COVID-19: Weathering the Storm

March 20, 2020 - Reading Time: 2 minutes

The COVID-19 coronavirus has taken a great toll on businesses globally. With consumers less willing to leave their homes, many businesses have seen a sharp drop in sales. These are tough times but with the right strategy, businesses can weather the storm. Here are some strategies you can adopt.

1. Go digital

Mass gatherings aren’t exactly encouraged right now. Instead of cancelling events, some organisers are moving them online. Going digital is a way to stay connected to people without physical proximity.

China’s art world, for example, is switching to digital shows in response to event cancellations. Art Basel Hong Kong, the Shanghai Power Station of Art and Tank Shanghai launched online viewing rooms and shows. The digital viewing spaces allow exhibitors to continue to showcase and sell artworks despite event cancellations.

Mobile phone companies are also adapting by launching their products online. With the cancellation of major events, like the Mobile World Congress, these companies have moved their launches online. Xiaomi hosted an online-only flagship product launch for its Mi 10 mobile series in China. OnePlus is also set to launch its upcoming OnePlus 8 series over an online live stream event.

So instead of cancelling the events you have planned, explore how you could take them online instead and create a whole new experience.

2. Stay connected

Let’s face it, boosting sales at this time isn’t exactly a realistic strategy for some companies, especially companies that have a harder time transferring operations online. In that case, perhaps your strategy shouldn’t be to increase sales but to build brand love. Social media engagement now becomes more important than ever. You want to ensure that you stay connected to fans despite the restrictions on face-to-face interactions.

Content is key. Do your research – find out what your audience loves to see and produce content based on that. Keep an eye on the analytics to see how each post does; this will give you a better idea of the type of content that resonates with your followers.

Remember: out of sight, out of mind. Even though they may not be leaving their homes to visit your stores, it is important that customers still see you. In order to be seen, you should be where your audience is. In China, popular video platforms have seen a sharp increase in new followers. With many relying on social media to keep up with news on COVID-19, it makes sense for brands to be on the platform as well.

3. Think outside the box

HUANXI Media is a Chinese company focusing on the investment and production of films and drama series. Instead of releasing its new film Lost in Russia in theatres, HUANXI partnered with ByteDance – the company behind app giants like TikTok and Douyin – to release their movie digitally. Even though ByteDance specialised in short form, user-generated content, they were flexible in their incorporating a movie that was over 2 hours long into their offering. The tactic paid off – Lost in Russia racked up 600 million views in just two days.

There are still business opportunities if you know where to look. Think about how you can switch it up so that consumers can enjoy your product whilst minimising close contact with others.

These are tough times for businesses but with the right strategy, it is possible to overcome it. If boosting sales isn’t a realistic goal, then shift your focus to build another part of your business. Whatever you do, you want to stay connected with your audience so that when the situation improves, so will your business.

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