Reimaging Marketing In The Next Normal

Brand Revival: Reimaging Marketing In The Next Normal

Human civilization is going through one of its darkest and most challenging phases. The days are dotted with unprecedented threats and nights with uncertainty. The coronavirus pandemic blew things out of proportion, pushed us to the brim, where fighting for survival is the only way out. 

Besides health and life, business, too, suffered through a lot of brutal blows. When the world was on the verge of returning to everyday life, the second wave struck. It ruined things with a more significant impact. Repeated lockdowns and forbidden movement affected supply and hit revenue generation like never before. The damage was pretty the same for brands across the globe. 

Despite all, there is hope, and that’s what I will be discussing elaborately here. Robert Kiyosaki, Founder, Cashflow Technologies Inc., said, “When times are bad is when the real entrepreneurs emerge.” There’s oozing positivity in these lines, and it’s real. We need to push through the limitations; that’s how we overcome them! 

Brand Revival: Reimaging Marketing In The Next Normal
Business photo created by

Marketing In 2021 – Reimaging Marketing In The Next Normal Trying To Survive In A Changed Business Ecosphere

Any given crisis hurts the market – consumer behavior. The pandemic triggered by covid19 created an enormous dent in trade and commerce across the world. Brands and marketers working for them are on their feet, trying to find ways to sail out of this crisis. 

Businesses of varying size and age faced unprecedented challenges. They had to ensure the safety of their employees and consumers, modify business operation and management complying with government policies. Besides these, brands had to support the activities with cash and other liquid assets. 

Different lockdown norms restricted the movement; it affected supply, purchase volume and related elements. A lot of people also lost their jobs due to the pandemic. There was a decline in purchase resulting in lesser sales volume and revenue. 

What caused this change was a few dominating factors. 

The inevitable and enforced lockdown affected the livelihood of many. While the enterprises are struggling to survive, smaller ventures and industries suffered significant loss. It even led to the closure of such businesses. It affected the livelihood of many and marginalized their purchasing power. It directly affected demand in a chain reaction. 

Consumers made more conscious purchasing decisions; they tried not to spend their money on anything they are not sure about. They opted for value-based products and services and online shopping experiences. Consumers moved to online platforms and apps for their everyday essentials and luxury buys. 

There was a restriction on the movement of public transport during the lockdown, but even after unlocking, people tried to avoid it. Demand for online service platforms surged high, to unexpected heights, and they switched to remote working or working from homes. 

Covid19 triggered an economic and social crisis that severely affected consumer demand. 

Brand Revival: Reimaging Marketing In The Next Normal
Sale photo created by drobotdean –

Potential Brand Revival Strategies 

You cannot avert a crisis and other challenges, but you can surely overcome them. In the face of a notorious situation, you need to be your strongest self and cut through it. You must commit to bold decisions and execution of the same. The covid19 pandemic and its impact on business is not something that you cannot overcome. 

Ian Davis, a Managing Partner, McKinsey, was recently quoted in an article – “The New Normal”, “For some brands, near-term survival is the only agenda.” He elaborated on the finer details, but it stroked me hard because that’s a brutal truth. Survival is the only goal but stopping there isn’t. The article has meaningful implications for marketers. Brands need to revive; otherwise, they will not stand a chance in the grim market condition. So here I will be elaborating on a few central mechanisms that can make it happen. Stay glued! 

Firstly, you need to harness the power of digital platforms and technology. The internet is accessible to almost every corner of the world, by everyone. That’s the best way to reach the mass, and you have a broader market than you could ever wish for. Why not use these platforms and transformational technologies to connect with customers – existing and potential? Build a complementing infrastructure, even a new team for the groundwork is good, to serve demands through digital channels and apps. Try digital transformation through technology, communication, data, the internet of things, AI, and exclusive networking. 

