Marketing Recovery Series: Navigating between normalcy and novelty

2 minute read

Despite the media headlines, we are not experiencing a “new normal”. Our crisis came quickly and brought with it abrupt changes – both personally and professionally. We all felt the sudden gravity of the situation and we’re still feeling it deeply.

Collective shock amplified our craving for safety and stability. Novel desperately needed to be normal. Simultaneously, companies in Canada, and throughout the world, have been confronted by a change of pace – a need to be more responsive, competitive and agile as we move towards recovery. As The Economist points out, the writing was already on the wall. It’s taken a pandemic to accelerate trends that had been shaping business and society for some time.

Idea in brief

When everything is novel and nothing is normal you have to reframe opportunity and reshape the rules. But there’s no need for guerilla tactics. Despite the extreme nature of our current situation, there is a way to solve problems without being forced to think from the margins.

Why it matters

The ability to navigate between what is familiar and what is new plays an essential role in turning recovery into growth; this ability is the lifeblood of innovation. Mindful adaptation will help establish meaningful lifelines to connect you with your customers – both known and unexpected – through shared values, experiences and aspirations.

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How to use it

Successful marketers focus on the space between normal and novel when adapting to change and meeting new needs, expectations and behaviours. Think about how your brand can help strike a respectful balance – between the comfort of what’s familiar and the necessity for change. With this in mind, how can your brand add value and solve problems?

Acts of inspiration

We’ve been uplifted by these brand responses and we hope you will be too:

  • A novel way to address customer safety. Harvey’s and Bauer partnered in a truly Canadian way to encourage safe drive-through orders using hockey sticks to reinforce physical distancing at a time we all miss bonding over food and hockey. A portion of drive-through sales will be donated to Food Banks Canada.
  • Don’t abandon your media when you can adapt the way you use it. After realizing that its first outdoor advertising campaign would be seen by too few consumers, Emily Veg Sticks used its planned outdoor media-buy in a novel way to turn marketing misfortune into smiles and word-of-mouth amplification.
  • When going out for a favourite meal seemed like a distant memory, Burger King France served up a make-it-yourself-at-home experience. The intimacy of print media created a novel and visually appealing way to share the recipe for Le Whopper with customers.

In the mix

Media choices must hit home. Think about how to use familiar channels in new ways. Consider using channels you’ve never tried before. Try connecting channels differently to increase intimacy and trust.

Direct mail is a trusted channel that reaches people at home. There are many ways – both new and familiar – to combine it with other media to strengthen your brand and create a more emotionally responsive and effective marketing mix.

See more great advice in our other Marketing Recovery Series blogs.

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