COVID-19 lockdown: How brands are utilising marketing tools to engage audience in meaningful experiences

Some brands are using tools like Go Live, Contests, ‘Ask me something’

In this period of emergency, one must pause to have a look around and analyse what the world communication is about, you’ll notice that there is just a single story that is being narrated by every top-notch brand across the world like Coca-Cola, Nike, Ola or Swiggy, and it is not just constrained to them, but also the native brands who are going that extra mile to ensure the safety and security of their stakeholders, the general public.

People our age have never lived during a pandemic, let alone experienced one. Brands understand that this scenario may create a negative impact on the mental as well as the physical well-being of the population; thus, brands are leveraging their resources to keep people entertained and occupied to uplift the overall frame of mind and create an environ of positivity and cheer. We, humans, need more meaningful relationships to help us get through this, and brands are already on it- they are building trust and creating value.

People love brands, people love to engage in conversations that get the attention, and they feel exceptional, especially when brands recognize their efforts and revert to their messages and give them a shout-out on social media platforms. Today, when people have more time in their hands, imagine what the outcome will be when the brands engage with their targeted audience, make them comfortable and weave them into a marketing strategy. Some brands have already taken upon this opportunity to interact with the audience using tools like Go Live, Contests, ‘Ask me something’, and have left the participants in their awe.

While you are wondering how you can leverage this prospect this to your best, here are some brands who have executed a creative content strategy using different marketing tools to spread positivity and cheer:
●    Newspaper ads/print media:

o    Lifebuoy Ad: Lifebuoy shared a service message that encouraged people to wash their hands with soap (any soap). There is no better way to ensure the audience that you care and that you are amongst the top players in the industry than by just shunning the competition and being out there. This is what people are looking for, a positive attitude and acts of community benefit.  

●    Social media marketing:

o    McDonald’s India: McD didn’t want people to worry about the circumstances outside, and thus engaged them into a game of Instakshri- a digital version of our childhood game Antakshri. This was a fresh and new way to interact with the community and make them feel amused.

o    OLA: A lot of businesses are currently operating through online video calls (as work from home), and people are already missing the crazy traffic on the road because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Thus, OLA gave this human emotion a quirky touch and created a post while seamlessly integrating itself in the communication:

●    Email marketing:

o    Flipkart: While most of the brands out there are talking about COVID-19, Flipkart is taking this to engage with their targeted audience and to do so, are suggesting daily tasks/activities. One of the #Stayin21Days Activity:

                                                                      (Flipkart Email Marketing example)
o    Swiggy: is a brand that will do that extra bit to ensure that its customers are safe and secure. With its email marketing, Swiggy is reminding people of the necessary measures to take during this outbreak, and also is engaging them into the latest trends.

●    Public relations: PR efforts also include corporate social responsibility initiative, and brands are being identified as community heroes for their participation and contribution towards the fight against the pandemic.

o    Facebook and Apple: Big brands are usually prepared to fight against the crisis no matter what the situation, and through this outbreak, Facebook and Apple have donated millions of facemasks to their employees, distributor networks, healthcare workers and more in the USA and Europe to provide protection. Their efforts may be interpreted as a publicity stunt, but it also instigates a feeling of trust and care- that these brands have for its stakeholders.

The brands today are not limiting their marketing strategies to OOH, television ads, or radio, but also are reaching out through the above-mentioned platforms to engage and interact with their target audience. Brands are not losing on any opportunity to create meaningful experiences for its customers through the pandemic, and are ensuring through the communication that the people know that we are in this together and not to lose hope anytime soon.

(The author is director, The Marcom Avenue. The views expressed are her own and may not subscribe to them.)

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