Why the Covid-19 pandemic means you should be re-focusing advertising strategies

Joshua Barr

Joshua Barr

Photo Credit: Evening Standard

It’s no secret that the outbreak of Covid-19 is going to affect almost every aspect of lives and the timescales of the disruption are currently incomprehensible. The way we interact with each other and our buying behaviours have already shifted massively and having to make more considered choices about where we go and whether it is necessary to do so, is only going to increase.

The effects Covid-19 is having on our personal lives, means that businesses are going to have to adapt to quick changes in operational strategies and it’s important that marketing strategies align with this too. Before we delve into how refocusing offline strategies could support businesses during this difficult time, it’s important that we acknowledge that for some businesses in niche non-essential sectors, there might simply be no quick fix for the drop-in demand. For this reason, we’re focusing on public sector, B2Cs and B2Bs whose products or services are essential or who can operate undisrupted throughout an aggressive social distancing strategy.

Browsing habits and peak times of the day have changed.

We’re now at the point where most people who can do so are working from or staying at home, which brings challenges to businesses from an employee perspective but opportunity also lies here from a digital and prospect perspective.

It’s expected that domestic Internet services are going to have up to 10x the usual daily demand – that’s a lot of browsing and a lot more daily opportunities to display online adverts.

Most of the increase of domestic Internet service demand is predominantly people working from home and as the distancing strategy goes on, more procrastination browsing will ensue. It’s likely that workloads will deplete for home workers, as non-essential operations are suspended, so a mix of commercial and personal based browsing habits for longer periods of the day, are likely to be incurred.

Cancelling outdoor media advertising is the only logical thing to do!

We know this sounds drastic but we’re seeing clients of all shapes and sizes pulling outdoor advertising space and it really is the only logical thing to do. London and other cities have been compared to Ghost Towns over the last couple of weeks and those Piccadilly Circus digital screen adverts aren’t cheap. As the social distancing strategy tightens, the audience for outdoor adverts will continue to deplete what is already a very small number of people, on a daily basis. 

Replace your outdoor advertising strategy with a virtual one.

As we’ve covered, there’s next to no audience for outdoor advertising space at the moment but an increased demand for domestic Internet services. There’s only one solution to this shift – display advertising! If you’re not familiar with this type of advertising, it’s essentially those little image adverts as you are browsing the web. Some of these adverts will be shown because you have previously been on their website (for increased engagement), others will show because they’ve targeted you as a demographic, whether by age, gender, locations or many other various targeting methods, to spark your interest.

One of our clients who advertises on buses, bus stops, bill boards and other outdoor advertising space, has this week pulled all these adverts, to focus on digital. The great thing is, the cost implications are that realistically it’s probably going to be cheaper, more engaging and seen and read far more times in a given day.

Better yet, here at Browndog we’ve been able to repurpose those outdoor adverts for the online space, rather than going back to the drawing board entirely.

Outdoor advertising is a ‘spray and pray’ tactic, i.e. you show to 1000s of people and hope that some of them are interested. With display advertising however, you only show to the people that count the most and you only pay for that advert when someone clicks on it (excluding campaign build & design fees, of course). As you can imagine, with a 10x increase in domestic browsing, this highly targeted tactic is going to deliver the exposure you need, throughout this difficult time and drought in offline audiences.

If you are adapting your operation to alleviate the strain on the Covid-19 developments, make sure your customers and suppliers know about it!

We’ve all seen some really great action and initiatives from the likes of Morrisons, Waitrose, Greggs, McDonald’s and Tesco in light of the pandemic and they’ve all been great at shouting from the virtual rooftops about it! Companies like Greggs have set-up delivery services for self-isolators and other companies have streamlined services to stop the spread, whilst still operating at full capacity. Morrisons have even announced that they are paying invoices early for their small business suppliers, to alleviate cash flow issues!

