Firstly, I hope that you and yours are staying well, and managing to cope with the enormous changes to our ways of working and living.

At a time like this, when we are being told to withdraw and batten down the hatches, it’s tempting to think that putting research on hold is ‘the right thing to do in the circumstances.’ Our view is precisely the opposite… now is exactly the right time to engage, listen and respond to what customers are saying. The supermarkets are leading the way here at the moment, whereas other sectors are conspicuously quiet.

Commercially and morally, it’s never been more important to understand what customers are thinking, feeling and doing, to demonstrate empathy and understand how to meet short-term needs with practical support and solutions. And to be ready to hit the ground running when things finally return to normal.

If, of course, they do.

Research has a huge role to play in understanding what the ‘new normal’ will be, and its implications for how brands deliver on what matters to customers. This is the time to ask some big questions… is this the end of cash? Will customers crave a return to ‘in person’ shopping experiences, or will the virus push even more people online and accelerate the demise of the high street? Who will be the winners in the ‘trust stakes’? Will our re-discovered sense of community and altruism last?

Quadrangle, of course, remains fully open for business. We have migrated hundreds of groups and interviews online during the past week, updated survey intros, added in new questions to trackers to help us get a sense of the prevailing customer mindset and are also able to offer CATI interviewing for brands who need it, as well as all the digital solutions you’d expect.

My thanks are due to our team who are unfailingly upbeat — one unexpected by-product of social distancing seems to be that we are communicating with each other more than ever, if only via Microsoft Teams, which is no bad thing. To our clients; your support for our business is massively appreciated and we are here to help you navigate these choppy waters.

In the meantime, here are two articles that I’ve found especially thought-provoking these past few days.

Alison Camps, Deputy Chairman.

 

Marketing in the time of Covid-19

The first is by the always excellent Mark Ritson, who writes in Marketing Week about the importance of brands being authentic in a time of crisis.

Mark also talks about the need for brands to proactively make efforts to stick with their customers because ‘this virus, too, shall pass’.

That means talking to them, understanding their experiences and continuing to test your new ideas and propositions because when this is over customers will reward the brands who were in this thing with us, and you don’t want to be behind your competitors because you put everything on hold. Brands need momentum to survive and thrive.

You can read his article here (get ready for some robust language)…

5 questions to ask moving forward

The second is from Google’s Joshua Spanier, global marketing VP for media, who shares how his teams are navigating Google’s campaigns through the COVID-19 outbreak — and offers five questions to guide you as you adapt your marketing efforts to a new reality.

1. Is this campaign right in a local market given the current context?
2. Though we previously greenlit this campaign, is it still right for the context and moment?
3. Are all of the creative elements — tone, copy, visuals, keywords, placements — appropriate and relevant to this new reality?
4. What are the most relevant brands, products or campaigns are media can support right now, and do we need to shift budgets to ensure business continuity?
5. What ways can our brand — and even our owned media channels — be helpful to people and businesses in this moment of need?

Click here to read the full thing…