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Customer Experience

How to Use Consumer Advertising As A Business Tool

April 09, 2020

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Even with the operational and financial changes resulting from the current crisis, it’s still important to create a consumer advertising strategy. Data from Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer report shows that only 8% expect brands to cut advertising during this time, which sounds surprising at first but makes sense in the long run.

Much of today’s marketing strategies are centered on digital platforms, and during these times those same platforms are the main lines of communication between brands and consumers. By using these channels properly and following the tips below, any brand can utilize advertising as an effective tool that fosters communication and connection to consumers.

Send the Right Message

Now, more than ever, businesses need to send messages in the right tone, as evidenced by the report’s 75% of respondents who said brands shouldn’t exploit the current situation to promote themselves.

Instead of the usual promotional content, the advertising substance should focus on a humbling tone and show consumers what you’re doing internally. Specifically, the top things that people want to know about the business are how the brand will continue to be helpful during this time (77%) and how it’s reacting to changing circumstances (75%).

a graphic showing an online message

Providing these valuable bits of information in a non-promotional tone does more than bring awareness to the brand; it shows that your business is enduring during these difficult times and you are making an effort to serve customers and/or the community at large.

Many businesses are following this trend of brand engagement. Some are completely closed to customers, focused on helping employees and the community while others are offering deals that allow people to purchase products and services while also serving those on the front lines of the pandemic.

Use the Right Platforms

With people staying indoors, billboards and flyers are not going to be the best way to communicate with customers. Figuring out the right mediums for your brand can make your strategy worthwhile.

The obvious route is digital. Data from the report shows web browsing is up by 70%, TV viewing up by 63%, and social media use is also on the rise by 61%. Advertising on any of these platforms can help you effectively inform customers of your plans to weather through the storm.

two people setting a digital platform

Despite the circumstances, some longtime marketing tactics are still worth using when creating your ad. Keep your ad content short, yet compelling. Include visuals like photos or a short video to keep your viewers’ attention. You can successfully create a compelling ad with minimal and powerful content.

Utilize Existing Assets

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with each new ad. You can repurpose existing content and assets to drive engagement with your audience. Additionally, reusing content in this way reduces overall cost and workload on your end.

One of the most powerful assets available to any business are its reviews. Using feedback from first- and third-party review sites is a valuable resource because of the power of customer reviews. Statistics show that 92% of consumers use online reviews as a guide for their ordinary purchases. It’s powerful social proof that is more compelling than any new tagline because it’s a first-hand experience of your product or service from real people.

a man standing next to online assets

That doesn’t mean that you can’t use additional assets to drive your message home. Give people a glimpse of what you’re doing during this time and use reviews to show why you’re a brand to be trusted now and in the future. Keep this question in mind as you create your ad: how can my brand be useful during this time?

Advertising the Right Way

In a way, businesses correctly using ads in turbulent times provide some sort of normalcy in spite of the changing landscape. It tells customers that your business will endure and will continue to be of service when things settle down, but it’s important to convey the right message and tone when advertising now.

Don’t just blatantly promote your product. Err on the side of caution and add some humanity to your content. Be transparent and communicate openly to your audience. Use different methods, including advertising, to stay open to your consumers, even if they can’t physically visit your business. The things you say and do now will be remembered when everyone returns to their normal routine.

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