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COVID-19 and Beyond: A Brand New Era of Consumer Engagement

15th October 2020
Reading time 4 min
COVID-19 and beyond: A brand new era of consumer engagement

Retailers and brands today are facing an unprecedented challenge during the COVID 19 crisis. With companies and consumers trying to adapt to new social and economic norms, a stark disruption in business as usual has caused many brands to rethink their marketing and content strategies. It has also called for new innovations in the digital marketplace and in consumer engagement.

”Consumer behavior has experienced a marked shift during the COVID crisis.”

In order to successfully navigate the new normal, brands are realigning their messaging to provide solutions and reassurances to consumers, using more flexible and resilient models of engagement. This realignment is centered on understanding their user base and keeping up with new consumer habits and trends. In these uncertain times, people want to support brands that prioritize their needs, provide enriching experiences, and use their influence for the greater good.

  1. Addressing what your consumers want and need
    Consumer behavior has experienced a marked shift during the COVID crisis that is likely to extend into the future. A successful brand will be able to anticipate their consumers changing needs and adapt to match their new reality.

  2. Curating a solid media plan
    When it comes to engaging with customers, a solid media plan ensures that this will run smoothly. Nowadays, brands will need to have media plans that are well informed, flexible, and consumer-centric in order to stand out against competitors.

  3. Refining social media content production
    The pandemic has caused consumers to seek connection in the digital realm, creating an opportunity for brands to step in. By engaging with consumers across social media and providing interactive and uplifting experiences, they can reinforce brand trust and loyalty.

  4. Exploring new avenues for digital content
    Digital content production and consumption have reached an all-time high, as people look for ways to connect and stay entertained. Brands can build on this by providing new video content, newsletters, online banner ads, or digital out of home advertising to stay top-of-mind.

  5. Embracing dynamic creative optimization (DCO)
    Digital channels are key to driving engagement during the pandemic, and programmatic DCO can help facilitate this. By bringing audience-based media planning into the mix, DCO serves targeted and relevant content and allows brands to be fluid in the way it’s delivered.

We’re now entering a new era of ever-evolving consumer expectations and digital transformations that are rewriting the branding playbook. Now, a brand’s ability to provide original experiences that make their customers feel valued and supported – an authentic sense of good will – is as important as its products. Brands should adopt engagement models that give their audience a reason to believe they’ll get through the crisis together. Social media and digital content production such as video and newsletters are great ways to get your foot in the door. These formats can be used to offer useful advice, helpful tips and tutorials, inspirational messages, solutions to pandemic problems, quick communication, or social connections that engender meaningful and lasting relationships.

Finally, the digital shift of the last decades has been rapidly accelerated by the COVID crisis. People have come to rely on digital channels for most of their basic needs, meaning brands must improve and embrace their digital engagement in order to survive. One way to go about this is by adopting DCO for its agility in dealing with sudden and profound changes. In these situations, it’s important to be able to switch media and messaging on the fly; something that DCO can do in moments. Because users have been spending a lot of time online, brands can capitalize on this live data to find the right tone and context for their individual messaging, creating more personalized and memorable experiences. This is an invaluable asset at a time when relevant and engaging content is so important.

The pandemic has forced consumers and brands alike to break free from their comfort zones and navigate uncharted territories together. For this reason, an authentic voice is more important than ever. Consumers want to feel heard, understood, and supported in their new social and economic realities, and are more likely to support brands that keep it real with their engagement. Those that want to thrive in the post COVID world will have to reframe their brand engagement strategies around what may be irreversible shifts in values, habits, and behavior.

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