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Phoenix COVID Conversations – Topic #3: Where Do We Go from Here?

April 9, 2020

As we navigate through these challenging times, the experts at Phoenix wanted to start a conversation about what this might mean for advertisers, what can be learned from past crises, and how we might want to think about the future.

As we absorb the advertising and market research data that as begun to emerge, we start to look to the future to determine how we can move forward to help each other navigate this challenging period in our lives, both as marketers and as consumers.

We Are All Consumers

One of the main points that brands should keep in mind as they think about their marketing strategies moving forward is everything you do from a communications standpoint should remain within the context of being appropriate for the times. What is deemed appropriate will undoubtedly change and evolve as we collectively move through this, but keeping a finger on the pulse of the world around us will help determine the best path forward.

Appropriate for the times doesn’t necessarily mean your tone has to be COVID-specific or serious, but instead, you need to look at your brand like a consumer would. Marketers and advertisers are consumers going through this crisis just like your viewers are, so as a consumer, think about what you would like to see on TV or what would make you feel like a brand understands where you are in life.

Adapt, But Be Careful

In the past, we’ve seen brands change up their strategy in a way that was actually a detriment to their branding. Viewers associate certain styles and messages with certain brands, and when those brands make a significant change to their messaging or creative style, critical brand queues can get lost. As you seek to shift your messaging or strategy to be more appropriate for the times, make sure your brand isn’t getting lost in a sea of other marketers who are doing the same thing.

You don’t have to make a jarring left turn in your advertising strategy—be thoughtful about how you can tweak your messaging or respond in a way that does not lose sight of your core branding and the equity you’ve built. Do your research, digest the data & develop the best strategy, then proceed carefully and capture feedback as you move forward.

Shift the Focus to Your Consumers

Unlike in 2008, when brands were focused on projecting their strength and stability, it’s so much more important now for brands to demonstrate what they can do for communities and consumers, and even their employees. The key is for brands to humanize themselves and to show how they are relating and working to improve their consumers’ day to day lives.

During the financial crisis, we observed a lot of sponsorships and brands focused on altruism and helping their local communities. A great example is when CVS sponsored the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to assist deserving families who are struggling. This was an excellent way for the brand to show how they could connect with local communities and make a positive impact.

Key Takeaways

Be conscious of how you shift your advertising strategy, but keep in line with how you would like consumers to view your brand. We’re all in the same boat, so you need to consider your advertising strategy through the eyes of your consumers to connect with them effectively.

However, don’t stray too far from your established branding; listen to how consumers are feeling and be thoughtful about how you shift your strategy. Above all, focus on your brand’s ability to help your consumers, employees, and their communities. When this storm passes and people begin to return to your normal lives, consumers will remember the brands who strove to make a positive impact and those who let their consumers fall by the wayside.

Phoenix will be continuing to monitor changes in TV advertising as well as viewers’ response to these campaigns with the goal of helping clients make the most informed decisions in this highly unique landscape. Check out our latest findings and insights on the impact of COVID crisis on the advertising landscape.

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