• Clayton Smith

How the biggest brands in the world are marketing during Covid-19

Updated: Apr 23

I'll start off with an apology; it's definitely been too long since my last article. But it's been a tad crazy what with the Dixie Chicks announcing a new album and a new Star Trek series taking up all my time.


I've also been hard at work on The Marketer podcast. Carma and I have eight stellar episodes in the tank, check it out here.


We also held a live Grill The Marketer webinar where we interviewed crisis marketing experts, check that out here.


Enough chit chat, let's talk marketing.


Big Brands Get Real

So what have the biggest brands in the world been doing with those colossal marketing budgets during this strangest of times? They are getting real. You gotta hope they are stepping up and helping the health workers and small businesses and charities, but we'll stick to their marketing today.


I have no doubt that the companies we are looking at have some of the most badass marketers in the world on the payroll, directly or indirectly, and there's lessons to be learnt.


Let's line them up and have a look side by side.


Google




Nike



Apple



Colgate



HBF



Samsung



McDonalds



Not such a big fan of this one to be honest, bit self centred compared to the others?



What is happening here?

The formula is clear - real talk, real situations, real people getting through this crisis. And you know what's crazy? That's exactly what we all want to see. We want to see ourselves.


This is always a good marketing strategy. But it's also great for the community at the same time. People need all the positivity and hope that can be crammed in at the moment.


They are also communicating the community health advice, like physical distancing messages.


And I've only just realised this. Brands are free to do what the news can't do. Brands are free to do what the tv shows and movies and cannot do. Brands can tell stories, at scale and at speed. In fact that's what marketers do best, when they are marketing best.


I think the big brands are doing what they always do.


They are building a BRAND.


There is opportunity, for some.

Checkout this article in Ad Age about the world's largest advertiser Proctor & Gamble, who hit their sales targets in Q3 and increased their marketing spend by $320 million.




The Song Remains The Same

For many, this is a devastating time. The looming spectre of a deadly disease combined with unemployment, economic carnage and global lockdowns has been catastrophic. If your work or business has been smashed by this virus, my heart goes out to you and your loved ones. Hopefully there is a better situation at the end of this mess for you.


For those lucky enough to have kept jobs and businesses afloat during this time, there is opportunity. I've only just started to see through this mess myself to be honest.


From a marketing point of view, the song remains the same. The chance to build relationships with your audience is the same as ever. Content marketing is having a real moment now, and there is some great content being created.


What I've found interesting is that most of this great content would have worked pre-pandemic. Why is that we haven't taken these opportunities before?


Again, the opportunity for companies and businesses is right there, same as it was before, to build and audience and become the authority in a space. Say something important. Do something helpful. Connect.


And keep on rockin,

Clay