Brand Revival: Reimaging Marketing In The Next Normal
created by stories –

Secondly, you must pick up accurate data, analyze them correctly, and use it quickly, responsibly and effectively. Data is the key to creating compelling brand strategies, both for sales and branding exercises. Business automation solutions are ideal for making this happen; specifically, a CRM solution will be the best one to serve this purpose. When you implement CRM software, it fetches data from regular interactions, analyzes flawlessly, finds real consumer needs. It also predicts market and product trends. You can use this for offering what the market would need and cash such opportunities. 

Thirdly, what matters are not exclusive products but trustworthy products that meet consumer needs. It is essential, especially when you want to create brands they trust. Invest in good image building exercises because the messages they send are very effective in building your brand image. 

Fourthly, if you want to find a perennial market demand, you will have to be a bold brand. By this, I mean, as a brand, you need to stand up for a cause that makes a real difference and act on it. When you start doing this, you will begin writing a new future for your brand. 

Fifthly, localize your operations and consumer experience. The idea of exported products is not as effective as offering something of their own. Frequent lockdowns have boosted the idea of enjoying local products and experiences. You are restricted to a specific area, so are the producers, sellers and buyers. There are a good number of brands that have benefitted by localizing their marketing exercises. 

Brand Revival: Reimaging Marketing In The Next Normal
Sale photo created by wayhomestudio –

Social media connected people from different pockets of the world. Similarly, online platforms, technology and digital avenues joined the business to consumers during the pandemic. Whether digital or physical, you must keep supplying to meet the demand. The current situation favors digital or online services, though. The trends and indicators commit to a promising future if you are willing to take that leap of faith and transform your digitally. Trust me; now people prefer home entertainment and home deliveries!

Phua Chu Kang’s Covid-19 Video Boosts Vaccination Drive

Phua Chua kang Covid19 video

Just when the world was in grief and on the verge of losing hope, the vaccines came in. The timing was perfect and brought in hope amid despair. The massacre by the virus has been heart-breaking, but the vaccine is here, and the vaccination drive is on!

Open the newspaper; there’s a leaflet inside is asking you to get vaccinated. Your letterbox might have one such pamphlet as well. There is a conspiracy theory, and people are dying. Singapore has the vaccine, and Phua Chu Kang is asking us to get vaccinated! 

The latest video is a part of the Singapore government’s vaccination campaign. It is making headlines at home and overseas. Why not? When the world is almost ravaged by the deadly virus, vaccines are the savior. When finally covid-19 vaccines are here, this video adds to the campaign momentum! It brings in hope, informative and entertaining at the same time. 

“Faster go and vaccinate” loud and clear in a peppy and happy setup. The YouTube music video features on – the Government’s YouTube channel and the video has 1,357,771 views so far. Not just that, the footage grabbed attention from overseas and got featured by Australia’s ABC News and the prestigious British daily, The Guardian, as well. 

It’s like a bubble of positivity amid the gloom. The video is bright and beautiful.

Phua Chu Kang’s Covid-19 Video

It is one video that Singapore is talking about. In it, we have our very own Phua Chu Kang – the best contractor in Singapore, JB, and some say Batam. Phua – acted by actor Gurmeet Singh, is your friend-next-door, in a clean and cool look with trademark yellow boots, dances to the exhilarated music and asks you not to wait to vaccinate. “Singapore, don’t wait and see. Better get your shot. Steady pom pi pi.” His wife – enacted by actress Irene Ang, is doubtful. She says, “Chronic illness still can take? I’m not sure, I am quite afraid.”  Phua thus explains to her that the vaccine is safe; if you doubt, you can ask the doctors at the clinic. There is nothing to panic about it. “It’s safe for most, including elderly. Because the government got check properly.” 

Resistance to vaccination has majorly slowed down the vaccination drive. The video is seen as a strategic approach by the government in getting the message across to you more convincingly. That’s pretty obvious. Vaccination can effectively slow down the spread and protect you from the worst consequences. Isn’t that what you wanted? 

