Businesses around the World have all been affected by the outbreak of Covid-19, whether they’re tourism, travel, retail, property, beauty or finance. Over the last few weeks, the United Kingdom has witnessed well-known brands shutting their doors due to strict government instruction however, we have also witnessed brands such as Next, who have stopped taking orders altogether as they have temporarily shut down their website.
Whilst this may seem like a damaging move, especially economically, this will only be short term. In the long-term however, this move will have proved beneficial as they have increased their brand salience and equity by showing strong ethics as a company.
During the self-isolation period, the British public have been monitoring brands who have taken positive steps, and those who have not. LVMH, Coty & Prada have taken positive steps by producing highly sought after anti-bacterial gel at their manufacturing locations. Pret a Manger was one of the first to offer free hot drinks and discounts to NHS Staff, whilst Kurt Geiger has asked their employees to support their local communities and Age UK whilst off-work and receiving full pay. As a result, the British public have vowed to give brands who are helping fight the coronavirus their business once this is all over. This shows the importance of brand equity and differentiation.
Recovery from previous epidemics and disasters has shown that those with the strongest brand equity, tend to recover the quickest during difficult economic times and so brands should currently be focusing on shaping how they are perceived and growing a positive brand image. Whilst the brands that have been mentioned above already have a very strong following there is opportunity for smaller brands to also shape their brand image through digital marketing.
With a large majority of people working from home, online activity has increased massively. We have seen some of the biggest increases across Internet Browsing, Websites, Social Networks and Email – all of which are digital marketing channels. This provides the perfect opportunity for brands to reach a wide network, and there is also decreased activity by competitors which could further improve digital outreach.
In tough economic times, some brands will cut marketing efforts and focus on delivering low-cost products for consumers, in an attempt to attract business. Whilst this could work in the short-term, this will hugely affect the brand equity in the long term. Instead, brands should be focusing on maximizing brand differentiation versus competitors, as this will provide the best brand growth, post-epidemic and a multi-channel digital strategy is the perfect way to do this for brands of all sizes.
If you want to learn more about what we could do for you and your brand, then get in touch. We have over 15 years’ experience in the industry and can provide both long term and short term strategies to benefit your brand.