During this COVID-19 crisis when businesses are affected, business owners have a tendency to cave inwards to seek protections, cutting down on unnecessary costs such as manpower and marketing, and hoping to tide through this period. Studies have shown that such reactive response will lead to a huge gap of catch up to play when companies emerge from the crisis. This is opposed to companies that took a positive and pro-active response in times of crisis, leading far ahead of the pack beyond the crisis.
Although the anticipated demand for goods and services in the near future is relatively low, reports from around the world have shown that there is an exponential increase in e-transactions, including Singapore. These reports have also verified that e-payments formed the bulk of the total e-transactions. This further affirmed our belief that consumers are still purchasing, albeit they are taking it online!
Brands that have long-established their online presence will be able to see through this crisis with few scars. A tweak to their existing marketing strategies reflecting empathy, caring, understanding and cohesiveness during this crisis will bring about higher brand engagements with their target audience.
However, this cannot be said for the thousands of businesses out there. Most do not have readily digital assets (blog, social media platforms, EDMs) for them to execute online campaigns, which is especially of great importance to businesses during this time. If you are to get started, a good brand system is the first thing you have to look at. Without consistency in your visuals and brand equities such as your narratives, you would be easily drowned in the online digital spaces where thousands of Brands are seeking to be heard.
And as it is during the good times, businesses tend to neglect the importance of branding and how it can help to achieve a long-term sustainable business model. Now that consumers’ trends have changed dramatically, perhaps you may want to allocate some time to revisit your brand system and to emerge stronger beyond this crisis.
Understanding Branding & How it can help
Brands have to understand that marketing on digital spaces is not simply about posting your products or services, promotions or your value per se. Consumers have to resonate with the underlying message behind your Brand; brand values, brand promise, brand essence or even through your brand story, and of course your value proposition as to be determined by the consumers. Such meaningful engagements and resonations created will help to create better brand engagements and stronger brand recall in this competitive market.
To add, the visual aspect of your Brand is crucial as well. The communications and usage of your logo, colour template, typography and a whole range of marketing collateral blueprints should be embedded into your brand system. With a sound brand system and brand strategy in place, you would find it easier to execute all internal and external communications with consistency and accuracy, resulting in higher brand recall.
So, how does your brand work on what we have mentioned so far? First, you have to clearly define your target audience. It is never true or even feasible to say that anyone who can use/buy your product or services is your target audience. To achieve a reasonable ROI in marketing, your Brand needs to chunk down and narrow down to the top 20% of your target audience. Through detailed studies of this consumer group on their behavioural trends and habits, you can then create a set of brand system geared for engagement purposes.
It is paramount that the perceptions you want to create in the minds of your consumers are authentic and what your brand really stands for (such as belief & values). What you want your customers to know, feel and connect to your business is what you should seek to achieve. With brand equities such as personality, values, brand promise & its essence clearly defined, a sound brand system can achieve meaningful connections with your target audience and hence, influencing their buying decisions. Remember that customers tend to buy from someone that they can relate to and have trust in.
How do I start?
A small company can always start off with a timeframe of 2-3 years in mind on the essential marketing and communication tools required during this period. Furthermore, this can be scaled up when the company grows and requires more brand assets and communication tools for marketing purposes. It is suggested that a good brand system needs to be constantly reviewed and relooked into once every 3-5 years, mainly due to fast-changing consumers’ landscape or to realign your brand positioning.
If your brand is facing the following situations, you may want to look into your existing brand assets and communication tools to look for any gaps and start building your brand’s message and visual assets:
- Slowing or decreasing revenue
- Increasing marketing expenses with average or low ROI
- Using price as a factor to win competitions
Take advantage of this period to prepare your Brand for the next economic upturn. As certified consultants, let us take you through a Brand & Marketing transformation journey through the EDG programme with grants of up to 90% by Enterprise Singapore.