The government’s decision in having this video in the covid-19 campaign has been a great help in improving public health against the crisis. The character – Phua Chu Kang has guy-next-door appeal, and that syncs well among the citizens. It’s not like preaching where some authority asks people to follow something, but a fellow being, just one among us, has been vaccinated and is happy with it. He is sharing the information and clearing doubts and on the other hand, his wife – Rosie, played by Ang, represents resenting citizens. It’s like watching a conversation that even happens in our own drawing rooms. 

The Singapore Government has been proactively dealing with the covid-19 pandemic ever since it started showing up. Though the numbers are low yet taking a chance is not worth the risk. Vaccination is the only way to tackle this pandemic – one of the most ruthless among the many ever witnessed by humankind. 

Although everything terrible has happened over a year, there’s hope, and we cling to it. When all of us get vaccinated, no one gets infected and affected. So, make sure you get your jab! “Singapore, don’t wait and see. Better get your shot.”


Post-Pandemic Marketing

Post Pandemic marketing

The Covid-19 pandemic has forever changed how we go about achieving things — from how we live to the way we work. For businesses, this means a massive shift in marketing strategies.

Businesses have had to adapt how they run over the past year to keep themselves afloat during the economic downturn. However, if you thought that everything would go back to normal once Covid-19 has settled down, you would be wrong.

The pandemic has shown us the benefits of becoming digital, be it in the way we work, shop, or live. We are studying the impacts that we have faced due to the pandemic will teach us how better to develop a forward-looking marketing plan for the future. According to Google, these are the four permanent changes that the pandemic has brought about.

  • Consumer habits will change

It can’t be denied that the pandemic has been tough on everyone. With the economy in a recession, consumers are becoming extremely careful about what they spend on. As their income drops, they are less likely to spend on nonessential items.

Additionally, over the past year, Google has noticed an upward trend in consumer searches. Specifically, many were (and are still doing so) looking for online alternatives to staples in their life. For instance, when schools were shut down, search queries that included the phrase “online learning” went up by 400%.

Many consumers looked for “fitness apps” in place of gyms, a term that saw a 200% increase in its search query. Leisure activities were no different — searches with the phrase “with friends online” jumped by 300% year over year.

Such shifts in consumer behaviour saw brands focusing their efforts more than ever on real-time insights tracking. As everything becomes highly digitalised, more importance is placed on reacting and adapting to consumer behaviour changes. Brands would have to respond fast to any discovery and even develop appropriate strategies to make sure they continue thriving in these volatile times.

  • Virtual events are here to stay

If you did not catch the memo previously, here it is again — online activities and events saw a startling rise in the past year. Of course, since the pandemic forced everyone to stay indoors, virtual events only make sense for increase.

However, as things start to stabilise and the possibility of live events returning approaches, it does not necessarily mean that virtual events will no longer happen. Google predicts that many consumers have now developed the preference of attending events from their home comforts.

Your marketing strategies should pivot towards virtual events (if you haven’t already) as a business. That is not to say live events should be neglected — instead, it needs to be even more impressive to draw consumers back to them.

  • Online shopping is now the norm

Online Shopping

Ecommerce was one area that prospered during the entirety of the pandemic. Some consumers even claimed that they shopped online for the first time due to the quarantine restrictions!

As a result, businesses had to turn to offer online services to cater to their consumers’ changing needs. Be it opening an online store, taking online orders, or offering local delivery. Brands were tested on how quickly they could adapt to such drastically different requirements from their consumers.

  • Working from home will continue

Work from home

Consumer habits aren’t the only thing that brands need to take note of. Employee habits will affect them just as much, if not more. To be precise, many businesses will see employees continue to work from home even as quarantine restrictions are lifted.

The traditional in-office work model may no longer work in this new post-pandemic era. Even before the pandemic, many have expressed their desire to spend more time doing what they enjoy and less time on unnecessary things, such as commuting.

