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Coronavirus is undoubtedly the most commonly used word in recent months. In all likelihood, she will also top this year’s ranking of the analytical company Global Language Monitor, which annually surveys the most used terms on the Internet, media and social networks. As much as we don’t want to, the topic of the virus will continue to be relevant in the coming months.

The health crisis has affected a number of businesses and affected consumer behavior. Impulsive purchases have shrunk and given way to rational shopping and saving. Consumers have begun to use many more digital devices and consume more engaging content. Many companies have launched free online lessons, training programs and training videos. Live events were transferred to a virtual environment. Many large companies were the first to take advantage of online business seminars and conferences. Gradually, the trend took over the field of theater and art, and many artists and cultural institutions began to hold online concerts, performances and productions. Thanks to modern technology, participants in the already popular virtual events can communicate freely with each other and exchange valuable experiences and ideas, even if they are within the online space. Some companies have reduced their production, others have disappeared, new ones have appeared, filling newly created market niches. All these changes in the economic environment and conditions have imposed a tendency for the business itself to transform and focus on the use of new marketing models to offer their products and services on the market.

In today’s blog article we will focus on current trends in the field of marketing based on our professional experience and leading research on the subject.

Digital marketing in the conditions of increased online activity

In the context of a global pandemic and imposed social isolation, consumers began to spend even more time in the digital environment, which led to a significant increase in both content consumption and traffic to various websites. According to the latest research, online consumption has increased by 70 percent, and the number of messages on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp has increased by more than 60%. A large number of companies have launched digital advertising campaigns in order to announce percentage discounts on products and services or free delivery to customers. Word of mouth is no longer a sufficient condition for business promotion and sales growth. Companies are investing more than ever in SEO-optimization and generating relevant and useful content for the audience, optimized by keywords. The business focuses on researching consumer interests in social channels and providing up-to-date and well-presented information. Many companies have announced on social media what measures they follow at work to protect their employees and customers. Technology giants Facebook and Google have announced that they will allow their employees to work remotely until the end of the year and will financially support those who have young children and have to watch them at home.

The growing role of PR in communication between business and audience

Until recently a slightly neglected marketing tool, in the current situation PR has become important for business in communicating its messages to different target audiences and telling success stories, in many cases even inspiring stories about the transformation of companies and their customer care. In the constantly changing conditions in recent months, PR specialists have used a variety of tools to communicate with consumers and reliable and credible media in which to position their brands and messages. A leading priority for people has been the use of quality and proven sources of information, which has made the media a sought-after and desired communication format by businesses. The media also responded very quickly and adequately to the situation, providing a number of new opportunities and formats to companies to facilitate their communication with interested audiences, which many businesses have successfully benefited from. Due to the significant increase in media content consumption, PR messages have reached a huge number of online audiences. These trends continue to this day.

It is a well-known fact that PR serves to strengthen the reputation of a number of businesses during a crisis. The current trend is to create content aimed at supporting society and sharing examples of practice to inspire consumers. During the state of emergency, for example, many Bulgarian companies donated to support hospitals and medical facilities in the country in their fight against the coronavirus. Through a series of publications in the media, these good practices quickly and successfully reached consumers.

Planning advertising campaigns and investing in digital media

The natural response of business during a crisis is to reduce marketing costs, lay off staff and close departments. These changes probably led to a temporary stabilization of some businesses, but not to the realization of long-term revenues. In contrast, companies that optimized advertising costs and relied on quality content were able to build consumer confidence and remind people of the role of business in times of crisis. After rethinking their communication strategies, a number of businesses turned to planning advertising campaigns mainly in the electronic media. There is a tendency for some companies, which have so far acted passively and did not pay serious attention to their advertising messages, to start adapting to the new situation and looking for effective ways to reach the audience. The most seriously affected by the new situation were the print media, which began to offer more and more promotional packages and advertising offers. Against the background of paper editions, traffic to online editions and viewership of television channels has increased dramatically in recent months.

Build user engagement through the right content

Many Bulgarian and foreign businesses rely on the topic of coronavirus in their marketing approach and create effective and even touching advertising campaigns. Driven by a sense of concern and empathy, advertisers not only offer their products, but seek to build a relationship with consumers. At a time when businesses are optimizing every expense, even a health appeal on the packaging of a product is better perceived by consumers and creates brand loyalty than a large-scale advertising campaign that simply encourages purchase. In recent weeks, we have witnessed a merger of companies in the fight against the spread of the virus. The German car manufacturers Volkswagen and Audi publish in the social networks different versions of their logos with the call of the people to take part in the event. Giants such as McDonald’s and Coca Cola have also used similar tactics, removing visual elements in their logos in solidarity with people who voluntarily stay in their homes.

The role of Employer branding during a crisis

The situation facing the business is unknown and different and we are already witnessing how it can change in hours. This requires companies to be more flexible and to find new reliable and workable solutions with which to develop and stand out among competitors in the market. There has been a lot of talk lately about building and maintaining an employer brand during a crisis. Employer Branding is not a new concept for business, but its role has increased significantly in recent months. In order to keep their corporate image in the new reality, some of the companies have launched proactive actions aimed at strengthening the trust of their employees, partners and customers. Now is the time for organizations that have not taken enough action to strengthen the image of their brand as a fair and desirable employer to pay special attention to activities in this direction. To do this, you can start with 3 basic steps.

  • First of all, business must constantly remind itself in order to attract the attention of a wide audience during and after the crisis. The use of well-developed communication channels and marketing tools greatly facilitates this process. At a time when the demand for reliable information has grown exponentially, Brand
  • Storytelling has become a major tool for building a relationship between a brand and its audience. Presenting unique content for the brand is an inspiring solution that can be used in any communication strategy, including to potential and current employees.
  • Another important goal for companies at the moment is to adapt their employees to the situation through various online trainings, small gestures, initiatives and especially open communication in connection with future projects and planned business activities.
  • Last but not least, strengthening the employer’s image in front of clients and partners is an important step for the leaders of every company. Organizing special events that bring added value will emphasize the company’s messages and present its corporate profile in a better light.

Even if business is already happening differently, companies need to look to positive examples and change their communication strategies to continue to grow.