With the pandemic reimagining the future for organisations, it has also enhanced a world of new opportunities for them to excel and differentiate, especially when it comes to marketing and branding. With post pandemic life in full force, how do we redefine the marketing map and navigate our way through so that organisations can not only recover but grow? Fresh and different thinking will need to be utilised to adapt marketing, making it more meaningful and suited to this new rapidly changing world.
Firstly, we need to address what do our consumers in the new normal want? what do they think? how do they feel? how are they acting? With changes in consumer behaviours highlighted, putting their new behaviours and expectations (such as the rapid move to digital and the desire for more meaningful experiences) at the forefront of any marketing strategy and plan is essential, to reconnect with your audience, drive brand growth and achieve brand loyalty.
1. Don’t stick to what you know – sounds crazy right given the saying stick to what you know? During the pandemic companies were in survival mode, and therefore naturally focused on sticking to what they do well, so that they could retain customers, save jobs and get by. Now post pandemic alot has changed in the world, including consumers. Therefore driving innovation and change within marketing is key to make sure it appeals to consumers new needs and desires. It’s time to stop being risk averse and become more agile in our marketing, it should not look the same after covid that’s for sure. For example, since consumers are now looking for more affordable and convenient options on their weekly shops, M&S wanted to rebrand and change their messaging to come across as a destination for the weekly shop, not just for special occaisons that call for high value items and treats. Therefore they funded and co-developed ITV’s new show ‘cooking with the stars’, using everday M&S ingredients and utensils to demonstrate it’s a place where people can do a broader shop to cook a range of meals every night.
2. Utilise the data – now we are no longer in the pandemic, and restrictions have been lifted we have time and chance to observe new trends, data and changes that are sticking and here to stay. Therefore, looking at what is happening, changing strategies and services, and creating marketing campaigns surrounding this will help re-align your marketing with the new world. Having these further insights will make it easier to make decisions that are right in terms of investing into marketing campaigns and new technologies.
3. Short term VS long term – during the pandemic marketing was very reactive, therefore short term planning was how you got by, due to the fast pace of changes within the world and marketing landscape. However, with a focus shifting to strengthening and rebuilding relationships with consumers, a more holisitic approach is needed. Combining both short term and long term planning, so that brands can still be reactive but strike a balance with futureproofing and measuring performance. For example Starbucks have shifted focus from short term goals, to build a more sustained platform and personal long term relationships with customers. They are building their long term strategy, instead of their recent short term ‘one and done’ and promotional offerings focus. Making themselves and their marketing more personalised to individual customers.
4. Focus on retention – marketing and branding needs to be focused around creating the aim of long term loyalty and retention. Since it’s found that the pandemic has eroded brand loyalties, with most consumers switching to new brands during lockdown. Striking the right tone now is essential. For example Just Eat increased their marketing spend by 204% since the start of 2021, and since the beginning of this investment customer loyalty has improved, with 76% of customers returning.