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May 06, 2020

Survey reveals marketers don’t believe COVID-19 will transform marketing and branding

Bynder report shows how marketers are adjusting their plans in response to the new normal and managing remote work realities amidst the coronavirus pandemic

AMSTERDAM—May 6, 2020— New research from Bynder, the global leader in digital asset management (DAM), reveals that although marketers across industries are acutely aware of COVID-19’s lasting impact, many don’t anticipate it will have a transformative effect on marketing and branding efforts. The study shows that while marketers have taken steps to adjust their current plans by developing new messaging and content that are sensitive to the times, radical marketing pivots are not a widespread priority.

Marketing is in uncharted territory as the pandemic forces brands to navigate a new normal. Bynder conducted the study to better understand how organizations are approaching the radical changes brought about by COVID-19. The report uncovered that when it comes to the long-term impact of COVID-19, 13 percent believe that the pandemic will have a permanent impact on branding, while 17 percent feel optimistic that the effects are only short-term. Over half of those surveyed take a moderate approach; they believe COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their brand/marketing efforts, but it won’t be transformative. The results show most organizations want to avoid radical changes and rash decisions regarding their brand and content strategy, with 45 percent of those surveyed focused on “tweaking focus and messaging.”

Although marketing and branding professionals are still grappling with the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, many teams reported a smooth transition to remote work. 59 percent of those surveyed report that the need to work remotely has only had a “small impact” or “no impact at all” on team productivity. 46 percent of respondents feel “very prepared” for the challenges brought about by COVID-19, believing they have all the tools necessary to operate remotely. However, such a drastic change has prompted many to reassess their digital transformation efforts, with 42 percent of respondents seeing “room for improvement” when it comes to their tech stack.

Additional highlights from the research include:

  • 52% of those surveyed feel “somewhat concerned” about making missteps that could affect their brand image, while 27% are “very concerned”.
  • 1 in 2 brand professionals see the development of new messaging, content and campaigns in response to COVID-19 as their highest branding-related priority.
  • 36% of respondents have actually increased their output of marketing campaigns since the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The lack of knowledge sharing and content collaboration was rated as the biggest challenge for teams working remotely.
  • More than half of those surveyed feel that the need to work remotely has only had a “small impact” or “no impact at all” on team productivity.

“One month into the COVID-19 pandemic, this snapshot finds the creative and branding community transitioning relatively smoothly to the radically different work environment, with a focus on updating messaging and campaigns for the new market reality rather than completely reinventing their brands,” said Andrew Hally, Bynder’s CMO. “The professionalism, thoughtfulness and empathy we see makes me proud to be part of the marketing community.”

A full breakdown of the results can be found in Bynder’s 2020 State of Branding During COVID-19 Report. The report features insights from 301 global marketing and branding professionals including managers, directors, VPs, and CMOs across a variety of industries.