As workplace cultures begin to morph and shift, brands need to keep on their toes and find new methods that meet the basic needs of their employees while still being efficient as a company. Only then will the growth of the business be guaranteed.

So how can a brand successfully market itself after such a devastating pandemic?

For one, as the community is still coming back from the effects of the pandemic, brands should remember to be sensitive and careful in their marketing efforts. Avoid tone-deaf campaigns that seem to blatantly ignore the struggles that consumers themselves have faced during such challenging times.

BMW used a pandemic-related hashtag — #flattenthecurve — to promote their new i8 model in a company tweet. Such illogical insensitivity caused a backlash against the brand, with consumers criticising that buying a car does not help them solve anything in this pandemic. Similarly, Wix’s latest ad saw many consumers rise against the brand for insensitivity to the mental health issues that many faced due to the pandemic.

Even as the pandemic’s effects are starting to fade, brands need to continue their digital efforts. Whether it means offering free shipping and delivery, online discounts and gift cards or more, businesses would benefit from such digital strategies as consumers continue to shop online. Not to mention that this is the cheaper and less risky alternative!

What steps have you been taking as a brand to stay afloat during this pandemic? If you resonate with any of the points we’ve made, you are taking a step in the right direction when it comes to marketing your brand, be it pre- or post-pandemic. Now, you have to continue on this right track.

Cheers to the Human Race, by Coca-cola

Coca cola

Last year, Coca-cola released an ad to celebrate International Workers’ Day. Coca-cola try to spread hope and positivity, and the message of the ad is clear and strong; we still can have faith in humanity.

Worked together with Dentsu Malaysia, Coca-cola reminds us that “optimism is more contagious than any contagion”. The ad was set strong with “Superheroes” by The Script as their background music, which brought tears of emotion for every audience who watch the ad video.

The ad itself spotlights how everything has changed during the pandemic period. Within the change, every barrier, and challenges that humans have during the pandemic, there is always some positivity that we can see.

At the end of the video, Coca-cola thank all workers worldwide for their dedication and hard work during a hard time. And along with the ad video on their website, Coca-cola also thank all workers who work on the frontline during the pandemic. “Saluting the Heroes of the Human Race” gives the story of workers featured in the brand’s ad.

After all, not all heroes wear a cape.

Best yet, MIU is offering a Free Digital Audit to all SMEs during this pandemic. Contact MIU for more information on how you can improve your online presence today.

Ad Review: Coronavirus Vaccine Confidence Campaign

Ad Review: Coronavirus Vaccine Confidence Campaign

“Because of This” campaign

With the Covid-19 vaccine finally perfected, the next important step for healthcare alliances is to encourage the public to get vaccinated. After all, this would help all individuals alike by reducing the number of Covid cases and improving herd immunity, hopefully eliminating it from existence. Watch as these healthcare alliances take to using touching stories to move us into getting a vaccine.

These public service announcements (PSA) come from Pfizer, BioNTech, as well as other alliances and are aimed to push the American public to get vaccinated. By using an interesting question-and-answer format, the video really highlights how Covid has really done a number on us.

Here’s the twist — the question-and-answer format is done in a reverse manner to drive home our longing for human connection. The question, which is revealed afterwards, then highlights how the vaccine can help make our desires possible.

Sharing clips from the lives of everyday humans adds on to the impact we really feel from these videos. We understand how wonderful it feels to be able to hug someone and see them face-to-face, something that has been restricted a lot since the beginning of the quarantine.

With plenty of groups weighing in on the decision to take the vaccine (particularly on social media), many Americans are on the fence on doing so. This makes the task for the healthcare alliances all the more difficult, but they aren’t giving up. By using four PSAs to emphasise on daily family interactions — ones that we wouldn’t have given a second thought about if it wasn’t for Covid — these alliances are aiming for our hearts in this leg of the campaign.

