Posted on: Jun 17, 2020

Discovering new business opportunities in the COVID-19 Times

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brand territory is nothing but the promise a brand makes to its customers and what it stands for in their eyes. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing major disruptions for marketeers, making brands foray into new territories or take a step back. Let’s have a look at some brands that are working against the clock in order to adapt their brand territory to this new reality:

 KFC is one of the first companies to come up with a coronavirus-centric campaign. Keeping in mind the sensitivity around the COVID-19 crisis, it has put a hold on a series of ads spotlighting its highly satisfying and iconic finger-lick. After all, it wouldn’t be the best thing to encourage people to lick their fingers in times when maintaining the highest level of hand hygiene has become critical. Drawing from the example set by KFC, a number of brands are following suit and revising their brand territory to suit the topicality of the current environment. Considering coronavirus spreads with person-to-person contact, American chocolate manufacturer, Hershey’s is pulling the plug on its ads depicting hugs & handshakes and replacing them with those where the focus is on their chocolate bars rather than human interaction.

 On the other hand, there are brands like Ferragamo that are seen exploring unchartered territories to survive the current environment. With its shuttered stores making things particularly hard for the luxury brand, it is working hard to catch up in e-commerce as it shifts sales to online stores, but with dismal current numbers. However, with big plans to uses innovation as its steering force, Ferragamo is aiming to strengthen its digital presence and amp up sales through the use of augmented reality and virtual reality – really the only ways for fashion brands to showcase designer collections in these strange times. The fashion world is virtually on the brink of a collapse because of store closures of big fashion houses. The Milan Fashion Week held in February, 2020 was the last to see the light of the stage and may we say, it was a massive risk considering the mix of international crowd it witnessed coupled with the fact that February marked the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of countries across the globe.

Unsurprisingly, renowned international fashion show, London Fashion Week (LFW) has now committed to holding a digital show this year. While the major fashion weeks in prominent cities across the globe haven’t followed suit so far, the way 2020 is shaping up, it’s only a matter of time before they do too. As far as fashion influencers are concerned, the pandemic is already causing them to consider an overhaul of their social media accounts, leaving them grappling with how their accounts should look. The infamous curated feed associated with Instagram might just disappear as fashion influencers are left with no resources to conduct curated shoots anymore. Many influencers posts have already started to reflect this new reality – perhaps it’s a good thing as it will force them to be more creative while showcasing a more real side to their lives and have more honest conversations. As for their association with brands, it will go on as usual. Although, fashion brands might just move on from showcasing going-out clothes to more comfortable relaxed clothing.

The perfect example of a brand leveraging a marketing campaign to stay relevant to the current scenario by reinventing its motto is Dove. Unilever’s personal care brand recently came out with a beautiful campaign around “real beauty”, but this time it focused on the beauty of courage. The campaign honored frontline healthcare workers across the world who are leading the fight against COVID-19, with faces marked by the marks of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) for long hours.

For a brand to re-map its territory is a challenge at any time, but especially so in these uncertain times when brands are functioning at partial team strength and disintegrated workforces are becoming the new normal. Having said that, this is what distinguishes a tone-deaf brand from one that adapts to the times. Undoubtedly, it takes a brave brand to step out of their cushy comfort zone and seek out unexplored opportunities, be it in order to stay relevant or to add to their target audience.

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