Content Strategy in the Age of COVID-19

The world is collectively experiencing a complete shift in consumption behaviour. Often during times of crisis, opportunities to adapt and advance are called for but hard to come by. For brands, a rather obvious by-product of COVID-19 is the drastic increase in time spent on our favourite social media platforms. Ad supply (eyeballs) is up, while demand (advertising spend) is down.

This positive impact on ad prices, presents brands with the unique opportunity to provide their audiences with relevant, engaging content at a fraction of the price. Now, more than ever, your brand’s content and messaging needs to be tailored accordingly.

Although cheaper CPMs do not necessarily mean an increase in ROAS (return on ad spend) during this time, it does allow brands to remain top of mind and in good favour with their audiences for when the “New Normal” arrives.

Recent Kantar research shows that creative quality is the single biggest driver (50%) that explains growth of brand saliency, the degree by which your brand is recalled by consumers when it’s time to make a purchase decision. This is followed by reach (25%), frequency (16%) and media synergy (9%).

How can your brand pivot existing content plans at this point? Below we take a look at some simple, effective tips on how to ensure relevant content that shows your audience you care.

Show your customers how your business has adapted

Give your audience an inside look at your “Work from Home” setup for your virtual office party or inform your customers of updated hygiene practices and protocols in place to ensure your employees safety. Whether it’s relatable and humorous or more formal, your audience will appreciate the proactive and authentic approach you make as an organisation.

Revisit existing creative

Make sure your brand is being mindful of social distancing practices and the “New Normal” within the creative to avoid any negative associations or unintentionally coming across as ignorant.

“Tread carefully if you are demonstrating anything that goes against what government has asked us not to do – call out categories are food and alcohol – check assets for demonstrating signs of large gatherings/weak hygiene habits/ sharing of food/licking of fingers etc? Start mining your bank of assets!” – Natalie Botha, Head of Creative Development Kantar South Africa

Mind your copy

Whilst South Africans may be paying attention to brands that are purpose-led and practical, using their resources accordingly, it’s equally important for brands to be mindful about how their messaging makes people feel. Does it make people feel less lonely and more at ease or does it make them fearful and anxious?

Consider the negative wording within your copy. “DON’T do something” vs.“REMEMBER to do something” Which works harder? – Natalie Botha, Head of Creative Development Kantar South Africa

Long-term customer relationships are important, now more than ever

Like hugs and kisses are a “thing of the past”, so is the hard sell. So much so that 78% of South Africans feel brands should NOT exploit the situation to promote the brand.

Taking this into consideration, it’s important to ask yourself how you want the public to remember your brand after the crisis and how can you maintain your customer relationships until then.

For more insight into navigating how the pandemic has impacted advertising spend, marketing strategies and business operations across our industry, IAB South Africa and Kantar have initiated a series of weekly webinars utilising Kantar’s bi-weekly surveys. If you’d like to stay informed, you can register for the series here.

Tayla Calcott (Social Media Manager at Mark1)