The Certainty of the Timeless in Times of Uncertainty

What will the new normal look like? Now, that’s a question almost everyone is asking. An equal number is taking a shot at the answer, which in many ways is really a shot in the dark. Now, what if the question were different? What if we asked, What’s not going to change in the new normal? That will then lead us to the things that we can be certain will hold true even in an uncharted future.

La certeza de lo atemporal en tiempos de incertidumbre

As Jeff Bezos puts it, “It’s impossible to imagine a future where a customer comes up and says, Jeff I love Amazon, I just wish the prices were a little higher, OR I love Amazon, I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly. Impossible.”

Even during uncertain times, especially during uncertain times, the unchanging tenets of our work and the value it creates for the people we serve, will help us find the path forward. Both for companies and for marketers, who are navigating strategies and tactics for our companies. In fact, as we look around us, we see 5 time-tested rules of marketing that brands and businesses are doubling down on as they look to remain relevant in this altered reality.


Building brand trust

Which supermarket did you think to shop at or order from when the sudden extended lockdowns made fresh food scarce? Which brand of sanitizer did you rely on to feel safe? During hard times, both consumers and businesses, are unlikely to experiment. They simply fall back on the familiar patterns they have created for themselves during other periods of stability. So, my guess is you unthinkingly relied on the brands that you always have. And when these brands deliver for you at a time when you really need them to, that trust is deeply reinforced. The way Amazon is doing it is a fine example. Amazon quickly prioritized the stocking and delivery of essential household staples, medical supplies, and other critical products. They temporarily closed Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, and Amazon Pop Up stores because they don’t sell essential products. For B2B now’s the time to invest in personalized marketing and fulfilling the evolving needs of clients caught in the flux of the moment.

We see 5 time-tested rules of marketing that brands and businesses are doubling down on as they look to remain relevant in this altered reality.

Power of human touch, even if virtual

We thrive on meeting people, connecting and building relationships. It’s a primal need. And now we are compelled to work with our devices, our apps, our empathy and ingenuity to rethink the kinds of meaningful connections we can continue to strike. Brands big and small are making a dent here by facilitating that human touch, even amidst constraints. Brands like Walmart, Target, and Walgreens, that have remained open even during the peak of the lockdowns, have set aside shopping hours on select days for seniors and vulnerable shoppers who were having difficulty getting supplies as panic buying left store shelves empty. In the early days of the contamination, artists like the Cello master Yo-Yo Ma started daily live concerts for a rapt online audience. Entrepreneurs and business leaders are now offering time to listen to pitches from start-up teams. Master yoga instructors are teaching free online classes. Several companies are relaying free ‘how to’ webinars. Like many other technology companies, Infosys is enabling online education for America’s school-going children to continue to learn from home. Undoubtedly, our world of mostly digital-only connections has grown infinitely richer in recent times.


Contextual communication works

Engagement with brands skyrockets when the experience is contextual. Some brands are seeking to find that aspect of this crisis that most deeply affect their audience and offering help. For example, several distilleries are making and giving away hand sanitizer from the otherwise unusable first batch of alcohol they produce. Heinz for Diners is a new initiative meant to help independently-owned diners. Heinz ketchup bottles have long been ubiquitous on diner tables. Heinz plans to send $2,000 grants to 500 diners, for total support of $1 million. Heinz is asking people to nominate their favorite local diners. Then there’s OneDine, a pioneer in guest-side technology solutions for restaurants, that is offering a free tap & pay touchless payment system to restaurants with free setup, free table sensors for tap and pay activity, as well as all transaction fees waived. An example from our own books, is how we are helping our clients relook at cybersecurity in the context of remote working at scale that has grown to be the new norm. It’s part of our Being Resilient: That’s Live Enterprise campaign.

For B2B now’s the time to invest in personalized marketing and fulfilling the evolving needs of clients caught in the flux of the moment. 

Doing good is never going out of style

These brands didn’t start now. The crisis only presented them with another moment to demonstrate the good they routinely enable. Here are some examples that come to mind. Christina Karin, the fashion label has shut down stores to focus on sewing face masks for the local hospitals which are running out. LinkedIn is opening up some of its learning courses for free. And AllState insurance known for its “in Good Hands” advertising has announced a special payment plan to give auto and homeowner policyholders the choice to delay two consecutive premium payments with no penalty. Infosys, is also working with policy makers, in various parts of the world seeking to leverage smart technologies to trace high-risk nodes, and then predict and flatten the curve of infection.


CFO speak – ROI Vs KPI

Astute marketers know that aggressive investments in marketing is unlikely in these times of tightening belts. They expertly connect their aspirations for the brand to meaningful returns for the business in ways that leadership can appreciate. This not only builds short term credibility for marketing but serves to future-proof the value equation for the function while lowering hurdles for long-term brand investments.

Like the quotable quote goes – “Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them….” And the customers will be able to tell. We are hopeful that for most of us, it’ll mostly be good.


© IE Insights.


Sign up for our Newsletter

Newsletter Subscription