Meet our panel:
- Keso Kendall, Head of Strategic Regional Accounts, APAC
- Steven Reilly, Managing Director, Australia
- Fairil Yeo, VP, Transformation, APAC
The Connected World as we know it, has become even more real for us today as we ease into a new normal of living our lives online. We’ve become what is known as the omnipresent audience.
One of the main changes we’ve seen is businesses starting to adapt to and ease into digital – whether from an operations perspective, or in terms of their marketing strategy. In fact, some industries have needed to accelerate their pace of change in response to COVID-19. Industries like tourism and hospitality have been hit badly while demand for legal services are picking up a great deal.
What does this mean for businesses? Here’s what we had to say.
What is a good starting point for smaller businesses who may not have the resource or knowledge to evolve digitally?
Keso: From an operational point of view, a lot of businesses are having to think on their feet as to how they support things like remote working or overall operations. The good news here is that there are lots of applications and tools out there to help support with this and lots of webinars to join that can help guide you on this transformation journey. In fact, we work with a lot of clients in the B2B IT sector and we know that many of them are focused on helping smaller businesses overcome these challenges. So there are plenty of resources that can put in place an infrastructure that supports teams in a secure environment.
When it comes to marketing, this should actually be easier for smaller businesses, that likely haven’t invested in large scale out-of-home campaigns. This is an opportunity to reassess where your customer base now sits and then apply the best techniques and tools to reach them – whether that’s via social media, online events, written content or video.
Steven: Understanding what your consumers’ emotional state right now is key. Brands should not be afraid to ask for help – there are a lot of experts out there that can share knowledge. It’s really a time to look outward and seek help especially when it comes to the technology aspect of change, which can be less daunting when you have experts on your side.
From a social perspective, we are also seeing communities and businesses come together. There is a real economic need for peers in the industry and colleagues to be supporting each other.
“We’re not able to drive people into malls, into retail and that is a real challenge, but it’s a bigger opportunity to pivot your businesses.” – Fairil Yeo, VP, Transformation, APAC
Do you see the widespread lockdown as a challenge or opportunity for digital marketing?
Fairil: Digital marketing is an accelerator for businesses during this time. We’re not able to drive people into malls, into retail and that is a real challenge, but it’s a bigger opportunity to pivot your businesses.
Take small steps – they don’t need to be major changes. It could be as simple as moving appointments online, for example. And this doesn’t cost a lot.
Brands can also pivot their ways of communicating with their audience. This is really necessary.
What do you think the new normal will look like from a communications perspective?
Keso: Ultimately the fundamentals for communications will still apply – understanding your audience, understanding your product and where it sits in the market, understanding the channels available to you.
What will change will be the channels and language that we use to communicate. Digital channels will remain essential to reaching audiences even after lockdowns and when self-isolation restrictions lift. Investment into paid online media and Google AdWords will continue to be an effective way for brands to drive awareness. But probably the biggest shift that I alluded to before would be the language and positioning that brands use to communicate.
I was on a PRHK webinar recently, and one of the speakers said they don’t want every brand to be telling them to “wash your hands”. It’s about being understanding sensitively what you as a brand should be communicating as well as the situation that your customers will have faced.
Likewise sensitivity and recognition of the situation we have all faced will also be important in communications, and understanding some of the challenges and hardships your consumers may be dealing with.
“Marketers need more thorough evaluation of the comms that are going out – they may need to reduce the number of messages that are going out there and consider the wide range of channels and the suitability of that message for that channel.” – Steven Reilly, Managing Director, LEWIS Australia
Steven: The importance of judgment and a thorough analysis of what you are trying to say, where you are trying to say it and why you are trying to say it is more important than ever. Everyone is facing different working environments; our entire lives have changed. And that can bring different pressures – trying to home school and do your day job, for example. Be acutely aware of, while your message has the best of intentions, you need to put your frame of mind of the consumer – is it a relevant message? Is it the right time to send it? Is it essential?
Poorly timed messages, or if they are not thought through, they have a lasting impact. Marketers need more thorough evaluation of the comms that are going out – they may need to reduce the number of messages that are going out there and consider the wide range of channels and the suitability of that message for that channel.
The challenge that marketers might face would be that – keeping consistency of that message even on various channels. Your audience may or may not be receptive to that during that point of time.