How Marketers Can React, Reengage and Reemerge in a Post-COVID World

by Janelle Brannock, Senior Director of Strategy at Commit Agency

Janelle Brannock

Last year, as anxiety surrounding the pandemic was at its peak, the term “pivot” became all-too-common — and oversimplified — guidance for brands eager to navigate the ever-shifting crisis. And while the term itself became overused, the core of that principle remains to this day: To weather such dramatic change (pandemic or not), companies must evolve to be more nimble, adaptable and creative in their approach to business and their marketing strategy.

Traditional and often slower internal processes that once provided a sense of measurement and practicality immediately became a thing of the past. And while having a long-term strategy for growth is essential, ensuring there’s flexibility to course correct as you go is perhaps the most critical component. Reassessments, planning and execution need to become second nature to everything decision-makers do.

Helping clients to not only survive the height of the pandemic but thrive was no simple feat. However, what we’ve learned is invaluable.

Reacting with Purpose

In times of upheaval and change, business loss is real and expected — and 2020 was no exception. However, these are the moments that present the biggest opportunities to learn. While it may feel like halting a business’s marketing activities is the right thing to do in situations like this, this is not the time to press pause on all the progress it has made to this point. In fact, when we first posted a blog on our website about this topic in the very early days of the pandemic, we referenced a Kantar survey that showed that most consumers — 92% — wanted to keep hearing from their favorite brands through myriad advertising channels. Instead of going completely dark, businesses should take this time to evaluate ways to speak with their audience in more effective ways.

Reengaging through Advertising

Advertising has never been more important. However, massive universal buys and one-size-fits-all content is a waste of resources, now more than ever. In a world where authenticity and intentionality in messaging rules, having a content strategy that reflects these trends will set a brand up for success. Businesses should do the needed research and truly “dial in” to their customers to understand what their triggers and needs are and not just give them what the business wants them to receive. What might bring value to their lives? Consumers crave brand experiences that resonate. This isn’t about price points or promotions; rather, this is about balancing what’s happening in the world and what’s most relevant (or not) to them. Everything, from content to messaging in advertising, should feel customized to their needs. And businesses should go where they go: Find the channels that enrich their customers’ lives. That’s where real connections and conversations can happen. They want to feel like the business is speaking with them.

Reemerging with New Perspectives

As we enter a post-COVID marketplace, thanks in large part to expanding vaccine accessibility, businesses are beginning to see a future where the rollercoaster of the past year and a half subsides. The reality, however, is that while we may or may not be fully removed from the pandemic yet, we live in a world that continues to move faster than ever. From social issues to changing cultural and marketing trends, what we learn now will only help strengthen that foundation for future change — good or bad. This involves businesses understanding their customers instinctively and creating internal infrastructures that will better facilitate quick but responsible change.

The only true constant is change — in marketing most of all. Learning to assess and react both strategically and efficiently will be the key in determining both survival and success. Every moment is an opportunity to change, and as marketers, it’s our job to not only harness what we learn but to ensure our focus and strategy continues to evolve effectively.

Commit Agency is a full-scale brand definition, consumer experience and creative agency. Commit’s focus on bringing brands closer to consumers relies on innovative digital and social experiences designed to move audiences into action. Based in downtown Chandler, Commit has carved out an industry-leading reputation as renegade brand builders in an increasingly digital world. 

This is one segment of the August 2021 cover story “Coming Back: How Marketing Will Build (Back) Business after COVID-19.”

Click here to check out the other 10 businesses and the cover designs they submitted for the Cover Story Cover Contest (winner was featured as the actual magazine cover).

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