Economics and marketing communication are connected vessels. The co-existing rise in inflation and unemployment, the drop in income and the economic slowdown we are facing as a result of the pandemic and the lockdown may result in a reduction in spending and consumption. It is possible that Poles will be striving for savings, which may result in replacing more expensive products with cheaper ones, especially in the case of low-end products and buying smaller amounts of branded products. How should marketers behave in this situation? Below we present 10 tips for a communication strategy, how to react to the economic crisis so that consumers remain loyal to our brand and do not replace it with less expensive competitors.
#1 First and foremost, building value
In a crisis situation it will not be as important to emphasize the low price, but to build value in the eyes of the consumer, because they do not buy what is cheap, but what has a high value for money in their eyes. Therefore, even when the income of buyers is shrinking, brands should not reduce communication to price. The usefulness and importance of the benefits should be emphasized while offering a good price, that is so much of a good for such an attractive price. Deep price reductions devalue the brand in the eyes of the consumer and question the validity of their previous choices (and expenses). A return to the price before the crisis will be very difficult.
#2 Consumers expect straightforward answers
A time of crisis verifies whether there is room on the market for three or five completely indistinguishable coffee or tea brands. Communication must focus on highlighting the specific, unique characteristics or benefits of the brand that differentiates it from its competitors and thus enhances its value to the consumer. Such distinguishing features can also be found in the packaging, distribution method or digital tool or service offered by the brand.
#3 For better or for worse
In a time of crisis, we turn to what is known and what is permanent. This is an opportunity to emotionally reassure the consumer in making the right decision – to appeal to nostalgic feelings, memories of old, good times. To emphasize the longevity of the relationship and the different paths of fate that we have gone through together. It was different, but we survived it together. We give a sense of security and stability this way.
#4 We are in this together
To highlight the role of an understanding partner – to share difficult experiences with the consumer. Show understanding, empathy and commitment to the problems customers may face and … propose specific solutions.
#5 Use the brand heritage
Refer to the brand’s heritage and tradition and, where appropriate, emphasize its importance in culture and social life. This way, we draw attention to the uniqueness of the brand, its persistence despite changing times and new challenges, its ability to meet growing needs. This is a space to draw attention to the innovation and breakthrough solutions that the brand once offered. Brands that not only last, but have been growing for years have a better chance of being perceived as unique.
#6 Unique experience with a brand
This is another way to build a belief that our brand is unique and cannot easily be replaced by a less expensive proposal from the competition
#7 Luxury at your fingertips
The mainstream brands can increase their value in the eyes of the consumer by using the codes previously reserved for premium brands in communication. In this way they increase the perception of quality while maintaining the perception of an affordable brand.
#8 Lift your spirit
Give hope, joy, provide entertainment, look for what is good and positive around us.
#9 Bet on good creation
Always, regardless of the chosen strategy, make sure that the crisis does not have a negative impact on the quality of communication. Communication in times of crisis should involve the mind and emotions of the consumer more than ever, and not just limit itself to providing information in a schematic and conservative form. A good creation that respects the recipient’s intelligence will be even more important than usual.
#10 Don’t limit spending
A brand that does not communicate with its recipients loses twice. Its image and knowledge suffer from it. Not only will it start being more poorly rated than its competitors, but it will become more difficult to remember it when at the shelf. An investment in communication is therefore crucial, because when we disappear from the media, we disappear from the minds of the consumer and ultimately from their shopping carts.