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Published on

May 26, 2020


Communications, Content strategy, COVID-19

In today's current climate of uncertainty and constant evolution, never before has communications been more important. We answer questions about communications, messaging and content in this session of Ask LEWIS live on Facebook via Zoom.

Read part one of our Ask LEWIS recap here.

Meet our panel:

What types of content resonate with audiences these days? Are certain content types (formats) more appealing than others? 

Danny: It really depends on the audience that you’re talking to. For example, younger audiences tend to gravitate towards bite-sized, shareable, feel-good content. Memes are very popular at this point of time, Instagram stories, Tik Tok. Young people are generally looking for news that give them actionable daily tips as well as entertainment content that helps them get their minds off of the Coronavirus.

If you’re looking at older demographics, they tend to want content that they can do a deeper dive into and give them perspective and direction. For example, opinion eds, self-help articles, content that gives financial advice and so on. Unsurprisingly, there’s an increase in online activities – HootSuite says that 47% of people are spending more time on social media, 57% more time on streaming services and 46% more time on instant messaging. We’ve also had enquiries from clients about WhatsApp biz to use as a platform for always-on conversational commerce.

Tik Tok: How do brands get on board? Should they get on board?

Pamela: A lot of brands see the need to have presence across all channels. And if you look back in history, how many types of social media platforms have existed and then no longer existed? There isn’t a need to have that kind of an omnipresence but rather to take an audience-centric approach. As Danny said, different personas are consuming content in very different ways. Look at where your audiences are, then map out your channel priorities, resources and campaign goals before you ideate your content. You need to ensure that your content is fit for format.

Specifically, when we look at Tik Tok we’re looking at a typically younger audience – those aged 16 to 24. Now how that might evolve, we can’t tell yet. I have personally seen content from individuals that are outside of that target audience. Tik Tok’s consumer behaviour tends to be more for just pure entertainment. They just want fun and to be entertained. There’s been talk about how it’s great for general awareness but there’s been a lot of questions around whether it aligns with a business’ strategy. Most importantly, they have a unique format and we don’t know whether that will change in the way Facebook and Instagram have. The question for brands should be does Tik Tok fit the way your brand communicates and does it go into your digital ecosystem.

Danny: Tik Tok is one of those platforms you definitely have to keep an eye out for. Every platform goes through growing pains; trying to find its own identity. In terms of the sheer engagement and growth, it puts it as a vehicle that cannot be ignored. What Tik Tok means for brands is still an evolving conversation but they are relevant to the millennial audiences especially seeing those Tik Tok challenges which have caught on with many brands.

Ann: Audience segmentation and market segmentation is key. When you look at Tik Tok as a channel, in different markets, there are different types of audiences. So it’s crucial to acknowledge how in different markets, people perceive Tik Tok.

In Malaysia, a lot of people are using Tik Tok to do direct selling and it’s proving to be very effective for that community in terms of generating sales. So before venturing into any channel, whether it’s Tik Tok, Instagram or Facebook, marketers need to look at how that channel speaks to their audience in their market to get a good understanding of whether it is the right channel.

It’s hard to balance professional and fun when it comes to corporate content. How can marketers overcome this challenge?

Pamela: Interestingly, we do have a portfolio of B2B clients so that’s something that we have been actually tasked with. These brands are on different social platforms. When you look at LinkedIn, content for this channel tends to take more of a corporate speak. But we can also translate that same content for a B2B product or service in a way that’s relatable on a platform like, say, Instagram or Facebook.

You can inject fun – your audience are not organisations but rather individuals working in those organisations. Whether it’s a quirky piece of information, a fun Q&A session or even inside jokes only those in the industry can relate to – make it engaging.

The other thing to look at when it comes to corporate content on digital platforms, what are your brand’s guidelines? You can play with colours or even the style of content – illustrations, .gifs, infographics or short videos. These are some different ways you could package your content.

How can marketers effectively communicate with their audience despite a reduction in budgets or resources?

Ann: We should definitely not lose sight of SEO and generating organic content, especially if you’re trying to manage budgets and reduce your spend on paid media. Get creative with your stories and always ensure that you go back to checking that box on relevance. This will help get your target audience and consumers to read and stay engaged with your brand.

Danny: To reinforce what Ann had to say about SEO – social media may seem “sexy” but SEO is one of the key things for brands to focus on during this COVID era. There are more searches than ever before and if you’re not page one, you won’t be part of their conversation or lives at all. SEO should be a key priority for marketers.

Related: Complete SEO Glossary for Beginners

What pointers do you have for brands who are on the way to resuming their regular marketing campaigns?

Ann: Some of the shift to digital, if you think about it, it has been happening for very long. It’s just that now, it just got really expedited with the situation. Brands must not be complacent and look at ways to reinvent themselves or their strategies. A lot of people came to the realisation that sticking to their traditional methods of doing business or channels would not help them get through this time. That being said, moving forward, planning ahead and being proactive is actually very important. While this is a great challenge that almost no one alive has seen before, it is a challenge we have to overcome just as we have every other business challenge in the past. The key to that is being adaptive, flexible and having the willingness to explore the unknown so you can find out what results that may bring to your business.

Pamela:  The first thing is to start looking at is scenario planning for this transition period before you resume your regular marketing campaigns. We have also seen how some brands were not prepared for issues and crisis communications. It would be a pity for brands who have not looked into this. This situation has been a good lesson for brands to ensure they have their business continuity plan, comms preparedness planning and training – be it spokesperson or teams in general – in place.

For more insights for your business during this time of uncertainty, visit You can also read part one of our Ask LEWIS recap here.

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