Covid-19 Pandemic is changing many facets of business operations and marketing.
With the shift in business operations, there is always a shift in marketing. One of the areas that this shift is being seen is in asset and brand planning and marketing around your brand.
Why Are Things Changing So Much Today?
The quick answer is that things like reduced travel, mask requirements in public places, an ever-changing regulatory environment that makes it impossible to fully understand the effects that the pandemic has already had, and the long-term effects that it will have.
The truth of the matter is that there is not an expert out there that can tell you what things will look like for their brand, their products, and even their core business in 12 months.
Simply put, we are running in the dark, struggling to grab every opportunity to replace any lost revenue we can, and we will continue down this road until we fully understand what a new normal looks like.
How is the Change Affecting Asset and Brand Management?
One of the things I read recently was an interview between Paul Talbot, a Forbes Contributor, and Gabriel Miller from Landor and FITCH, in which Gabriel said the following
“At the beginning of COVID-19, every brand’s reaction was to voice that ‘we are all in this together,’ making it difficult for any brand to break through the noise. What sets purpose-driven brands apart from the others is that they took the opportunity to step back and question their role in the world today and let that direct how they can best support their communities now during this crisis – but into the far future too.”
I think what he is saying is that just having a message is not enough. I think it never really was, but it seemed to work, but now people are hyper-focused on what is going on in the world and they want to be a part of something that has some sort of mission, even if it is small, so long as it touches something you happen to care about.
This sentiment really goes beyond just focusing on selling a can of coke or a bottle of shampoo to the mother or father in Everydayville America, I think we are seeing similar changes in the pharmaceutical industry.
Pharmaceuticals have been in the spotlight for a very long time, but no one ever thinks about the marketing side of their business. Most people do not realize that the pharmaceutical industry accounted for more than $1.3 trillion in economic output, representing 4 per cent of total U.S. output in 2015 alone. This total economic impact includes $558 billion in revenue from biopharmaceutical businesses and $659 billion from suppliers and worker spending.
Seeing as how they are so large, I decided to dig into how their branding is being impacted and what I found is that the uncertainty in how the pandemic will play out and how the perception of the pharmaceutical industry will change through this period is a big unknown. With the exception of saying that there will certainly be a change in perception depending on how things continue to play out.
Jon Bircher from Cello Health, a pharmaceutical industry consultancy, had the following to say, “beyond the obvious budgetary implications of the pandemic, public health perceptions are changing rapidly – how will society and payers define value in the future? How might extensions to life in oncology patients or investment in rare disease be viewed in comparison to a likely increased focus in diagnostic, vaccines and infectious disease programmes? Such questions will have implications on where drug companies and the industry as a whole seek to prioritise and invest.”
To say that a $1 trillion industry is not quite sure how to position a brand or manage the brand’s assets going through this thing and how it will look on the other side says a lot about the uncertainty all global business faces.
I am assured though, when there are some normalcy and a little bit of time for the people with the big brains to get their heads around it, we will surely see a different kind of brand messaging, marketing, and business operations as a whole.