How brands should adapt their strategies amid Covid-19

Uyen Le
Digital Marketing Exec
April 21, 2020
May 12, 2021
13
min read

The last few months have witnessed a massive change in the business environment across the globe: People are forced to stay at home, many businesses have to suspend or reduce their operations as a global effort to stop the fast-spreading pandemic. Questions have been asked about how brands should adjust and adapt their strategy to best cope with the situation. In this article, let’s discover what are the strategies that brands should adapt to steer their business through this difficult time.

1. Adjusting content strategy in time of crisis

Making efforts to deliver the right message is a good way to reach out to customers, especially in the time of crisis. This can explain why Nike, one of the most famous brand shoes in the world, has recently received good responses from social media for their post encouraging people to do exercise at home during the period of self-isolation. According to their followers, the message has successfully delivered the sporting spirit while encouraging people to follow the government’s law.

Nike's message succeeded in delivering the sporting spirit while encouraging compliance with self-quarantine.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Nike's ambassadors, also repeated the message later in his post.

Cristiano Ronaldo, this brand’s ambassadors, also repeated the message later in his post.

Cocacola is another brand that adapted their content marketing in response to the pandemic

Cocacola is another brand that adapted their content in response to the pandemic 

Another exciting campaign we all should learn from belonged to Kiehls. In early April, this beauty brand decided to please their stay-at-home customers by launching a series of virtual sessions on beauty and mental health! Their virtual wellness program lasted 6 days and ranged from daily skincare sessions to mask & meditation, sending a positive message about taking care of your beauty and mental health even if we’re in the period of self-quarantine!  

Examples from Nike and Kiehls showed us that there are various ways to adjust your content in response to the crisis. If you think that Covid-19 is a sensitive topic that your brand should be mindful about, why not deliver something positive and valuable? Engaging your customers by bringing joy and surprise to help them get through this dark time is a great strategy that is worth your consideration!    

Kiehls launched a series of virtual sessions in the period of self-isolation

Kiehls launched a series of virtual sessions in the period of self-isolation

2. Organizing virtual conference / event

Amidst the outbreak of Covid-19, many brands have to cancel or postpone their events as a global attempt to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Here comes a big question: How can brands communicate and engage with their customers in this period? Some brands found an answer: To make their events go virtual! 

HIMSS20, a Global Health Conference & Exhibition planned to take place in March 2020, had to be postponed due to Covid-19. While the organizers promised to host a virtual event at some point in the future, 1 day later, 1upHealth announced to host its own virtual health conference in the following week. They wrote on their website: “Just like you, we’re super upset HIMSS was canceled due to COVID-19. So instead, we’ve come up with the antidote, the 1st Virtual Health Conference 2020”. The conference was live streamed on YouTube Live on march 11th, attracting thousands of online participants.

Another virtual event that received great attention from the media was the Virtual Denim Trade Show. With the cancellation of the Kingspin Amsterdam event over Covid-19, Kinspin has recently announced to host a virtual trade show taking place in April in replace of their original Amsterdam show. The act of switching from physical events to virtual one is an ideal solution not only to help brands communicate with their customers in this tough period but also encourages remote attendees to participate in the event.

3. Offering additional values to customers

Covid-19 may have created a massive change in consumer’s buying behavior, but this is also an opportunity for brands to strengthen their positions and build customer relationships. Many brands from different industries have taken proactive steps to by offering additional values to help customers get through this difficult time.

In the Foodservice industry, restaurants and major food chains started focusing on delivery option. In Malaysia, KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald offered takeaway service and encouraged customers to pay with cashless payment. In America, fast food chains like Subway, IHOP and other fast food chains also provided free delivery to encourage customers to eat from home without bearing additional cost. 

In the video streaming market, Netflix Party has recently enabled the viewers to chat with each other while streaming videos on Netflix. This feature received a lot of praises as it allows people to connect with others in the self-isolation period. The new entrant Disney+ also announced to stream their movie Frozen 2 three months ahead of the schedule to bring some fun and joy to families during this challenging time.

As many schools and education institutes were closed due to Covid-19, Adobe is providing free temporary access to Adobe Connect, a web conferencing solution that allows students to learn remotely by joining virtual classrooms, training and meetings. In addition, Adobe is also offering schools with temporary at-home licenses to Creative Cloud desktop apps to facilitate distance teaching and learning.

4. Giving back to the community in time of need

According to a survey conducted by The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), 56% of consumers are pleased to hear about brands taking action to support communities in response to Covid-19! Airbnb, Heineken, Nike, Coca are examples of large corporations taking initiatives to support the community. However, you don’t need to be a big brand to fight against Covid-19. It is encouraging to see many local businesses in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, India... joining hands and doing their part to make a difference in society. By giving back to communities in time of need, brands are not only fulfilling their corporate social responsibility but also raising awareness and adding credibility to their brands.

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