“Phase 3” has been the buzzword of the season, and as Singapore prepares to enter the final stage of reopening, brands and businesses are gearing up to recover the losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the vaccine still underway and the high likelihood of Phase 3 lasting a year or so, it’s important to stay informed on the latest trends and changes that will affect the way we conduct marketing during this crucial period.
During the early stages of the pandemic, many countries went into lockdown and people mostly stayed indoors. This crippled the effectiveness of out-of-home (OOH) advertisements and prompted advertisers to switch to digital marketing platforms for brands that still had the means to advertise during the crisis. A good example is American fashion house Michael Kors who launched a new range of customizable handbags in China earlier this year. Rather than film a standard commercial video, they took full advantage of the lockdown and released a series of videos and live streams to promote their products, which were accompanied by a digital pop-up experience that gives users personalised handbag recommendations from in-house designers.
You don’t have to go all out like Michael Kors – digital marketing can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. A simple video, single image, or group of images is all you need to start advertising online. Take this banner ad from skincare company Primally Pure for example, which has a simple, clean-looking image alongside a short copy and call to action (CTA).
Once you’ve got your ad creative, the next step is media buying, which refers to the process of acquiring real estate or inventory where advertisements may be placed. In the age of digital marketing, this has become a fairly straightforward process, with platforms like Facebook Ads (Facebook/Instagram), Google Ads (Search Engine Marketing/YouTube) and TikTok having an intuitive user interface (UI) designs and making use of programmatic advertising to automate bidding for ads and generate real-time reports – making the overall experience a lot less painful for advertisers.
Beyond Facebook Ads and Google Ads, email marketing remains a popular choice for advertisers and is a great way to boost your digital presence. Email ads are a great way for companies to keep customers informed on the latest updates, promotions and product launches – and it’s a popular choice amongst big brands like Uber, Starbucks and Airbnb.
Grabbing the attention of your audience is just the first step – you’ll need a strong message to generate interest in what is being advertised (read more on AIDCA principle here). These days, there is more pressure on brands to be socially responsible and support a good cause, especially from younger audiences like millennials and Gen Zs. According to Sanja Komljenovic, CEO of creative agency ONA Creative, “consumers want to know their money is going toward companies that are doing the right thing, even when it is the hard thing to do”.
According to a study conducted by Unruly, ads that focused less on themselves and more on the communities/groups affected by COVID-19 tended to perform better and top global charts. Take this video ad by Gov.sg for example, which features a montage of Singaporean frontline workers at work, accompanied by a remake of an old National Day Parade song “Together” with updated lyrics conveying a positive message on overcoming the crisis. The video was well received with over 400,000 views, nearly 20,000 likes, and many positive comments.
Even if you aren’t a government organisation, there are other ways to give back to the community. Many fashion and clothing companies like Adidas and Origin USA started producing and donating face masks at the start of the outbreak to keep up the rising demand.
The important thing to note here is that there is no one-size-fits-all messaging. Advertisers have to get creative and strike the right balance in tone in order to adequately convey your brand’s message across to consumers. During Phase 3, restrictions are going to be lifted considerably – but your brand may benefit from acknowledging the damages caused by the pandemic and reinforcing that with a positive message of a brighter future (read: Trendjacking Dos and Dont’s).
Lastly, if you haven’t jumped onto the eCommerce bandwagon, now’s the time to do so. According to the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, Asian markets saw a 32% increase in online shopping activities and a 42% increase in home streaming. COVID-19 has fuelled an eCommerce surge in Singapore, with stiff competition between all the major players – including US giant Amazon, who already has several offices open in Singapore.
Even though Phase 3 reopening is just around the corner, eCommerce has been steadily growing over the past few years, and is not expected to go anywhere anytime soon. Consumers worldwide have cultivated online spending habits during the lockdown, which are unlikely to disappear even after the pandemic is over.
These are uncertain but exciting times for brands and businesses, so it’s important to get ahead while you can. Here at Big 3 Media, we have a suite of services to market your business during these challenging times:
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