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By: Pablo Marqués, President of Grupo Punto
All communications plans and strategies projected there for 2020 in the last four months of 2019 have been discarded given the new scenario forced by the COVID 19 pandemic. This required an urgent and important need: the purpose of aligning the mission and vision of brands with the new scenario without generating messages that make us believe that we are using the context and consequently want brands to look like opportunists.
In addition to the messages accompanying the prevention and care initiatives set by public and government organizations – such as the Uruguayan National Sports Secretariat’s campaign to urge people to wear a mask – it is important to find the narrative strategy that this enables a report on the coordination of the brand with the current moments.
Countless brands have appealed to a message that reminds citizens of the importance of following health recommendations. In this regard, many companies have played with their logos. One of the best known cases was Mercado Libre’s change of logo or Coca-Cola, which placed an advertisement in Times Square in which the traditional typography between the letters adopted the recommended social distance.
The collaborative economy has also played a leading role: for example, it can be cooperative between companies in the same industry. Nowadays, several categories are crucial, such as the telecommunications companies or the brands that produce food, and the retailers – supermarkets, hypermarkets, self-service companies, warehouses – as well as the financial and healthcare systems. In a way, we are all more likely to be helping so much that a new set of values could emerge in the future in which the superfluous begins to be neglected.
Strong initiatives have emerged from the division. For example, in Uruguay there is a great solidarity project where a group of companies met to collect donations to serve the community, and to buy respirators and sanitation based on emergencies set by the Ministry of Health. . In the meantime, a group of young entrepreneurs managed to organize and collect money for the delivery of 500,000 food baskets. There are also examples of companies that have switched to the manufacture of gel alcohol, health clothes, and face masks. And so many other important initiatives for the country. Fortunately, there are many actions in the same direction across Latin America, and it is very gratifying to see new cooperation projects emerging for the most vulnerable every day.
Why be present when consumers don’t buy?
Many years ago I attended an Ogilvy seminar in New York called “Brands in Times of Crisis”, where – as always – there was a lot of information and case studies. At this event, I had one sentence in mind that impressed me: “Brands are not only killed by crises, what kills them most is the forgetfulness of consumers.”
This learning was powerful. Instead of disappearing, brands have to be, in a way, people’s “companions” and pay attention to everything that people experience: at a moment when emotions dominate us, we cannot forget that a brand is an emotional relationship between one Consumer and a product; and keeping that relationship alive is key. You have to turn on the flashlight in this darkness, which requires that we be creative in all dimensions so that your brand not only remembers in these times of crisis, but also gains relevance.
Now brands have to take the lead and demonstrate their goals based on their commitment to the people and the community in which they operate. It is true that all brands are in a very important crisis, because sales have declined, there are difficulties with the input supply chain or with distribution and extensive, etc., but it is a time when people also take action on the measures Companies that go beyond government action. The community needs brands that are committed and demonstrate this commitment by putting it into practice.
As Paco Conde says, we are at war and have to choose the battle; The more this struggle is related to your business, the more chances we have of winning it. This presupposes that you are cheap and not opportunistic: if you are perceived as an “exploiter” at this moment, this can cause irreparable damage to your brand.
According to the latest data media research from Grupo Punto, the first thing customers want is that brands are very honest. This means that companies and their brands – which play an active role in the community – are valued more than ever by people. Passing this test will be critical as it is consumers who give prestige and brand strength. In one sentence people ask them: “Come with me now”. And here you have to act very quickly, at the speed of a startup, because our reality is changing at full speed.