Premium POV

How Premium CPG Brands Should Respond to COVID-19

“These are uncertain and unprecedented times…”

Nearly every company has sent an email blast with some variation of that language over the past three weeks. But what brand managers really want to know now is what should marketing efforts look like in a social-distancing market?

What Should Marketing Efforts Look Like During Social Distancing?
In short? CPG brands should not “turn off” marketing efforts during this period, especially if your brand is a premium contender in your category. The data says so.

  • Hobbies and Crafts—As consumers spend more time at home, there has been an increase in the number of cooking and crafting activities. Pinterest reported record high search volume this past weekend, indicating that consumers are aggressively seeking inspiration for the increased time in confined quarters.
  • Everyday Luxuries—Small trade-ups in CPG will be the epitome of “everyday luxuries” during a period of financial uncertainty, whereas bigger purchases, such as a pair of expensive shoes or a car, are more likely to be put on hold. We saw this behavior among consumers in 2009 after the mortgage crises. This tendency is a tremendous opportunity for premium CPG brands who get it right during this unusual season.
  • Digital Marketing—Consumers are spending more time on digital devices. OOH and radio advertising may take a hit during self-isolation practices, but digital tactics such as programmatic, paid search, streaming TV, and paid social will see large lifts in the time spent on these platforms. (As a consumer, I’m personally regretting installing that screen time tracker app before all this hit.)

Tips for Marketing During COVID-19
Now that I’ve convinced you to stay on, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make sure your already-posted messages are still relevant—Alter any existing messaging that is no longer timely: i.e. traveling for pleasure or business, going out with friends, dating new people, large social gatherings, etc. Marketing dollars will not have been well spent if you’re the next brand being ripped apart in AdAge for insensitivity.
  2. Ensure new posts seem current—Create new content specifically geared towards consumers’ lives as they are right now.
    • Don’t recommend recipes with lots of specialty ingredients that would have to come from multiple stores.
    • Do mix in relevant imagery, such as a couple enjoying your product while on a Skype “double date” with friends.
  1. Get (more) creative—It may be difficult to develop new creative assets right now given the social restrictions, but there are ways to work around this with product photography, graphic design, and even animation.
  2. Watch the conversations closely—This is uncharted territory and the restrictions and consumer reactions to them are changing daily. A marketing message that was appropriate last week may not be appropriate today, and consumers will be slow to forgive brands that appear to be exploiting this situation for financial gain.

Managing Marketing Dollars During a Crisis
We know most brands are going to have to keep tight control on marketing spend in order to navigate the many complexities this situation poses for every business. It’s more important than ever, however, to be swift to shift marketing tactics towards high-performing channels and to use every available digital resource to ensure that marketing dollars aren’t being wasted on a consumer who won’t, or in this situation cannot, purchase your product. The Warren Douglas team of digital media buying experts is incredibly adept at this. If this is an approach your brand needs a hand with, we would love to help.

Stay home. Be smart. Stay safe.

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