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Building a Brand When Your Audience is Under Lockdown

by Hannah Thompson | 16.04.2020

COVID-19 has torn up media plans across almost every industry in a way that very few events ever have before and whilst this is a challenge for brands and media buyers it also throws up so many opportunities. What customers want from brands now is consistency, optimism and flexibility – with only 8% of people wanting advertisers to stop running ads. Continuing to spend on advertising during this crisis will help long term market share and brand sentiment, provided it’s executed with caution. Our 3 steps to continue building up your brand during this crisis are below.

1. Consider Your New User Journey

Media planning involves mapping the customer journey and making sure there are enough engaging touchpoints in that journey. This might include street furniture for a café chain to trigger a want or splashy spots in prime-time TV, like football matches to raise awareness. There’s no reason the foundations need to change just because not everything is possible.

Daytime TV is not solely for DR purposes anymore – the new primetime is shows like This Morning, whose viewership has increased by 93%. In addition, there are new audiences available to target, with 26% more 16-34s watching daytime on ITV compared to this time in 2019.

Radio is having a moment, with smart speaker listening up by 11% and commercial radio seeing increases in reach of up to 43% for Global.

It’s also important to remember that news consumption is up significantly (54% higher than in January) but with many brands blocking a lot of this content. It’s worth considering whether this is a space you’re willing to appear in, given the lack of competition for this inventory and the enormous reach across all audience groups it can deliver on.

2. Now Is The Time To Test New Platforms

If you’re a brand that doesn’t need to pause during this crisis, now is the time to start running smaller scale tests across platforms you’ve always wanted to try to whilst there are gaps in your media plan and many media owners are offering discounts and added value. Testing in this way can help you find new audiences for your products that will help drive revenue long term and help build your brand as you show your ability to adapt to changing consumer patterns.

Just three platforms worth considering in this period are:

3. Messaging Is Key

Beyond the obvious changes to messaging required to ensure sensitivity at this time, as you’re adapting to new consumer patterns and potentially testing new mediums, branded messages will need to adapt too. But now is probably not the time to roll out a new brand identity – customers want consistency but flexibility from their brands right now.

Try simple changes such as making sure you’re using indoor rather than outdoor images, avoid using too much day parting (as the ‘normal’ daily schedules crumble before us) and try to build in optimism and forward planning, for example for events adapt to a ‘Notify Me when tickets are on sale for the 2021 Event’ CTA.

If you’re operating on a skeleton staff and worried about the cost and resource required to make creative changes then it’s worth asking your media partners and agency what their capacity is. Many media owners have in-house teams and increasingly so do media agencies like ours at Tug – that way you also guarantee the creative is fit for purpose first time round.

Long Term Reward

These are challenging times for a lot of brands and consumers but proving to both current and new that you are consistent and adaptable will reap long term rewards in terms of revenue and sentiment.

Whilst we’ve focused on media buying here – check out Tug’s webinar on how to run Social Media channels through a crisis here.