COVID-19 and should you be marketing your business?

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We have been watching the COVID-19 situation develop rapidly over the past few weeks and, well before the UK lockdown, it was evident that a major crisis was brewing. Not only were we going to see a global downturn but supply, especially from China and South Korea, was going to affect everyone.

At the moment, the world is coping with a pandemic, not yet a recession, but we have no doubts there is a large one on the cards.

What is happening to our businesses? There are three distinct groups

  • demand has sky-rocketed, and their supply chain is starting to get tighter
  • demand is stable, but they are also finding the supply chain is starting to tighten
  • demand has dropped off and they are not worried about their supply chain.

For example, customers are buying more from supermarkets as they are not eating out in restaurants. Basic amenities are being purchased from the sofa and not on the high street.

Some business will see a temporary loss and others, who may have been struggling for survival anyway, will see their decline accelerated. Beauty and clothing sales will be tested as people stay at home and don’t consider splashing out on new clothes or looking their best.

The supply chain is going to be crucial to some businesses’ survival. We had concerns with Brexit, but nothing on the scale of what to expect with COVID-19. Supplies of medical clothing, masks and testing kits have seen a massive surge in demand which will hopefully fall as quickly as it has risen. Supply is leading demand at the moment and businesses are going all out to use their skills to best fit supply.

Most of us who have been in marketing for some years recognise the importance of maintaining and sustaining valuable customer relationships. We expect to see pricing models reworked as supply chains change but reducing product quality risks damaging your brand and customer experiences. A difficult decision to make when you have spent many years investing in your brand and products.

Should you still be advertising? When you look back, during difficult times, it is the well-loved brands of today that built strong customer loyalty during times of hardship. During the Great Depression was the time that Kellogg’s doubled its advertising spend and invested heavily in promoting a new cereal – Rice Krispies. Kellogg’s wasn’t the market leader at the time, but profits grew by 30% and, the rest is history.

Brand advertising has always continued regardless of global situations, and we have already seen a vast rise in Zoom over the past few weeks with an increase of approximately 74% this year (figures from CNBC). Statistics from Forbes quoted on 24 March that downloads had increased by 1,270% between 22 February 2020 and 22 March 2020. 

Changing to remote working and remote education with an emphasis on entertainment and keeping us all sane, produce many opportunities for advertising and connecting.

As we spend more time watching and listening to traditional TV and radio or online through social, online publications and video, there are opportunities to consider how best to invest in advertising. Actions today, could make or break your business – if you are not there in front of potential customers, you can bet that your competitors will be. 

Think about your core values, build emotional connections, support your customers and benefit from those engagements when the crisis is over. It is important to keep your customers informed as to what you are doing be that through your website, social media or advertising.

If you would like to discuss marketing, advertising, traditional or online campaigns, please do get in touch with us. Call Julia on 07572 422303 or email