Chinese brands have had to develop innovative responses to the challenges posed by COVID-19, while also reassessing digital investments in the light of changes in consumer behaviour and media consumption; Gartner’s Danielle Bailey takes stock in The WARC Guide.

This month, The WARC Guide looks at marketing in the COVID-19 recession, including what lessons B2C marketers can learn from China where the height of the crisis coincided with key activation periods for brands, including Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day and Milan and Paris fashion weeks.

Writing in The WARC Guide, Bailey, Managing Vice President, APAC at Gartner for Marketers, outlines how China’s experiences have given “a pertinent first look at how marketers could respond to a public crisis of this magnitude”. (Subscribers can read The WARC Guide to Marketing in the COVID-19 Recession in full here.)

She puts forward four key lessons:

Shift brand experience online. Under quarantine in China, time spent online increased by 20%, with the greatest increases seen in gaming (+44%), short video (+14%) and news and information (+14%) — all of which represent opportunities for media placement.

• Be transparent about your supply chain and product availability. In the early stages of the outbreak in China, the crisis hit logistics and supply chains so that standard same-day e-commerce delivery was pushed to an average of 3-5 days, while more than 10 days for delivery was not uncommon. Transparency on these issues builds trust with consumers and sets clear expectations so as not to deliver an unsatisfactory brand experience.

Monitor trends and tune into social sentiment. Weibo, which has long served as brands’ online broadcast mass-media platform in China, has seen a 31% increase in usage during the crisis as netizens turn to the platform to find and share information about the virus and continue following celebrity media as a distraction. Effective social listening can yield useful consumer insights even during the crisis.

Timing is critical. Knowing when to communicate with customers is tricky during a crisis. Take a wrong step and brands can be criticised for lack of sensitivity and empathy; remain silent and they risk being seen as irrelevant.

Read Danielle Bailey’s article in full for more details and examples of what China can teach the West about B2C marketing.

WARC is also running a series of webinars next week on the topic of marketing in a recession as part of the WARC Talks 360 series – you can register here.

The WARC Guide is a compilation of fresh new research and expert guidance with WARC’s editorial teams in New York, London, Singapore and Shanghai pulling in the best new thinking globally. It also showcases the best on WARC – case studies, best practice and data sourced from across the platform.

Sourced from WARC