All PSAs end with the line “Science can make it possible. Only you can make it real.” before directing viewers to websites and links where they can get vaccinated. Here’s another video from part of the same campaign, titled “Hug”, in case you didn’t get how much we have missed living in a pre-Covid era where we took physical connection for granted.

SingTel’s Latest Deepavali Ad Reminds Us That There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

SingTel's Latest Deepavali Ad Reminds Us That There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

In line with Deepavali, SingTel has released a short film featuring two of its Hindu staff preparing for the festival. This year’s Deepavali celebration is definitely different due to the ongoing pandemic. However, all hope is not lost as SingTel wants to share in their latest ad.

With a sombre piece selected to play in the background, the camera follows as two of SingTel’s Hindu staff decorates for the holiday and shares their favourite memory of Deepavali. As we get an idea of what Deepavali means to them, the topic gradually switches over to the current situation and how Covid-19 has impacted them.

For these SingTel staff, they were unable to see their loved ones often for fear of putting them at risk. Having to work from home every day also meant that tensions at home were constantly on the rise and it was easy to clash with family members.

Deepavali this year, then, meant something even more than it usually did. A signifier of light and new beginnings, this festival is a good chance for everyone to put the bad behind them and come together as one. As one of them mentioned, Deepavali is a time to put all negativity aside and to only focus on the positive ahead.

This film aligns with SingTel’s ongoing brand campaign, which encourages Singaporeans to stay positive amidst the current climate, showing examples of how ordinary Singaporeans display tenacity in such trying times. If they can do it, so can you.

The ad, aptly titled “There is light”, follows behind SingTel’s other campaigns including the films “Keeping the spirit of Hari Raya alive” as well as “This is the year”, both of which were released a few months back to commemorate Ramadan and National Day respectively. Of course, the circuit breaker meant that these events had to be celebrated in a different manner than usual, but the spirit was still kept alive by our sheer determination and unity.

Similarly, the spirit of hope brought about by Deepavali can be applied to all of us as we look forward to the rainbow after the rain that is this pandemic. It could even be said to be a happy coincidence that Deepavali comes around as fewer infections occur, resulting in Covid measures easing up and a sense of normalcy returning.

This personal narrative definitely serves to add a sense of comfort and encouragement as a reminder that even the hard times will pass. Indeed, SingTel’s latest ad is a note to us all to stay together and to be there for one another, for that is how we thrive.

Businesses in the Face of Covid-19

Businesses in the Face of Covid-19

Covid-19 and the ‘New Normal’

In the face of the Covid-19 era, many businesses and individuals have had to adapt to the new normal. From social distancing rules to travel restrictions, these measures to combat Covid-19 have affected the modus operandi of many businesses. The introduction of circuit breaker has seen many defaulting to having their employees work from home as a consequence. On the other hand, consumers have begun shopping online more voraciously.

With phase 3 of Singapore’s circuit breaker on the horizon, here are some things that one can expect.

Phase 3: The New Normal

Business in the of covid 19.jpg

Social, cultural, religious and business gatherings or events will be allowed to resume during this phase. However, gathering sizes would still have to be limited so as to prevent large clusters from arising. Individuals would also have to be aware to avoid close contact with each other.

ESG’s Enterprise Infoline, as it has done in the previous two phases, will continue to assist businesses in the last part of the three-phased approach to resume activities in a safe manner during this post-pandemic period.

“With advisories and guidelines that were applicable to different sectors as the COVID-19 situation evolved, the Enterprise Infoline provided business owners with help to navigate the compliance requirements; procedures that can be complex particularly for small and micro SMEs. ”

Ms Chew Mok Lee, Assistant Chief Executive

One phrase which has gained momentum in the past few weeks is the ‘new normal’. Despite the fact that things are looking up, it is important to note that the impact of Covid-19 will still be felt far beyond 2020. Remote work will most likely be retained in the ‘new normal’, so don’t expect the current situation to change too drastically. Until a vaccine is uncovered, it will be a fixed aspect of our lives.

