Marketing your way through a crisis

Sarah Hitchings, sales and marketing director of The Residence Collection, explains why it’s never been so important to invest in your brand.

During times of economic and political uncertainties the statistics clearly show that those who invest in their marketing often come out in a better position in terms of new business, sales and overall brand awareness.

But, as I write this, we are in the middle of an unprecedented, global pandemic in the form of the coronavirus Covid-19.

Global confirmed cases increase on a daily basis, and battleplans have been drawn up and implemented by the government. But what of the way in which we live our daily lives? All those non-key workers are generally housebound, with some on full pay and others furloughed, while children across the UK are enjoyed Easter and had their first experience of home schooling.

The use of Zoom or Microsoft Teams are keeping business management professionals in constant with each other, while manufacturing across our industry has almost completely stopped. So, away from the digital interaction with colleagues, what else are people doing to fill their lives, given for most people that there is no need to commute to work and fewer meetings to attend?

Social media is keeping people in contact with each other, with households across the UK using streaming video, WhatsApp groups and Houseparty apps among other platforms.

Beyond this, consumers are absorbing more information than ever before, and this includes looking at home improvements. Indeed, just a matter of days before the government implemented the lockdown, B&Q stores across the UK experienced a huge surge in demand, as consumers looked to buy paint and other DIY materials, on the basis that they would have several weeks at home to get jobs done.

Through our social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz, we’ve experienced a huge surge in terms of interactions with consumers. While our business, and that of our manufacturing and installer partners, is in temporary hibernation, the hope is that these tentative enquiries could become nurtured into firm orders in the weeks and months after we all resume normality.

But, for the moment, we’re still highly visible from a brand perspective on social media, through trade advertising and with a carefully orchestrated PR campaign. While our activity on Twitter and LinkedIn has increased slightly it’s the other platforms of Instagram and Facebook that have generated considerable additional interaction with style-savvy homeowners.

There has also been increased adoption of Pinterest as consumers look to create mood boards for their respective homes, given the fact that the vast majority of the population is house bound. When we do return to normality, we will have to consider how soon it will be before consumer confidence returns, bearing in mind that many people may well delay holidays, leaving savings untouched.

We believe that if you want to come out of any social, economic or political crisis in the best business shape possible, then effective and visible marketing is a must. It’s also been interesting to see that many of the industry media channels have enjoyed a notable spike in activity in terms of web traffic, digital media downloads and e-mail opening statistics.

So, we are all absorbing more online information than ever before whether we are entrenched in the trade or as consumers looking to invest further in our respective homes. But the fact is that marketing visibility has never been so important given the current predicament and so that’s why we’re continuing to invest in our brand for the long-term.

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