We know it’s not just the Blue Chip companies who are making massive changes to support the community, or simply stay operational, but you need to let customers and prospects know what measures you are taking, so they can make an enquiry or purchase from you, with the confidence that you can deliver.

Our tip for this would be to put a boosted social media strategy in place, to communicate daily to prospects and customers that you are fully operational, can deliver as they would expect and that you’re going the extra mile to ensure strict safety standards. This type of strategy can be supported by a display advertising strategy as above, ensuring consistent messaging across the web at every touch-point. In addition to this, we’d also recommend that if you are already using Paid Search as a strategy, then ad messaging should include info that you are still running as normal, giving the consumer some confidence to click!

If your focus is usually offline, then make sure you can be found online!

If you are not already using paid search or display advertising as a strategy, then now could be the time to think about it. Consumers who may normally opt for a bricks and mortar experience are now likely to be forced to browse, purchase and take home delivery of products and services, so make sure you are there too. It’s also worth noting that super-market demand for household essentials is unprecedented, so searches and demand for even the most mundane products are going through the roof online! On average, there are 25,000 combined online searches per/month within the UK for “toilet roll” and “nappies”, compared with this January and February, both of which gained 50,000 searches each for the same phrases – that’s a 50% increase in online demand for these products.

Even some non-essential e-commerce sales are soaring!

Even some of our clients in non-essential markets are seeing increased online sales, despite the pandemic. One of these clients is FWDirect, a niche supplier of soundproofing products to both domestic and commercial markets. Whilst their enquiries for commercial projects have depleted, their domestic orders have increased massively. It shows that whilst non-essential, if people are going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, then those little things they often put off become more of a bug-bear and priority – especially in this instance, when the next-door neighbour might be blasting out their ‘Coronavirus Self Isolation Bangers’ playlist on Spotify!

Make sure you are seen and found where your customers expect you to be.

Ultimately what this pandemic means for small and large businesses alike, is a massive shift in how, when and where people purchase goods and services. This is likely to last and grow even more over the coming months, so now is the time to prepare and make sure you can be found, are communicating regularly and offer a robust service online.

The coming months are going to be one of the biggest challenges businesses have faced since WWII, the only difference is, we now have the facility to carry on with our daily lives from home to a huge extent. Offline channels are going to continue to deplete over the coming months, so it’s never been more critical to re-allocate offline spend into a comprehensive and holistic digital strategy, where the most opportunity for stability and potential growth will lie for the most part of this year.

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a call to discuss how Browndog Agency can support you throughout these difficult economic times, then please arrange a free no-obligation consultation today!

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How much does a good website cost to build?

  • A brochure site (a place to share information about your products or services) will cost between £6,000-£12,000 depending on the volume of pages, functional elements and any bespoke design requests you may have.
  • An ecommerce website (a place where you can sell your products or services and visitors can complete their transaction online) will cost from £10,000.
  • If you’re looking for completely bespoke design or just a website refresh, we’ll be happy to chat with you and provide a quote for your requirements.

We’ve developed over 200 websites. You can look at our catalogue of work here and chat with our clients if you’d like to get a feel for what it’s like to work with our team before we become partners in your project.

When you work with us, you’ll get that perfect combination of great design and technical development from our whole team, not just one person.

How long does it take to build a website?

Before we start any work, we’ll share a project plan which will include deadlines for providing content, and we’ll keep you updated if the expected times change.

Writing keyword-rich copy will keep visitors on your website and encourage them to work with you. If writing isn’t for you or you just don’t have time, we can produce a content plan on your behalf.

Why you need a website

Most customers will expect you to have a website and may question your legitimacy as a business if they can’t find you online. When a potential customer does find you, what should their first impression be? You want them to be confident when buying from you and to have a good feeling about your brand.

If growing your business is a goal, then having a website is a great place to gain leads. Using the right mix of keywords and a thorough digital marketing plan, you can become good friends with Google! Google will play a significant role in helping your customers find you online and giving you a positive return on investment for the cost of your website and online strategy.

