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City of London Central London

What is the right way to approach crisis marketing?

02 Jun 2020

IoD marketing webinar

‘Think the attendees would have stayed on for another hour – well done!’ – Gina Miller

View webinar recording

On the 26th May the Institute of Director’s presented a webinar with a panel of esteemed industry leaders to discuss. ‘Marketing Your Way Out of a Crisis and Into Tomorrow’s World’. Co-produced and hosted by myself, Vanessa Dal Busco and Jeremy Duncan, Marketing & PR Ambassadors for Central and City of London IoD respectively, we were joined by THE Gina Miller, Claudia Struzzo of Kingfisher and IKEA fame, Luke Southern of Playstation / Sony and now MD of DRUM, and Chloe Pierre of thy.self and formerly ASOS, M&S, Nike and other major brands.

As the Marketing and PR Ambassador for IoD Central London I was delighted that we were able to deliver world class panellists to IoD members. When Jeremy Duncan, my cohort at IoD City, proposed the format, we wanted to be able to bring to light the fact that the companies that cope best with a crisis are the ones who market their way through it; and we wanted to speak to the heart of members’ concerns to cut through the many conflicting messages and information overload, regarding crisis marketing. I found the speakers and was incredibly lucky they said ‘yes’, and the rest is history! The topic was well received amongst IoD members and non-members alike and at >500 registrations, we could not have wished for more interest.

‘Excellent insight. Great panel.’ – attendee

‘That was great, thank you to everyone who contributed. The hour has flown by! Very insightful and helpful. Very grateful.’ – attendee

We covered 3 main questions:

  1. Giving your brand a health check
  2. Strategy for survival and growth
  3. Creativity during lockdown

Here’s a few insights I’d like to share with you, at this time of uncertainty and speculation over what to do about Marketing During a Crisis.
The initial poll asked attendees for their main marketing challenges at this time with most respondents seeing client acquisition as their biggest challenge.

So what is the right way to approach crisis marketing?
Gina Miller’s focus on ethical behaviour, profit for purpose and ‘brands for good’ led her to make her first point on the importance of checking in with your audience: before you start, what state are they in? What is keeping them awake at night? Only after understanding this, can you communicate effectively. Gina went on to state that creativity comes from authenticity – that intangible concept of being who you are.

Claudia Struzzo focused on a brand’s long-term health and performance coming from reviewing its provenance: who you are and where you came from, tells a story about how you can go forward. The most memorable quote of the evening for me was Claudia’s, ‘Find out who you are, and be it like hell’!

Luke Southern brought the idea of listening to the fore – truly ‘getting’ your audience’s mission and values, and aligning yourself with those.

Chloe talked about the necessity of a shift in focus to wellness – Nike has always been passionate about athletes, now they have taken this to new level with ‘wellness athletes’ to promote mental health and wellbeing in this time of difficulty.

These are the key points I’ve taken relating to crisis marketing:

  • Localisation – perhaps a retreat for globalisation but more likely an expansion to focus on the here and now, first, with global brands as influencers
  • Creating a story – there will be new winners and losers, and the ones who can coherently tell a story about why, will engage audiences more effectively
  • Hearts and minds – yes to capitalism but bigger yes to humanisation
  • Digital has made us more human – using digital to our advantage to expand our reach and connect with larger audiences, even remotely
  • Out of great change, can come great opportunity
  • Adapting to a new reality can be frightening but we can look to a brighter future

The future of marketing may look quite different. We may have to consider a stronger personal dialogue with our audiences rather than a one to many approach.

The panel event was followed by networking in rooms of 6 where attendees could meet the panellists.

We received so much excellent feedback from attendees and panellists about the quality of content and speakers, and we look forward to announcing our next webinar in the series which will probably be in Q3, soon.

Stay safe and keep well,

Best wishes,
Vanessa Dal Busco
Marketing & PR Ambassador IoD Central London

View webinar recording

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