Richard Fisher and Valerie Nathan own Trapeze Communications, an advertising and creative agency, known for high impact campaigns in our market and beyond. Trapeze helps clients fine tune their brands for relevance and success across digital and traditional media. Their client list includes Buy BC, Omicron, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Child Care BC, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and Craigdarroch Castle.
We asked Richard and Valerie to share their perspective and advice on marketing during COVID-19.
How do you think consumer attitudes and buying patterns will change post-pandemic?
There is still so much uncertainty. It will depend on how badly people’s incomes have been affected. Chances are consumers will likely not revert to pre-pandemic behaviours and be more focused on essentials — like re-starting activities and choices that affect or enhance health and safety — than clamouring to buy the latest thing (haircuts will be in high demand!). We will also likely and hopefully see a strong preference for “buy local” as people understand the value in supporting local businesses.
As we cope with this extraordinary challenge, how can businesses keep their brands top of mind?
By reconnecting with their clients, suppliers and colleagues, sharing information, being relevant. It’s not a time to try and “sell people stuff” — it’s a time to let them know you’re here for them.
What approach can brands can take right now to maintain and increase share of voice?
If you are a public-facing business, reassuring people that you are taking the correct safety measures for customers and employees would be a good strategy. As an example, some pizza delivery chains are doing this in their ads, emphasizing that the food and box is not touched once it has been removed from oven and out for delivery. If I was thinking of ordering a pizza, I’d pick them, based on this. Regardless of the message or creative, it is crucial for brands to strike a tone that shows some heart, empathy and understanding of the current reality.
What should businesses focus on when it comes to their marketing and advertising strategies over the next three months?
Make your marketing and communications messages relevant to the times. What does your audience need or want and how can you help them? This will hopefully be a time of recovery, catching up on things, starting to enjoy life again. Focus on how your brand relates to this and can be helpful to others. In the coming months, it will be more critical than ever to have a dynamic web presence and focused digital strategy. Update your website, SM channels and content if lagging.
Do you have any advice you want to share with business owners?
This is a time to communicate not withdraw — however you can afford to do so. Reach out to customers, keep them informed, communicate. Be real. As an example, journalists and late night talk show hosts are broadcasting from their basements and no one cares that the lighting is lousy right now. It’s an opportunity to be less slick, more real, and communicate cost effectively. Make sure your digital channels like your website and social media are robust, up-to-date and in-use. This is a time to get your brand and/or your marketing tools in order if they have been neglected, and to get ready for the new “normal” — whatever and whenever that is.