How to Market Your Brand in a COVID World

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Luigi PannozzoMD of Gazeboshop

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

It’s no secret that branding is important. With so much competition in today’s economy, consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to spend their money. Many factors play a part in their decision making, but one of the most salient factors is how distinguishable a company’s name, logo and identity is from its competitors.

Article 6 Minutes
How to Market Your Brand in a COVID World

Companies who are able to utilize their brand to create a lasting impression on their target audience can seize this opportunity to drive new business and cement their place in the market. However, knowing where to start can often be the most difficult step.

3 steps to building a brand

When it comes to creating an effective brand strategy, here are the three basic steps:

1. What is your brand?

The first step is to understand what your brand is in the first place. You may already have a good idea of your business’ brand identity and how best to communicate with your audience. However, brands should seek to grow over time and if your approach hasn’t been revisited recently it’s likely the values that guided your marketing activities are no longer optimal.

2. Define your purpose, mission and values

You’ll need to spend time cementing your brand’s purpose, mission and values by speaking with various stakeholders across the organisation. Gathering internal feedback is crucial to create a strong brand.

A brand exercise can be a great opportunity to receive feedback from your employees on the kind of company they want to work for, and their direct experience of dealing with customers and clients can be invaluable in understanding the impression you are currently making on your audience.

3. Decide on your voice and personality

You need to decide on your voice and personality as clear messaging is important to build a successful brand. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want your business to be seen as helpful and kind, or perhaps as innovative and optimistic?
  • How do you want your customers to feel after interacting with you? Should they feel excited? Comforted? While it’s likely you’ll want your customers to feel many things after engaging with you, the key here is to understand the main takeaway a customer will have after seeing your brand.

How to communicate your brand

Once you have your brand identity nailed down, the next step is to communicate it in such a way that it leaves a lasting impression on your target customer. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to do this; crafting a unique logo, selling promotional merchandise, sponsoring industry events, providing fantastic customer service - just to name a few. However, there are several that have become more essential than ever due to COVID-19.

1. Leverage digital marketing

Touting the benefits of digital marketing as a tool to promote your brand is nothing new. However consumer behaviour is changing; consumers who may have been hesitant to shop online before lockdown are now using the internet to purchase everything from food to futons. The rise of ecommerce has accelerated and businesses who previously relied on retail stores are now seizing the opportunity of a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model.

Likewise, B2B companies who previously relied on industry events to win new business are now seeing more enquiries come in from their website.

Social media is the first place you should be showcasing your logo and branded imagery. Additionally, your posts, tweets and comments should reflect your brand voice. By testing your brand on social media, you can see what resonates with your customer base and incorporate that into your activity.

2. Make the most of virtual events

Remote working has become a daily reality for hundreds of millions of people across the world since the pandemic started. Meetings, pitches and even training has had to take place over platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts, forcing professionals across every industry to become more familiar with digital tools to aid their workflow. Forward-thinking businesses can leverage this revolution in the way we work by contributing to or setting up virtual events.

Conferences are a great opportunity to showcase everything your brand stands for, as well as the expertise you can deliver for your clients and customers. While speaking or networking at business events like this may have seemed daunting pre-COVID-19, the truth is that these events become far less daunting when we can deliver a talk in the comfort of our own home.

Event organisers have by-and-large moved their events online and the number of people attending has remained high, even increasing in some instances. Talks and workshops can not only generate valuable leads in the short-term, but also increase your company’s brand awareness for the foreseeable future.

If you want to go above and beyond, consider hosting your own virtual event. There is a wealth of information available on how to set up a virtual event from the ground up, such as this recent guide from Google. Doing so highlights your brand as a thought leader and establishes valuable connections with potential customers.

3. Seize the opportunity of outdoor events

While it’s unlikely that many events will be permitted to take place over the next three months, it stands to reason that venues with outdoor facilities will be some of the first to host events in the near future.

Governments across the world have begun easing restrictions on outdoor gatherings. For example, the UK has permitted groups of 6 people to meet outside for several weeks now and has permitted outdoor markets to open since early June. In the US there is a growing consensus that being outdoors reduces the risk of transmission, which has led to several states easing their local restrictions on outdoor events.

While virtual events are likely to remain a staple of business marketing strategies for the foreseeable future, engaging with customers in person will remain a valuable tactic even with these restrictions.

A truly holistic branding plan must incorporate both digital and traditional strategies. Providing fantastic customer service in brick-and-mortar stores will clearly be central to this, yet businesses must go further to put their brand in front of potential clients. Outdoor events will be a key battleground for brands as we come out of lockdown, and marketing managers should start signing up for outdoor conferences and trade fairs.

If you are speaking at an event or attending a trade fair, make sure to showcase your branding as much as possible. Personalize your stall with your logo and colour scheme, or pepper your social media profiles across your presentation slides to help your company stick in the audience’s minds. Likewise, giving out visual merchandise like t-shirts and accessories in a safe manner will further help put your brand at the forefront of your customer’s mind.

Final thoughts

A good brand strategy will allow businesses to thrive despite the economic challenges we are all currently facing. While the relationships companies have built with their customers may have been hampered by the global pandemic, those relationships are not lost forever. We can reconnect with these clients and those that do so more quickly stand to gain the most.

Providing excellent customer service and crafting a memorable visual identity will certainly be crucial to this, but we must do more. We must leverage both digital and traditional strategies to showcase ourselves to our target audience, using tools like digital marketing, virtual events and outdoor events. Leveraging these opportunities will place forward-thinking businesses in good stead in an increasingly volatile market.

Luigi Pannozzo

Luigi Pannozzo is the MD of event specialists Gazeboshop. Luigi has worked with brands like Coca Cola, the BBC  and the Stroke Association and has been at the forefront of the UK's event shelter industry since the company's inception in 2005. 

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