This article is part of our Contributor Series.
When the post-Coronavirus reality is knocking on the doors, many businesses may feel powerless against the new market rules. This article will help you understand not only how to overcome a recession, but even become a new industry leader regardless of all the challenges.
"The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow." - Seth Godin
The world's media are now reflecting the post-Coronavirus reality as such that dictates new game rules and market conditions. Everyday life is interrupted by the outbreak of unusual, restrictive, and even frightening things. While some businesses still ignore the facts about the pandemic and recession, others look straight at the eyes of the new normal, rethink their strategies, and learn how to fully participate in the digital economy.
Doing so significantly increases their chances of becoming new market leaders regardless of the COVID-19 recession. Here I will share my digital marketing insights on how brands can keep ahead of the competition and enter new markets in the current conditions.
1. Microtargeting: Market to a Small Audience
Many globally known unicorns founded during recessions started their journeys by targeting small tribes of like-minded people. A significant part of their success lies in the fact that they have been attempting to gain the loyalty of local communities first. The smaller audience you target, the more closely-knit and loyal community you may gather around your brand.
The brand's emotional interaction with a few loyal customers can bring more sales than targeting a huge yet "cold" audience. Why? The secret is in the word-of-mouth. In the modern world, most of our words are said online and can spread via social networks at wind speed. One positive review posted on the web can multiply the number of followers and customers within hours.
Do you want to be heard by millions? Don't worry, birds will tweet about your brand on Twitter. You only need to care about building an emotional connection with your existing customers by publishing helpful content on your company's blog, actively interacting with followers on social media, and running creative promotions.
2. Collaborate with Micro- and Nano-Influencers
Who are they? Micro-influencers are people with 10,000 to 50,000 followers on social media who are considered experts in their respective niches. Nano-influencers are generally defined as thought-leaders with less than 1000 to 10,000 followers. The collaboration with them has become a new social media trend and effective practice of setting long-term and trust-based relationships with customers.
Why are they so helpful? First of all, because they lead a very engaged community of followers and may introduce your brand to a loyal audience. Micro- and nano-bloggers are always the best-informed about the latest trends in their niches, deliver high-quality content backed at their own experience, and don't miss the opportunity to interact with followers in comments under the posts. Micro-influencers know their followers, and their communication feels much closer. So, it's not surprising that their audience trusts them and relies on their content.
Influencer marketing can be particularly helpful in the new normal when most of the customers are online. Even giant brands, like BMW, Gillette Venus, and Always, have already leveraged the power of nano-influencer marketing, growing their audiences in small countries. Below, you can see an Instagram post demonstrating that Forever21 collaborates with nano-influencers too.
3. Encourage Emotional Interaction with Customers
We are so often driven by emotions when choosing brands and products. We don't remember brand names but associations and emotions related to them. The most powerful way to evoke human emotions is visual. Don't underestimate the power of a visual part of your brand image and messaging. Try to differentiate your company with exceptional design. It's also recommended to invest in a remarkable brand identity and intuitive website.
You can use animations and digital illustrations as visual attention-grabbers in advertising or social media posts. Some companies even create their own branded illustrations and use them on websites, custom mobile applications, and social media to emphasize their uniqueness and amplify the power of their visual image.
Some brands leverage the benefits of animated explainer videos to shape a powerful brand voice, increase recognizability, create a lasting impression, and interact with customers at a more emotional level. Just look at this funny animation below! It surely evokes at least a slight smile while you are looking at it.
website animation by Fireart Studio
4. Demonstrate Cultural Sensitivity
Social media marketing is a perfect way to communicate and address local communities. In the tone of integrity, you should support and spread global trends, discussions, and news to keep your audience updated. However, on the other hand, you must support your audience's local ethos and attune your content to the cultural specifics of your target groups.
All of us are so different and amazing — in every part of the world, country, city, and even district. Don't forget to remind and emphasize it in your posts to set a stronger cultural and emotional connection with your audience. KFC Arabia's recent tweet is an excellent example of how you can show cultural sensitivity in your marketing.
5. Add Empathy to Your Messaging
Keep in mind that your customers have been recently exposed to many challenges caused by the pandemic and the accompanying recession. As a brand, you may reveal your support and care about your people by adding more empathy to your company's voice. You can remind followers about the pandemic precautions and cheer them up by posting funny content, as we need a pinch of humor in these uncertain times. An excellent example of how brands can message their customers is a social media video by McDonald's targeting the Filipino community.
Customer loyalty as one of the biggest values in a recession
The simple truth is that customer loyalty is one of the most powerful triggers of business success during a recession. In these challenging times, customers need your care and support even more than ever before. These simple yet actionable marketing techniques can help you connect with your customers at a more personal level, address each and everyone in your community, and inspire them to integrate to build a sustainable future together. It will empower your company to create a positive reputation, increase customer loyalty, grow brand awareness, and enter a digital economy as a new market leader.
Dana Kachan is a marketing consultant and content manager at Fireart Studio. Consulting and implementing digital marketing for startups and established businesses across various industries, she likes to share insights about marketing, growth hacking, entrepreneurship, product design, and emerging tech in her articles. Dana has written for Yahoo Finance Singapore, ReadWrite, Hacker Noon, Campaign Monitor, Business2Community, and more. You can connect with Dana on LinkedIn and Twitter.