A year ago, few people had heard of Covid-19. Now we live in a changed world. “Lockdown”, “Isolating”, “Shielding”, “Social Distancing”… these newly coined terms have become everyday parlance. Look around you and what you see would also have been unrecognisable in 2019. Now it’s the norm to see people out and about in masks, no one looks twice seeing a health official in a plastic apron, gloves, and visor. Images of medics in white full body suits pervade the news.

The UK media is full of articles about Covid, with little else making headlines. It’s a dark mediascape worldwide. But it’s also a new world of opportunity and new horizons. Some business owners have spiralled into apathy and depression, others have chosen to wait and ride out the storm, but those who will prosper are the companies that are turning this adversity to their advantage, they will be the phoenixes that rise from the ashes.

So how can your brand still remain visible and create noise in a transformed world. We all need to be thinking out of the box, embracing new markets and models. As more cities go under lockdown some nonessential businesses are having to close due to lack of footfall, with customers generally avoiding public places. Limiting going out to shop for all but necessary essentials is becoming a new normal. This period of isolation and uncertainty for the public has resulted in changes to shopping behaviours. People are changing what they’re buying, when, and how. The target consumer is now increasingly found spending time in the online world, rather than purchasing products in physical outlets. The online market place has exploded. Online sales are now expected to grow from initial predictions of 11% to 19% in 2020, reaching £78.9bn, this is up from £66.3bn in 2019.

The clocks going back and cold winter days will also soon compile with Coronavirus to drive consumers online increasingly to fulfil shopping needs, so it’s essential that businesses are attracting attention in that online space too. It’s an exciting online space with all sorts of possibility if navigated correctly.

Brands will have to adapt and be flexible to meet changing needs. But how should a business behave online, what messages and images should you be putting out? It’s all in the planning. Pull together a strategy. Ensure that you’re presenting your product correctly to your audience during this Covid era. Get the look and tone of your brand hitting the right spot. Use an outside agency if needs be to get your website up to date and with increased sales options. Your product needs a strong and true voice. Consumers want positivity during this bleak period. Many consumers, particularly millennial and Gen Z shoppers, care about their image and buy products, for example, as a means of self-expression. These self-conscious consumers seek brands that are ethical, sustainable, and make a positive difference in the world. To stay relevant, consumer goods leaders need to ensure that their brands have purpose and originality. Establish yourself as a positive voice among the noise, be a thought leader through blogs, videos, social media and other digital content.

Look outside of your immediate business concerns too. Is there any way that your business can help out your community during this time? Is there advice that you could give, help in collaborating with other businesses? Donating a portion of your profits to a local cause, even if supporting in just a small way during this time? Giving back will help increase community support, goodwill, and brand awareness. If you have a shopfront, for example, consider including NHS support images. Be seen to be engaged with the world around you, with the current climate. Encourage your staff to take part in the conversation as well, build a positive company culture. All of this will resonate through your social media presence.

Make sure that your social media skills are up to scratch. Chances are that a large portion of your audience will be on social media. It’s essential that you use this to your advantage and take part in the conversation. If you don’t feel confident navigating and populating social media channels take advice from an agency to run your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn pages etc. Your company needs to be visible in the conversation. Focus marketing efforts on the social media channels that drive a lot of your customer engagement. Create relevant posts that add value, educate and entertain, take part in the conversation, comment on audience posts.

There’s opportunity in hardship. This is the time to go back to the drawing board, re-evaluate, re-position. If needs be employ experts to support you with your marketing strategy and on your journey to build your audience, increase your visibility and clinch those all-important sales.


     KATE BODOANO | Head of Consumer and Not-For-Profit