In a year of Covid chaos, consistency and compatibility are the key watchwords for marketers

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Session If you’re reading this and not having a great day for whatever reason, then one surefire way to feel better is to look at 2020 prediction articles issued at the start of this year. MarketingTech’s is a good example. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never in the field of marketing predictions was so much gotten wrong by so many.

Okay, it is unfair to expect marketing executives to predict a global pandemic. In one way, of course, their forecasts were right around acceleration of digital initiatives – they just didn’t realise it.

The underlying factor, however, is that 2020 has been a year of Covid chaos. During times of chaos, as a marketing leader, it is most tempting to look closer to home.

Brand strategy remains vital. According to a survey from Deloitte in July, companies redirected almost half (46%) of their marketing budgets towards social media and mobile. Naturally, you have to go where your customers go. 84% said they used social primarily for brand awareness and brand building, compared with retaining current customers (54%) and gaining new ones (51%).

Jake Athey, VP of marketing and customer experience at Widen, argues brands need to hit the reset button and align themselves to new realities. Agility in marketing, previously a topic mentioned but not always fully explored, is key to this.

Writing for MarketingTech earlier this month, Athey noted the difficulties which the current climate has forced on this process. “The ability to pivot successfully and quickly relies on agile marketing teams… [but] the task has been complicated by the shift to remote working,” he wrote.

“Maintaining brand consistency and abiding by brand guidelines in an office environment – via the traditional approach – can be hit and miss,” Athey added. “However, try to replicate and implement this process at home, with other team members potentially hundreds of miles away, and you are in for a real challenge.”

Widen’s digital asset management (DAM) offerings, along with others in the market, look to more easily replicate brand consistency across content and wider digital marketing initiatives. This can include teams being able to find what they are looking for more quickly, easily manage iterations and updates, and maintain 24/7 access to materials.

Athey noted the wider role DAM can now play. “While DAM platforms have had their place in supporting marketing and creative teams for some time, they are now playing an important, central role for firms bringing their products to market as well,” he wrote. “Colleagues involved in product deployment or sales and development use DAM systems to access assets like how-to manuals, manufacturing, and pricing information.”

Here, you can see the importance of staying close to home, of getting the basics right, but doing so in a way that embraces the new normal. It is all about finding order in the chaos. Yes, there may be some cracks which appear as new models are forged; a report from the CMO Council last month explored the strained relationship between marketing and comms, while Infosys recently posited the importance of CMO and CIO alignment.

Ultimately, however, as Athey noted, this is an exciting time for marketers. They will continue to play a crucial role in helping their business thrive as the uncertainty of 2020 looks to move into 2021. Hopefully the predictions from the oracle will be a little nearer the mark this time.

Athey will be speaking at the DMWF Europe virtual event in a session titled ‘Brand Chaos To Strategy: The Tools And Tactics of Realigning Your Brand To A Post-Covid World.’ He spoke to MarketingTech around what the session will entail, which you can read here.

Find out more and register to attend the session here.

Read more: Q&A: Jake Athey, Widen: On common mistakes with digital asset management and realigning content post-Covid

Photo by Yohann LIBOT on Unsplash

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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