In spite of the economic downturn, many businesses are surging, thanks to what we’re calling the “COVID Effect.” As people stay close to home, they are turning more and more to services and products that cater to a low-radius lifestyle, from education software and food delivery to sex toys and cannabis products. While many brands are enjoying this surge in interest, some are grappling with how to harness the attention now—and how to keep it going when the pandemic eases. At M Booth, we’ve been counseling a range of these companies, and have developed a strategic checklist to help brands Harness the Surge. Is your brand surging? Read on and feel free to reach out to me at jonpaulb@mbooth.com.

be clear on the short- and long-term goals.

Our recommended approach varies according to a brand’s goals. Some companies are overwhelmed by the press attention, so we boost them with a quick reactive team to field inbound requests sorted by priorities. Other brands see an opportunity to reach new audiences, so we enhance their efforts with a range of proactive earned, social, and influencer activities to expand their demographic and geographic reach. For brands in it for the long haul, customer acquisition may be the aim. But if you’re hoping to sell the company or seek another round of investing, we would look to enhance those efforts with a thought leadership program.

get ready to do more.

Tough times like these reveal a company’s inherent values, strengths, and weaknesses, which can potentially dramatically affect future customer relations and sales. It’s great that your product is in demand right now—but that’s not enough to sustain press and consumer attention. If you want to advance beyond round-up stories and land features or op-eds, it’s time to think about how you’re supporting your community. Do you have in-house experts regularly offering free advice or tips on Instagram or Facebook Live? Are you helping those who are most affected by this crisis, such as the medical community or small businesses or those who are unemployed? Our Creative Team works closely with our account teams to create such programs—big and small—that enhance storytelling efforts for both media and consumers. We may all be working from home, but that doesn’t mean the creative juices have stopped flowing—far from it.

think beyond the current customer.

Typically, start-ups hone their marketing efforts using internal data, like click-through rates and successful SEO campaigns. Today, consumer behavior is shifting dramatically and quickly, so our Research & Analytics team is deploying a spectrum of solutions to identify potential new customers and attitudes. You might be surprised by our current research that shows a ray of optimism in consumer behavior.

listen before pitching.

Relationships with writers, editors, and influencers matter now more than ever. We are in constant contact with journalists across a wide variety of industries: CPG, technology, retail, beauty, fashion, travel, and more. We know firsthand what’s trending, what’s next, and—most importantly—what the media is willing to hear from brands. We’re sharing that information across the agency and with clients so everyone can maximize efforts.

use authentic partners to carry the message.

Right now, consumers are hungry for tips, hacks, and solutions to help guide them through circumstances they never imagined, and content that is authentic, meaningful, and creative is finding great traction. Enhancing earned media efforts with the right influencers can have a big impact right now, according to our Fluent team, which specializes in influencer-driven branded content that resonates with consumers. And despite current cinematic releases being live-streamed and music festivals postponed, our Strategic Partnerships Group is uncovering a range of innovative partnerships that are garnering additional earned media.

Safeguard against blowback.

The better we understand how your business operates internally, the better prepared we’ll be to guide you through the heightened attention you receive as our campaign succeeds. That’s why our Issues & Crisis team helps us strategize, running through a range of scenarios, and asking some tough questions. For example, before you make that big charitable commitment, how is worker satisfaction? Do you have pay issues? Have you provided protective gear to your employees? We don’t want you becoming the next Zoom security sensation—quite the opposite.

 


At M Booth, we are energized by the positive momentum from brands that are finding a moment of sunshine in the midst of turmoil. If you have questions about how you can harness the surge, reach out to me at jonpaulb@mbooth.com.

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