Arabdha Sudhir is an entrepreneur, marketer and computer science engineer who also writes and paints in her everyday life. She is currently building Brand 4 Impact, an impact venture that converts corporate loyalty programs into social impact. She also works as the Marketing Director of Frankfurt-based blockchain accelerator, Iconic Lab.

Today’s marketers may be up against a fast-changing new world but a few things won’t budge: relationship building and providing real value are more pertinent than ever. And companies that stay on top of the shifting trends and adapt quickly will prevail.

Over the past few decades, marketing and the role of the marketer has evolved and adapted to market demands. Traditionally, marketing was just about matching the right product to the right customer segment. Then we started listening to audiences, and designing products to match their needs. And after that, there was a shift to a more powerful tactic of designing ads and campaigns to tap into the customer’s psychology.

This phase often relied on the all-powerful paradigm of creating FOMO – or the “fear of missing out.” Marketers became infamous for not just addressing market needs, but for their nifty abilities to create needs and emotions. And this was great in the commercial marketplace in a rising world economy that enabled consumerism.

But marketing is not a standalone process – it evolves with the world around us. Today, as our world enters the post COVID-19 reality, the old-world marketing techniques no longer hold ground and we need the next version of marketing to go with it.

Yes the economy, jobs and our daily lives are being affected for the worse. However, not all is lost. As they say – every crisis also presents a hidden opportunity. And if we are cognizant now of the shifting trends, we can leverage this to stay relevant and adapt.

Now is the time to use brands to make an impact on society and be remembered.

Survival of the quickest

Whether you are a marketer or a business owner, you need to adapt as quickly as possible. The “survival of the fittest” approach is long gone. Markets, products and consumer sentiments have changed and your work needs to adapt as fast as possible. This is now a game of speed and even though perfection is great to have, this one is all about timing.

Marketing can no longer be siloed

While marketing has managed to be siloed into its own separate unit, often being handled by our very creative agencies with some level of dissociation from the core strategies of the company, this may not be a luxury companies can afford anymore. 

One of the top budget cuts in corporate expenses this year is projected to be marketing as the companies see it as an “add on.” However, smart companies will integrate marketing now more than ever into their core strategy. If a brand wants to remain relevant and stand out during a trying time like this, marketing could be the fine line needed to make this difference.

The pyramid shift has happened – consumerism to conscious living

Creating impactful brands in a post-Corona world: Tips from Brand 4 Impact

Currently, Maslow’s pyramid of needs has done a massive somersault in our consumers’ lives. The world doesn’t care about the same things in the same way anymore – marketing and product offerings will play into all of the five layers – unlike earlier times when brands preferred specific brand territories for their positioning. Self-actualization, especially, will now come to the forefront.

Now is the time to use brands to make an impact on society and be remembered. There’s massive evidence that suggests customers want brands to be more involved with the formation of our new society. Brands are listening and we see most top brands, such as Google, Kraft and KFC, donating millions towards COVID-19 efforts.

Read more about how marketers can create a positive social impact here.

Little things are the focus

Humanity will need more positivity and humor as we make our way back to normalcy.

This doesn’t come new to marketers who have always looked at making the world aware of creative ways of appreciating mundane things of life. The difference is that this time, they will likely have a more ready audience.Especially post-COVID, humanity will need more positivity and humor as we make our way back to normalcy.

We are a meme-loving generation and Instagram is burgeoning into an endless storehouse of quarantine memes. The Ryan Reynolds funny ad series has been lightening up the stay-at-home mood lately – we’ll need more of this soon!

Digitization & the rise of the gig economy

Creating impactful brands in a post-Corona world: Tips from Brand 4 Impact

Along with our routines, job stability has also been thrown out the window. While we’ve seen some of the highest layoffs and cost cuttings, the wave has also nudged everyone towards finding their inner entrepreneur as they look at new ways of staying profitable. More people will go freelance, in addition to working from home. Companies will shift to a cheaper and more flexible gig model to get most tasks done. Platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork will remain relevant. 

Online learning

This has been insanely picking up and will continue to do so as more academic institutions are thrown into this wave of instant digitization. There are great ways to use this to our leverage through brand education content and more.

Health, wellness & spirituality

Creating impactful brands in a post-Corona world: Tips from Brand 4 Impact

My morning podcast reminded me that my brain has just gone through an earthquake even though I don’t know it yet and I concur. My Pacer app shows me less than one fifth of my usual step count. The harsh quarantine reality is also that a generation of homebodies and Netflixers have been asked to do just that, albeit in the most inconvenient way possible! However, we are getting to a point of seeing the downside of it as well.

Oysho has been getting into physical wellness through their workshops, Downdog has made their app free to academia and more products are expanding into content in the health and wellness terrain. Health, wellness and spirituality has been among the least-explored trends so far and it’s here to stay a while.

Yes, this situation is unprecedented. But as a population, we have been through 9/11, SARS and the global financial crisis. If history has shown us anything, it has been proof of human resilience and adaptability. 

For marketers, this will be a trying time, no doubt. But responsible, relationship-based marketing will go a long way towards survival. In a perfect world, sales should be an after-effect of value creation and marketing should be the bridge in between to transcend this value – now more than ever. And if we embrace this, marketers will then also bear the altruistic torch of a meaning-based society that creates and enables value – not just create ads for driving more profitability. It’s a great time to evolve into marketing next.o!

Connect with Arabdha Sudhir on LinkedIn