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Marketing Interrupted: Marketing And Brand Building In A New World

Understanding whether your brand proposition and positioning is still relevant in a changed environment

Photo by Kateryna Babaieva from Pexels

Idea Foundry recently hosted its first webinar, exploring the theme marketing and brand building in a new world. Now, for all of us it has been a time of great uncertainty and fluidity only because no one has ever had to deal with a global pandemic of this scale that has wreaked havoc across the world. 

It has been a few months since the start of the outbreak in Wuhan, China with a complete shutdown of the Chinese economy, and as the virus started spreading across different countries, markets went into various forms of lockdowns in almost every corner of the world. Now, glimmers of hope are on the horizon as countries are starting to emerge from their fight with COVID-19. 

But what clients are now asking is, how has COVID-19 changed our business model, our service or product offering and even the lives of our consumer? This led to more and more questions as we began exploring this topic. The short answer: for some there has been minimal change, other there has been radical shifts and for a few there has been no real tangible change. 

Seeing an opportunity here to help not only our clients but a broader marketing community, we jumped into gaining a deeper understanding of this new world and what it all means for brands. We identified five areas in which brand needs to play a critical role in achieving business success: 

Revisiting the strength of your brand foundation. Understanding whether your brand proposition and positioning is still relevant in a changed environment. Secondly, paying close attention to how your customer’s needs have changed during this pandemic, after all, this truly dictates whether your proposition is still relevant or not. And thirdly, understanding if and which of your competitors have shifted the game and innovated – if your customers all of a sudden have a new differentiated alternative to your products to choose from, your proposition almost certainly needs some evolving. 

Auditing, assessment and reformulating objectives. Striving to continue towards achieving your goals that you set six months ago may be a little like trying to launch a music cassette album in a Spotify era. We undoubtedly need to reflect back on what we set out to achieve in 2020 and reformulate these against new limitations, aspirations and ambitions. Not only are our revenue goals likely to be affected, but it may be a lot more prudent to focus on other metrics as we ride out the effect of this pandemic. Such as maintaining customer loyalty, using it is a platform for innovation or focusing on cost containment. 

Budget optimisation. The one certainty that will emerge out of this pandemic, is that most businesses will find themselves under revenue pressure. And that will only transfer to cost containment and budget efficiency. Marketers and brand builders will be expected to do more with less. And that means careful deployment of budgets, seeking guerilla tactics and better leverage over glamour campaigns and ultimately making every cent work that much harder. 

Industry insight and trend analysis. Words and ideas that are often thrown around way too flippantly – are now more important than ever before in a brand building context. And that is because nobody really knows what’s next or how to approach it. Rigorous insight and analysis work is the best way to gain an even footing and launch your next moves based on a sound platform. 

Ideation and innovation. Undoubtedly, many brands will face some tough challenges in the months ahead. But necessity drives innovation and those brands that are able to take a glass half full approach may find lucrative opportunities within this pandemic. Don’t forget, Uber and AirBnb were both launched out of the turmoil of the 2008 recession. There’s no such time like the present. 

As we all venture into this new world we need to make sure that as much as we have short term goals to achieve, we must build towards a long term strategy to ensure our brands emerge from this much stronger, keep our finger on the pulse of our consumer’s attitudes and preferences, and really be there for them, while driving innovation and defining the way forward for our own brands and industries. 

Now is the time to ignite and fuel that spark, be the disruption you want to see in the world! 

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