06 Sep Staying Creative During Lockdown
As you know, we take an upside-down approach to what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ when it comes to strategy and creative production. Luckily, this era of lockdowns and fluid government policy means brands need to take an equally upside-down approach to their branding, marketing and messaging.
To stay fluid, adapt fast and innovate new approaches to old (and new) problems is how successful brands have thrived during the pandemic, lockdown or not. And although there is a growing sense we are returning to normalcy, the truth is that is unlikely. During the past year, we have started writing our future – a future that looks very different.
Whether marketing an old brand to a new audience, revitalizing messaging or expanding your portfolio of products and services, a BAD approach stays creative in the face of all odds.
Given the profound changes this pandemic has caused, we believe that harnessing creativity and imagination is critical to thinking differently and anticipating consumer behavior.
Expanding Digital Borders
Research by McKinsey suggests that online brand interaction doubled in just eight weeks after the pandemic was declared global. Pre-pandemic, this amount of growth took five years.
And although online consumer trends were already growing, the pandemic forced millions of people to experience eCommerce for the first time, a shift that is likely to stick. Amazon reported a 26% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019 – before the pandemic was declared a global crisis.
But, with the boost in competition, you need an exceptionally BAD approach to expanding digital borders if you are to survive the lockdown era. Increased analytics makes targeted marketing easier to execute and consumer segments even narrower than before.
Mass marketing may be a good solution, but it’s not the BAD way. Instead, we take a more varied approach to creative digital messaging. Each audience with their own needs, preferences and states of mind. Without the right message, it is easier than ever to miss the mark.
Hub the Home
The home has become, for many, the hub of all life once again. With no workplace to drive to, no bars to visit and few opportunities to travel, the lockdown life has created a void that people have filled with their home and the products they own.
At-home entertainment has dominated the last six months, with upticks in online streaming, online gaming and online socializing. Brands need to channel this preference by marketing to a new, virtual audience in seamless and targeted ways.
Video games such as Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto V have hosted online concerts attended by millions of players, promoting both the game, the DJ and the sponsors in one cleverly targeted gimmick.
Subscription to Masterclass services have also skyrocketed, and even free-to-access livestream courses on cooking, art and other creative pursuits have been a huge hit.
These gimmicks (like it or not) are now becoming the norm and will exist long after lockdowns are lifted as life returns to a “new normal.” This approach to out-of-the-box, in-the-home creativity will continue to make brands stand out.
Smart devices and 24/7 connectivity allow brands to connect with consumers directly in their homes. But how do you start up conversations with consumers without appearing (or being) over-intrusive? Navigating the “homebody economy” is the next creative challenge that faces brands the world over.
Talk About Other Things
An excellent way for brands to reinforce their identity is to talk about anything but products or services. Staying active on social media is crucial to maintaining active brand followers, but sometimes it’s just not appropriate to communicate certain topics during lockdown or moments of crisis.
Bars and restaurants are turning their efforts to charity or entertainment, hosting parties on Zoom, interactive virtual quizzes played at home and even children’s entertainment that pairs with home delivery. Staying front of mind is key.
“Being BAD in a sea of good is what makes brands stand out.”
Brand perception goes way beyond products and services, but it has been easy to communicate this less until now. Now, with the world at their fingertips and very few places to go, lockdown consumers are more critical and investigative than ever before.
Communication outside of the norm generates customer engagement with your brand, builds trust, and helps create positive perceptions about your brand. Whatever you do, don’t go silent or you’ll be left behind.
Luckily, at BAD, we see how this new approach is best manifested. First, it takes a strong brand identity with a clearly communicated purpose. The second is about always creatively approaching the market.
Being brave and daring is the solution to effectively manipulating the market to your brand goals and getting consumers on board with your vision.
Just remember, bold statements make brands stand out. If you promise fireworks, don’t offer sparklers.