What this means for businesses and their employees

Working remotely with kids during the Coronavirus outbreak | eXo

Singapore’s phased approach to open the economy could mean that the ‘new normal’ may involve a cautious approach of alternating between remote work and the office. However, working life as we know it might never return to the normal we all remember.

This is not an indicator that productivity, creativity and profitability levels pre-Covid will not return for businesses. In fact, the changes that arose due to this pandemic may as well have presented more business opportunities in Singapore. Human beings, after all, tend to resist change and the ‘new normal’ allows businesses across the world to reimagine the impossible and shift to new ways of working and collaboration.

Leaders are redesigning their business operations to navigate this significant change and evolve the business for it to continue thriving. This has seen the acceleration of some non-traditional workforces. For instance, flexible working arrangements are expected to be the ‘new normal’ in some industries. Take Twitter as an example — CEO Jack Dorsey announced that employees can keep working from home ‘forever’ if they wish.

As everyone transitions through this period, the best way to ensure businesses’ survival in a post-Covid era would be to adopt a blended approach. Take the most efficient working methods from pre-Covid and combine it with the best methods mid-Covid, and we will see a strategy fit for commercial success.

When we look back at 2020 from hindsight, there’ll certainly be questions raised around company conduct. Organizations will be judged not only on how they managed the financial crisis, but how they supported their employees as well.

“People will remember how leadership and businesses dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic. They understand that it’s a difficult time for businesses and in most cases acknowledge that changes may be required due to changing business pressures. If these conversations are managed and handled in a human and authentic way, reputation and employer brand will be maintained and amplified.”

Robert Stone, Chief Talent Officer at McCANN

What this means for businesses and their consumers

Premium Vector | Woman using mobile app for online shopping cartoon

As the Singapore government eases the country back into normalcy, many Singaporeans are remaining cautious and playing it safe. They intend to adopt a wait-and-see approach when it comes to resuming activities. Only 1 in 4 Singaporeans, for example, say they would be comfortable to visit restaurants if the option is made available. 30% say they will not join a cultural event or gathering in 2020; 28% say they will not visit a gym or take a sports membership; and 53% do not intend to travel this year even if it is allowed.

“Many marketers had hoped that once the Circuit Breaker restrictions are eased, life would get back to the way it was. Singaporeans, at present, do not feel that way as seen from their reduced spend intention at dining out or disinclination towards going on holidays or attending large events or gatherings.”

Prasad Shinde, Senior Client Officer at Ipsos in Singapore

Due to the circuit breaker, online shopping has seen a tremendous boom in activity. With digital shopping becoming increasingly pervasive in our everyday lives, it would be a smart move for businesses to grab this opportunity to go digital in order to expand their customer base. It is where most consumers’ attention have turned in the face of the lockdown.

In a survey conducted, 88% of Singaporeans said that they have bought something online during this period, of whom, 2 in 3 say that they had shopped for a new product category for the first time. While the bulk of online purchases are on groceries and food products, other categories saw some first-time online shoppers as well.

“There are clear shifts in the adoption of e-commerce for the purchase of items that were typically purchased in brick and mortar stores — groceries and fresh produce for example –- as well as an introduction to different omni-channel purchase options. It has become quite common for example for a purchase to be made via WhatsApp and for collection to be made at a curbside pick-up. The awareness and familiarity with such possibilities, as well as the perceived greater convenience to shoppers, may mean that demand for these options remains long after life goes back to normal, so it will be interesting to see whether any retail sectors look to make some of these permanent.”

Nick Hunter, Director of Market Strategy and Understanding at Ipsos in Singapore

This could very well signal to businesses the type of change they need to undergo in order to adapt to this ‘new normal’. Covid-19 has proven across all industries that it is possible to maintain high quality outputs and relationships even with remote work at the core of their strategy.

For digital advertising and branding, contact us.