Covid-19 and the impact of changing consumer behaviour for brands part 4

Jane Bloomfield, Chief Growth Officer at KANTAR said in her recent webinar that we are starting to see green shoots as our neighbours begin to ease restrictions and we finally hear murmurings of possible plans for change to our own social distancing measures here in the UK.

KANTAR have been monitoring the UK’s level of concern each week and we are starting to see health worries drop, going from 51% to 45%, and overall concern levels drop 3% to 73%. We are by no means out of the woods, but these glimmers of hope are worth focusing on right now.

Their survey results also show us that people have adjusted to not leaving the house; that is seemingly getting easier for many respondents, however it is the social interactions, our relationships with friends and relatives, that we miss most.

It’s a nervous time for advertisers – no one wants to do or say the wrong thing that could damage brand reputation, and there is no crib-sheet to help us through this one: unprecedented times, remember! But some brands have stood out in how they have approached the situation and we can take some learnings from them regarding how we go forward in this brave new reality.

The Brewdog strategy is one to be commended. They are well used to making headlines with their innovative and “out there” campaigns however the basic principles they have adhered to over the past few weeks can be applied to all brands during this time.

1: Show what you are doing now

They expertly advertised their commitment to providing hand sanitizer for the NHS, donating over 50,000 units so far. Throwing themselves into action resulted in 88% positive sentiment across social platforms and only 2% negative sentiment (which actually dropped to 0% when it was explained further that this product was not being sold but donated). Brands showing that they are motivated by the greater good and not just talking the talk are being incredibly well received and standing out in a landscape where there are a lot of brands just saying that they are there for people…

Image credit: Brewdog

2: Demonstrate how you are able to adapt

The second thing Brewdog did was adapt and adapt quickly. Brewdog started a homedelivery service. It’s a simple change in their distribution that allows them to stay relevant, keep selling and fundamentally continue to be of use to their audience during this time.

Image credit: Brewdog

3: Ensure you have a plan to survive

Finally, they did one more thing to keep people interested… they offered everyone a free beer when lockdown ends. This is a genius move. It taps into what we have seen our audience are craving, social relationships, hope and optimism and free beer! It’s also delivered incredible PR as it goes viral on social and across various publishers, and ensures that when the doors finally do re-open people are flocking to Brewdog to celebrate their newfound freedom. Well played.

Whilst not all brands have free beer to entice people with, everyone can take some guidance from this three-pronged approach.

They know what works for their brand and their audience with a keen sense of self. You have to ask yourself; how can your brand respond in an authentic way? What do people look to your brand for?

They don’t try to muscle in where they can’t add real value. Don’t do it for the sake of it. If you are attempting a Covid-19 strategy make sure it benefits the audience first and foremost.

And finally, they have given everyone a reason to smile. In these uncertain times, we are all craving good news and any nugget of joy is greatly appreciated. Right now, that is the tone and messaging that people want and need to hear. If you can put a smile on even one person’s face, you are on the right track.