digital escapism one step further, creating music playlists and live streaming sessions for their customers to enjoy. By looking to bring the physical outdoors into people’s homes in a digital way, Passenger have reacted to this crisis in a way that truly emphasises who they are as a brand.

5. Hay Festival

As a physical event that is focused on people coming together in one place, it is understandable and advisable that the Hay Festival, one of the largest and most influential literary events, had to be cancelled. However, this didn’t mean that they gave up, took their losses and moved on. Instead, they are taking their event and turning it into an entirely digital one. Moving forward they will look to bring writers and readers together in webinars, workshops, podcasts, live social media Q&As with online talks and readings. As well as this, they have created the Hay Player to offer digital access to the festival archives from prior events featuring guest curations and themed playlists. It may not be how they planned to do it, but the Hay Festival is embracing the digital world and continuing to provide services and entertainment to their devoted audience.

6. Conan

As proof that this global pandemic is affecting everyone from self-employed business owners to late night talk show hosts used to broadcasting to millions, Conan O’Brien had to adapt his television programme to focus on the digital side of things. Unable to film in front of a live audience or have his large staff on site due to safety issues, instead the production team decided to film episodes, segments and interviews via video conferencing before uploading them directly to YouTube as they looked to engage and grow their audience on social platforms. Their broadcasts from home are embracing digital platforms and literally finding new ways to engage with their audience. If traditional forms of media are beginning to react digitally to the current situation, then it shows that you too should be finding ways to expand and incorporate your online platforms to engage and communicate with your customers during the current global situation.

Final Thoughts

Finding new ways to market during Coronavirus can be a key way for your business and brand to stay afloat throughout these testing times. If you are not currently moving a huge amount of your marketing focus into the digital sphere and using it to communicate with your audience in engaging and innovative ways, you will start to stagnante and fall behind to competitors. How you react at the present time will speak volumes to your customers so you need to ensure that you get it right.

If you have any questions, or are unsure about what the best digital marketing approach for you during the coronavirus might be, please feel free to reach out to us at Appnova as we will be happy to help you during this difficult time.



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