Are you ready for the world’s greatest digital revolution?

If we ask you to describe the year 2020 in a few words, what will be your answer? There are great chances that your answer will revolve around ‘coronavirus’ or ‘pandemic’ or ‘lockdown’. However, what we forget to realize is the fact that this single year has made a significant impact not only in our current lives. But a careful inspection shows that this severe effect and a larger digital lifestyle is here to stay. 

Social distancing or lockdown imposed an almost ban on mobility. This was very new for every social being who is also a part of a large interdependent society. But humans have been taught to find the solution for every obstacle that comes in their way. Consequently, the digital world became a new reality.

Change in consumer behaviour

The pandemic led to severe economic loss. However, falling income did not mean an absolute loss for the retail sector. People rather switched to buying essentials like groceries. Luxury services and goods saw a decrease in their sales. Fitness emerged as another domain where people invested in. Apart from Facebook-owned applications, video calling apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams gained popularity. 

Mckinsey & Co. published a report on the impact of COVID-19 on consumer sentiment and behaviour. The report was prepared after conducting weekly, bi-weekly and monthly surveys in 12 countries, and showed that 91% of Indians changed their shopping behaviour as a result of the global crisis. 

In order to avoid crowded places, urban consumers working from home turned to the online medium for their shopping needs. Another interesting revelation from the report highlighted a 10 per cent growth in online shopping globally. This change extends across various categories.

Pandemic or Digital Revolution?

According to eMarketer data, eCommerce sales in the US in 2020 were to grow by 32.4%. While brick-and-mortar stores were expected to decline by 3.2%.

This shows how shopping has evolved as a concept. It has elevated from an activity that requires a customer to go out to a ‘shop’. Moreover, experts predict that this shift to eCommerce will continue post-pandemic, even when mortar stores open.

Digital marketing in the pandemic

Over the course of history, commerce has evolved significantly. It has progressed from being a barter system to one that is centered around customers. In short, commerce has become customer-centric and demand from the consumer’s end has shaped production. 

In the market today, there are many substitutes available for a customer and competitors for a company. This has made marketing an additional necessity. With the change in consumer behaviour, these traditional marketing trends have also changed. 

A shift from physical to digital commerce requires a stronger emphasis for marketing through the digital sphere. Responding to this need, some digital marketing strategies gained considerable popularity this year.

Connecting and creating with empathy

The pandemic emerged as a difficult time for everyone. Professional as well as private life became a blunder for a large proportion of the population. Businesses, individuals, and communities endured severe hardships. However, many brands responded with empathy during this crisis. They used their business or influence to do something for the greater good. 

Clothing manufacturers created and distributed masks to the public. They switched to catering to the demand and need of the public. While some distilleries started producing hand sanitizer because of its widespread shortage. 

On the digital medium, brands created a new type of content. They offered free tutorials and trails. Additionally, entertaining and engaging content entertained the isolated masses. These efforts helped in spreading positivity in the time of panic and distress. Most importantly, customers connected and engaged more closely with these brands in the process. 

Updating content of old times

Coronavirus pandemic redefined life. This was very different from what everyone was used to living so far. In a period when everyone is isolated, wouldn’t seeing crowded gatherings seem absurd? The stress on social distancing made crowds a danger sign or a threat in simpler words. Hence, crowds anywhere were not desirable. 

In a short span of time, our lives have changed which would make social gatherings and crowds not relevant. The core of the content is based on its relevance to the audience. As a result, brands had to change their content and align it with the new pandemic-inspired lifestyle changes of its customers. 

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, KFC, the fast-food chain aired advertisements showing people finishing their while licking their fingers clean. This was not suitable in the hygiene conscious environment of the new virus. Consequently, it was pulled off the web.

Pandemic or Digital Revolution?

Then the new advertisement focused on living in the new reality of social distancing and hyper-handwashing.

Investing in the future

Travel sector was a booming economic area that was harshly impacted with the pandemic. The closing of international borders led to the loss of those in business. Traveling remained limited to essential workers and industries. However, many brands shifted their efforts to creating engaging content.

The increase in production meant expanding the social media presence with travel blogs, photo contests, influencer marketing, etc. This created a buzz for the brand in a time when the industry was at its lowest. Then the efforts of travel companies served as a reminder. This means despite lower demand, the marketing efforts should never reduce. Instead, there should be a stronger emphasis on the same to generate greater demand in future. In short, building and maintaining a relationship with customers should be a brand’s priority.

Exploring other strategies 

With a period that is based on technology, digital marketers took the tool a step ahead with experiential marketing. More and more brands are investing in augmented and virtual reality, gamification to keep the customer’s attention. Additionally, paid advertising also emerged as a good option. However, the pandemic proved that content always remains the true king. 

One can’t deny that in the wake of an economic crisis, digital marketing served as a boon. It helped in running businesses and meeting needs. Moreover, it built customer relations and interaction with the community more effectively. It is in this wake, we need to realize that we are just entering history. The pandemic has just set up the stage for a digital revolution. This is the beginning of a digital planet.

