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Adapting To ‘New Normal’: How Brands Can Flourish During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic by Al Masaood Group’s Marwa Kaabour

By Marwa Kaabour, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communication, Al Masaood Group

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has brought forth a new reality so sudden and unexpected that it has left the global community reeling from its impact. Everyone has been affected, with every segment of society adapting to and innovating quickly for new ways to flourish under the present situation.

In the world of marketing and communications, brands seek to thrive by looking to consumers to offer them inspiration, encouragement, and support during these unprecedented times and amid the ever-increasing social challenges. Most of the messaging since the start of the pandemic has revolved around what we call a partnership spirit, which is not surprising and, if I may so, the right path to take during this period when lending a listening tone is a more apt strategy.  A listening tone requires brands to make a drastic shift in their tonality; one that boldly supports and effectively conveys this ever-important rallying call: “We are in this together.”

Besides inspiring messaging, internal communication has also taken a whole new dimension during the pandemic, in which it has become even more fundamental to organizational resiliency. Investing in internal communication is significant, for instance, at a time when many employees had understandably felt demotivated following the sudden shift to a remote-working arrangement. With their empathic internal communication and engagement, brands can ensure that their employees remain their most authentic brand ambassadors in these trying times.

Furthermore, during the COVID-19 outbreak, brands that have invested in digital avenues of sales, service and marketing early on are a lot more prepared than others in facing the current storm. They are well-positioned to survive and flourish amid the pandemic.

Across the Gulf region and the globe, we have been witnessing a spike in initiatives within the digital sphere accompanied by practical traditional marketing techniques to reach out to people whose movement has been limited following the implementation of safety and precautionary measures.

More than anything, several digital platforms have helped reinforce brand accessibility and address the current demand for product and service delivery that doesn’t compromise the safety and health of the consumers. Digital sales have also served as a remedy to hygiene concerns among customers who do not want physical transactions to protect themselves from contracting the virus.

For some, enhanced brand experiences, which are critical to value perception, have remained widely robust thanks to companies’ creative and innovative digital marketing approaches backed by a superior digital framework and infrastructure.

With that said, however, it should be underscored that a digital marketing strategy has to be supported by digital sales and a seamless digital experience or digital journey to prove effective. This means that marketers should put on their sales hats to ensure that innovative products and new ways of purchase are complementing their digital ads. It is also for this reason that many marketing specialists have been shifting their focus from digital marketing to a more holistic digital journey.

The landscape is evolving fast to adapt to the present situation. During these times, the role of digital marketing, in particular, and marketing and communications, in general, will evolve from raising awareness and creating interest to forging stronger ties with a brand’s community of stakeholders during and post-COVID-19.  This new role will help brands emerge better and more resilient from the global health situation.