Brands grow by increasing their physical and mental availability:

  • Physical availability - how easy it is to find and buy what the brand is selling

  • Mental availability - how easily the brand comes to mind when the consumer is in a buying situation

As we’re currently experiencing the most disruptive periods in living memory, it’s having markedly different effects on brands in different sectors (and even on brands in the same sector).

There are some who are doing fantastically well, for example folding bicycle company Brompton. At the other end of the spectrum are companies who sadly won’t re-emerge from the other side of lockdown, such as restaurant chain Chiquitos.

Back to the original point – increasing physical and mental availability is difficult when the whole country is in lockdown.

It’s understandable that some marketers have decided to shut up shop and turn off all communication channels, but this approach has to come with a warning.

Whilst it’s sensible to stop creating direct demand for products and services you can’t currently sell, it’s dangerous for brands to go completely silent right now.

Mental availability can’t be turned on and off like a tap, it needs to be nurtured over months and years, so you’re turning off one of the last ways to keep that mental availability alive.

So, if you’ve decided it’s right to keep up communications with consumers, how do you go about it?

Be sensitive

The first thing to bear in mind is that the situation is affecting different people in different ways.

The customer who joined your database as the hottest prospect ever might have taken a huge hit to their finances and be putting off all purchases altogether. Don’t assume that buying from your brand is as important to them as it was only a few weeks ago.

Be helpful

That said, there are still reasons to communicate with people on your list. You can offer them practical advice on whether you’re still offering any services, or where their order might be up to.

It could be time to talk about your ‘why’, for example if you’re a brand that’s all about wellbeing, how can you still help people with that when they can’t necessarily buy from you

Be relevant

The situation changes day by day, and what seemed like a good idea a week ago can quickly appear very out of date.

Try not to plan too far ahead, check every communication before it goes out to make sure it’s still timely and think about creating content that people will want to receive at any time.

If you’d like to speak to us about your own marketing challenges, or how we can help you understand consumer behaviour now and in the future, why not get in touch today?

James Kay Senior Account Director

By James Kay

Senior Account Director