Brands across categories are creating campaigns around coronavirus to show their empathy with consumers. In a hurry to be thoughtful, many are communicating around a few basic aspects (talking about boredom, hygiene, family) without thinking differently and realising whether their messaging will add value to the lives of consumers or create clutter.
In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, industry stalwarts warned that merely posting ‘help’ content and the over-communicated 'basic aspects’ is all chatter and offer no value to consumers.
People want to hear facts, human interest stories and brands should try to bring these and add value to campaigns in a constructive manner, they said.
“In a hurry to stick to the plot, brands are smartly and deliberately talking about the coronavirus. Overhangs of these messages are getting ignored by the consumers and they are automatically rejecting to hear the brand,” said Ramesh Narayan, Founder, Canco Advertising.
Narayan says that many strong citizen groups are disseminating localised information to their area and the residents are hungry for that information. Brands should align themselves with those groups.
Information and updates on the pandemic are spread widely by the government so much that consumers have now reached the stage of information overdose and information from brands is not required.
“In times of lockdown, brands should take a responsible view of what communication is required and helpful. Add value in a constructive manner,” said Anup Vishwanathan, CEO, Creativeland Asia.
The need of the moment is to be ‘helpful and relevant’. If the campaigns can address both the key elements, then brands are adding value.
Brands are focusing more on being creative and talked about in their campaigns, which creates clutter and not value, says Vijay Kaul, DGM (Marketing and Communication) of Yamaha India.
According to him, brands are following their usual strategy and making use of the current situation for moment marketing.
“They need to focus on the core objective and build brand equity, making tangible and impactful changes to customers, business and services,” he said.
But creating excessive communication for the sake of brand building is not as good as consumers are not in the mindset to receive any information apart from what matters to them. In fact, many brands have pulled back their regular campaigns seeing the unprecedented times.
Brands should respect a consumer’s privacy and mind space. In such challenging times, leaving somebody alone is also important. With social distancing, communication distancing should also be followed by brands, said Akashneel Dasgupta, CCO, BBDO Worldwide.
Industry experts suggest that in times like this, it is important for brands to evaluate their reason and convey their values to connect with the audience without any commercial expectations and it's perfectly alright to stay away if commercial value is important.
The best way to evaluate any communication during these times would be to recheck the brand’s values internally and see if it matches up, says Smita Murarka, VP, Marketing of Duroflex.
“The second would be to put out the communication completely organically and assess reactions,” she said.
The world will separate the brands that have done something on the ground and others who have had it to the spam. Brands that are going along with the herd with no brainer are not adding value and wasting their monies.
“Brands should persist with low key recall messaging in order to stay in the mind of the consumer and save the marketing budget for the right time,” says Narayan.
According to Joono Simon, Founder and CCO of Brave New World, consumers will get to know who brands are by the way they respond to the crisis. It’s very important for brands to understand and behave in a responsible manner with meaningful campaigns.
“Merely posting the odd help content is all chatter and no value. Brands must commit to create/ curate content of true value and be consistent in their effort to engage consumers. Then you’re creating lasting value,” concludes Rajasekar KS, GM, Marketing, Matrimony.com.