Even the most basic of websites should serve as an informative tool to answer frequently asked customer questions and offer your first port of call for customer service. Your opening times, address and latest news or offers should be easy to find. Ultimately, the better your website is, the easier it will be to find, and a great website will help you to reach more customers.

Being online helps you to reach a much bigger pool of customers than a bricks and mortar store. Your website can be the key to extended success, with no limits on the scope of your customer geography other than your product/service capabilities.

Working with an agency like Browndog will give you a technically sound, fresh and functional website which is responsively designed, and provides consistent brand messaging for your customers. We’ll also take the guess work out of your online strategy and make sure your website is targeting the right customer segments to increase sales opportunities and raise brand awareness.

How much does it cost?

  • A marketing campaign animation or company/product introduction between 90-120 seconds in length will cost between £2,500 and £3,000. This will depend on the length of the video, the content, and any additional options such as a voice over or music. Don’t worry, we can guide you through best practice and find a plan that fits for you.
  • If you’d like us to produce a logo ident or gif animations for you to use on social media and in smaller campaigns, you can expect to pay between £250-£300. This will be a much smaller brief and will take less time than a campaign animation.
  • We’re more than happy to put together a bespoke package for you to include multiple campaign videos, logo idents, voice overs and photography or videography as needed. We do it all!

You can look at our catalogue of work here and chat with our clients if you’d like to get a feel for what it’s like to work with our team before we become partners in your project. 

How long does it take to produce an animation?

But here’s the kind of time you can expect your animation to take:

  • Marketing campaign animations – this will usually take us about three weeks to prepare. We like to allow a week for content and styling, followed by storyboarding and revisions. Finally, we’ll take another week to animate your work. These things are a work of art, you can’t rush them (and we won’t).
  • Logo idents, gifs and short animations – we estimate that this will take up to two weeks.

Are you ready to get started? Send us your brief today or give us a call to talk through your ideas. We’re a friendly bunch!*

*If you visit us, our office dogs may take part in your meeting.

What kind of animations can we help with?

Ideally, your marketing strategy will include a range of media content to achieve the greatest engagement and response from your audience.

We can help with animations and videos that include company and product introductions, as well as content for specific marketing campaigns. These types of animations can showcase who you are, and what you have to offer. Plus, they are an exciting way to launch a new product or service and get your customers on board.

When you work with us on your branding, why not include a logo ident to add that extra bit of personality to your business and content, setting you apart from your competitors.

Another growing area for animated content is social media and your website. We produce gifs, short video clips and motion graphics for use on web pages and in social posts. This is a great way to captivate the viewers’ attention, share your brand values and advertise your latest campaign or event.

Finally, when you work with us on your website, we highly recommend adding a range of graphics, animations and videos to keep visitors on your site and share your messaging in captivating ways. We’ve provided many website banners and short looping animations for our clients.

We will guide you through each of your animation journey, from assessing the content that will work best for you, to how long your animated content should be and where it should be placed.

Why is animation an important element of your content strategy?

Not only is it effective but using animation can be a cost-saving way to grab the attention of your audience and keep them looking at your content for longer. It’s considerably cheaper than producing recorded video footage because it can be easily edited and updated when needed.

Animation is the fastest growing type of content created by marketers for use on websites and social media, so if you’re not doing it yet, now is the time to start…

We understand that sometimes it can be difficult to explain complex ideas, products or services in text form or with images. That’s why many of our clients work with us to produce animations that take the information off the page and jump out at the audience.

Most importantly, animation has been proven to boost conversion rates on your website. Users are significantly more engaged and more likely to spend longer on your site or complete an action, such as filling in a contact form.

How will animation help my marketing strategy?

Animation is a powerful marketing tool and a great way to show some personality in your brand, making you more memorable (think: the Aldi carrot or the Netflix Tudum).

One of the great benefits of animation is that it can help you to share a lot of information in just a few seconds, because sometimes that’s all the time you have to attract a user’s attention.