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Why should purpose-driven marketing be every company’s mantra?

Imagine you are walking across an aisle with breakfast cereals displayed from different brands. The price of each box is almost the same. However, one brand promises to donate a certain amount of their profit to a social cause like animal welfare or sustainable development. So which box will end up in your shopping cart? This is the base of purpose-driven marketing.

Every customer in the market today is also an aware human being. In recent decades, there has been a growing consciousness among the masses regarding the need to be a more vocal and active citizen in the community. People want to adopt engaging roles while being a part of something bigger.

Knowing your customer

Everyone today is driven to connect, grow and ultimately make a significant impact in society. The fact that every customer would pick a cereal brand that supports a good cause defines a modern customer’s values. As a result, companies need to understand the larger meaning of the word ‘customer’.

They are not mere buyers but also people who are passionate about causes and aware of their social responsibility. Hence, this new customer in the market demands a new approach from brands. In this modern social scenario, purpose-driven marketing comes to rescue!

Understanding purpose-driven marketing

Purpose-driven marketing is a type of marketing that ensures that a brand connects with its audience. It supports the causes that they both believe in. It is usually a long term strategy that involves aligning a brand’s message with the customer’s belief. Consequently, a customer will support that brand as they share a common purpose and aim towards a greater good.

The cause may not be very specific and this type of marketing can be more aspirational but the core of the business then focuses on giving back to society. Additionally, it enables constructing a narrative for your brand. However, what one also does in this process is that they create a personal connection with those on the other end, i.e. the customers.

Developing consumer loyalty

It breaks down the wall between the company and the customer. Following this, the resulting image is that of a people’s brand rather than a firm which only serves as a profit-making machine. The consumers then develop loyalty toward such brands as it grants them the power to bring a change only by shifting their purchasing power. However, if you think that purpose-driven marketing can only create a good brand image then one must understand the entire process that follows realigning your company with a purpose.

Statistics have revealed the real power of purpose-driven marketing and the idea behind it.

Firstly, 88% of consumers want to know the real impact of the brands they are supporting. Secondly, 70% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand which supports a good cause to their known circle. Most importantly, 63% of global consumers prefer purchasing products and services from purpose-driven brands rather than their counterparts.

Marketing that matters

The authenticity of these statistics and success of brands can be easily checked if you look at the most successful brands around you. For instance, Adidas’s purpose-driven marketing efforts focused on the ocean plastic epidemic. The brand produced a video which takes a viewer on a journey where they first take a deep dive and find how the plastics collected in oceans severely affect their ecosystem.

Adidas effectively realigned the cause to their brand. They turned the problem into a solution with their new range of high-performance sportswear made out of plastic.

The lesson derived from Adidas’s story is that the supporting cause becomes a crucial part of your brand narrative. Consequently, it determines the people who will support, buy and invest in their brand and business.

Similarly, Dove elevated from being just a soap manufacturer to an authentic brand with its #speakbeautiful movement.

Portraying beauty as more than something related to superficial appearance, the campaign centered on improving the self-esteem of its customers, mostly women.

In this case, Dove became a credible brand while creating an intimate connection with its consumers. This honesty lies in the core values of purpose-based marketing. Consequently, customers appreciate such responsible brands. It is evident from the fact that purpose-driven companies grow three-times faster than their competitors. This proves that this type of marketing always works.

Optimising purpose-driven content marketing

Purpose-driven content marketing is an excellent technique to include in your marketing strategy. This type of content differs from any regular content in its larger aim. The marketing materials remain the same such as blogs, social media posts, videos, etc. But the definition of content marketing is changed as they are not ‘sales-y’. Rather they provide the consumers with a solution with their products and services.

The designed content also distributes certain noble values. The relevance of content is also taken care of. In this manner, the content attracts a larger audience. Additionally, the motive is to refrain from being spammy. The basic idea behind this is to make the audience, who are the potential customer, to complete an action after consuming the content. In simpler terms, this action is availing the services or purchasing the product from a particular brand.

Transforming the brand narrative

Purpose-driven content marketing acts as a strategy that is better planned and tailored to the special needs of a brand’s target customers. It creates a bond over common interests. The brand then becomes an example and flagbearer for a good cause. On the contrary, it may educate the audience who will feel happy to be connected to the brand. Hence, a brand narrative builds strong loyalty among the customer base.

Every company knows the value of a loyal customer group. But in a digitised world, the value of such a base has significantly increased. But how?

With a brand narrative at heart, the potential customers are immediately transformed into enthusiastic brand ambassadors. This means that the audience shares the purpose-driven content multiplies the reach of the brand. In conclusion, purpose-driven content marketing forms a unique brand identity from any other competitors in the market.

And, this is what we do at Shaktiki – pave your success story!

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