• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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How brands can survive Coronavirus crisis

How brands can survive Coronavirus crisis

The office is an organised environment that encourages focus and productivity however these are difficult times that have seen the office become suddenly not too attractive to many people and working from home is much preferred for health reasons.

Unlike humans, brands cannot isolate themselves so easily part of a brands primary objective is to be visible so that it can be chosen at the moment of truth. With the full effects of the Corona Virus outbreak still to be realized in many markets what can management and marketers do to ensure the continued health of their staff and brands?

First, put plans in place to continue business and protect employees and customers. Second, recognize that every business in the same industry is likely to take a hit. Third, how well you ride out the crisis will depend on responding to it more effectively than your competitors. How can your brand best ride out the turmoil? And how can you ensure a swift return to business as usual? Doing dry run and rehearsal of possible worst-case scenarios matters as you would be better prepared for the challenge before it occurs. If your resident IT and statisticians can model the possible impact for you and how to respond effectively that could also be helpful. Bottomline do not be too relaxed and caught out, play out the different consequences and as the boys scout would say it ‘be prepared’

Beyond the immediate response, when facing something like Corona Virus the response to people’s feelings is going to be critical. To do so effectively, management and marketers must suspend their own viewpoint and put themselves in their customer’s shoes. Good time for emotional intelligence 101. How do they feel? What help might they need – functional or emotional? And how might they expect the brand to respond? People’s response to a crisis is going to vary by their basic attitude to life, and it is important to align your brand’s response with its existing positioning and values or it will seem inauthentic. Ultimately it is about how your brand can improve its relevance in a time of need and defuse any potential concerns related to your business. For instance, home delivery might seem like a great idea but only if the delivery person has sanitized their hands.

This is the best time brands playing in the health and related sectors should collaborate with relevant authorities to create visibility and relevance for the society. It is disheartening that marketers of sanitizers and hand wash are making a kill instead of showing empathy. It would be fair to say though that the laws of demand and supply are at play the truth remains that brands that show empathy now would be remembered and rewarded during better days. 

Brands that have invested in technology would also benefit when there is a clamp down or restriction of movement. Good news is our situation in this clime (Nigeria) have not gotten that bad, but we would like to note that even in China Kantar is still talking to thousands of consumers via WeChat and What’s App. A good number of our home panels are still running, and this is a delight as we can provide service in difficult times to our clients.

While it might seem callous to say so, crises can also offer the opportunity for growth. In China, Luckin Coffee began delivering alcohol-based sterilizers and antibiotic hand soap in addition to its beverages and stocking its network of vending machines with the sanitizer products. Whether this proves a successful strategy or not, the demand for DTC services and delivery is only likely to grow in the coming weeks and will likely have a long-term impact on consumer behaviour.

I would like to close with the cheering news that our first case of Corona Virus has fully recovered and may be leaving the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba (Lagos) very soon. So, to the Nigerian brand managers how have you been coping with the whole Corona virus palaver?


Nigel Hollis, Michael Umogun

Nigel Hollis (Chief Global Analyst, Kantar) and Michael Umogun (Lead, Marketing and New Business Kantar Nigeria)