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Marketing Together: Staying Connected

By Clara Barnett on April, 23 2020

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Clara Barnett

Associate Marketing Manager

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Our first installment of “Marketing Together” focused on the marketing and ad industry’s response to COVID-19. We reported on some of the meaningful statistics and shifts in vertical spend, consumer behavior and business metrics. This week we’ll look at the impact on relationship-building. Alliant has observed our community leaning into relationships with their teams, partners and customers. Here we share some of the best examples from industry leaders, brands and our own team.

Strengthen your team

With experiences ranging from a quick pivot to seamless work from home — or wrenching layoffs and furloughs — some teams have settled into the current work reality better than others. Unsurprisingly, team morale is a real concern across organizations. Salesforce CMO Stephanie Buscemi went so far as to identify mental health as a top corporate priority.1 In response Salesforce has set up general well-being surveys for all employees, as well as a suite of self-care tools that include daily meditations, and virtual art and yoga classes. They also addressed key sources of stress with new tools, including Wide Open School, an initiative to help families make the most of remote learning environments. While not all companies can execute at the level of Salesforce, even smaller organizations can provide resources and activities that encourage well-being and connectivity. Alliant has created a daily step challenge to encourage activity and hosted weekly happy hour trivia. Whether at the corporate or middle management level, it is important to recognize the impact of change on your teams and provide appropriate support.

In addition to supporting the team’s wellbeing, it is an exceptional time to establish new ways to work together, manage efficiencies and meet goals under difficult circumstances. A need for creative solutions to obstacles is driving innovation across industries. At Hasbro, teams worked quickly and creatively to compile resources and self-film emotional messages to support families at home with the Bring Home the Fun initiative.7 Hasbro product teams are also bursting with new toy and game ideas, finding inspiration in increased time at home with family.

Lean on your partners

As many teams lean into each other, organizations are reaching out to industry partners to offer new levels of support. Friendly competitors and providers are sharing business experiences openly in hopes of getting a pulse on the market. Meredith is providing assurance to its advertising partners in the form of the Meredith Audience Action Guarantee. The program guarantees and measures actions taken by readers to advertisers who buy a minimum of five ads in two of the publisher’s brands running in May through December issues.4

Increasing support is another path many vendors and providers are taking — Alliant has added extra support to our Audience Help Desk capabilities to guarantee RFP help, client pitch support and more in two hours or less.

Not all partners are created equal though — some marketers are pausing or pivoting away from certain relationships. With coronavirus putting affiliate and influencer partners under a microscope, Adweek reports that “retailers like Net-a-Porter, Ralph Lauren and Victoria’s Secret…have suspended their participation in affiliate marketing programs, and other brands are pressing pause on upcoming influencer campaigns or partnerships—or canceling them altogether.” 3 Still, with many consumers at home and binging social media, influencers may be a good partner to reach potential customers with relatable messaging and content.

Nurture your customers

Investing in building relationships with your team and your partners can impact your customers in a positive way. Marketers are utilizing innovative teaming and partner relations to create memorable customer messaging, experiences and products, building trust with customers that can last long after the pandemic. Without a strong team and partners, JP Morgan Chase would not have been able to turn around a new campaign in only 10 days. “JP Morgan Advisors Are Here For You” features videos of their wealth advisors working from home offering assistance during this difficult time. and is running across a dozen TV networks, addressable and connected TV, finance and news sites. Dipti Kachru, CMO of JPMorgan U.S. Wealth Management, told AdWeek “We haven’t pulled off marketing…in fact, we’ve leaned in to make sure we’re actively engaging our clients in ways that can help them.”2

Direct-to-consumer brands have linked arms to build trust with each other and their customers by creating Brands x Better, a group of 27 DTC brands who are reaching out to their customers to drive donations to an organization fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The group includes M.Gemi, Dagne Dover, Boll & Branch and founding brand, Rhone, whose co-founder Nate Checketts sparked the idea out of a need to build relationships with fellow DTC business owners and consumers — and give back to the community.5

Building relationships with our teams, partners and customers to give back to the community and support recovery is not the only bright spot. History has proven the importance of continuing to market during tough times. Brands that advertise during a crisis often capture market share. Building trust with customers by marketing through the pandemic can help project a long-term outlook.6 Matt Frattaroli, Alliant’s VP of Digital Platforms & Agency Partnerships echoes this thought, “Advertising never dies, it evolves. As companies retool their products and services, they need to drive new brand messages. Demand will evolve too and force change.”

We are encouraging our team, partners and customers to embrace change — to meet it with innovation and not only survive, but emerge as better organizations because of it. Look out for our next Marketing Together blog as we assess the possibilities of a new normal. In the meantime, drop a line for a quick Audience questions, or to share your self-haircut snafu.

Sources

  1. Adweek Together: Salesforce CMO Stephanie Buscemi on Managing Through Crisis, https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/adweek-together-salesforce-cmo-stephanie-buscemi-on-managing-through-crisis/
  2. How JPMorgan is adapting its ad messaging (and continuing to spend on advertising), http://digiday.com/media/how-jpmorgan-is-adapting-its-ad-messaging-and-continuing-to-spend-on-advertising/
  3. No, Coronavirus Isn’t the End of Influencer Marketing. But It Has Put It Under a Microscope, https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/no-coronavirus-isnt-the-end-of-influencer-marketing-but-it-has-put-it-under-a-microscope/?utm_content=summary_component
  4. Meredith Offers Extended Ad Guarantee Due to COVID-19, https://www.adweek.com/digital/meredith-offers-extended-ad-guarantee-due-to-covid-19/
  5. 20+ DTC Companies Create Brands x Better, a Coalition for COVID-19, https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/over-20-dtc-companies-brands-x-better-covid-19-relief/
  6. Coronavirus: Evolving Trends and Implications – U.S. PERSPECTIVE, Publicis Group
  7. How The Coronavirus Is Impacting Open Innovation At Hasbro, https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephenkey/2020/04/03/how-the-coronavirus-is-impacting-open-innovation-at-hasbro/#5fa19f064b02

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