Industry research on the impact, priorities, and future plans of brands in the midst of COVID-19
A lot has changed since we released the 2020 edition of our State of Branding Report just two months ago. COVID-19 has transformed how we operate as brands, with many of the findings in our original report no longer fit for purpose. Now, brand professionals are wondering how to put their best foot forward in these times of “business-as-unusual”.
That’s why we recently created the State of Branding Report: COVID-19 Edition. Surveying 301 marketing and brand professionals, we wanted to get a better understanding of how organizations are dealing with the radical changes brought about by COVID-19.
By gathering industry-wide perspectives on how teams are dealing with the current crisis, we can all benefit from the findings—whether that’s recognizing common challenges, or providing reassurance on how to recalibrate brand strategies going forward.
Before delving into some of the key findings, we’d like to thank everyone who participated in the study. Your input will benefit not only the industry but also those hardest hit by the pandemic. Every survey completed means an extra donation to one of our client’s corona relief funds: Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief Project.
Check out the full report: The State of Branding Report: COVID-19 Edition
How has COVID-19 affected brand and marketing strategies?
Since the outbreak, one question on the minds of every brand professional has been: "How should we, as a brand, respond to the crisis?"
Our results imply most organizations are careful not to succumb to rash decisions, and instead are adopting a more cautious approach. 43% of those surveyed are “tweaking focus and messaging”, with just 17% believing that they have to “drastically change the way we do business”.
There has been a big shift toward being more human in everything marketers do. You have to scrutinize activities through the lens of how marketing can help rather than sell.
51% of respondents see the development of new messaging, content, and campaigns in direct response to COVID-19 as their highest branding-related priority right now—more important than ensuring existing messaging/content isn’t tone-deaf to the times (19%).
It's changing the dynamic of how our customers behave, which is making it important to pivot—but how much and for how long is more a guessing game than a science at the moment.
When it comes to the long-term impact of COVID-19 on brand/marketing efforts, 19% believe that the pandemic will have a permanent impact on branding, while 14% are more optimistic and feel that the effects are only short-term. However, the majority of those surveyed (55%) take a more moderate approach, believing that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on branding and marketing, but it won’t be transformative.
How has COVID-19 affected day-to-day working for the average brand professional?
The sudden shift to remote working in response to COVID-19 has raised many questions about productivity, team collaboration, and company culture. Will the “new normal” of digital workplaces become a mainstream fixture of working life after the pandemic?
After COVID-19, I think collaboration between people in organizations should improve and bring departments closer together than they were before.
Our results suggest most teams have transitioned to remote working more smoothly than many would assume, with more than half of those surveyed feeling that the need to work remotely has only had a “small impact” (38%) or “no impact at all” (20%) on team productivity.
I believe that in the long run, remote working will be much more widely accepted and offered with less resistance.
However, such a drastic change has prompted many to reassess their digital transformation efforts, with 47% of respondents seeing “room for improvement” when it comes to their tech stack. Interestingly, 40% feel “very prepared” for the challenges brought about by COVID-19, believing they have all the tools necessary to operate remotely.