Coronavirus: Marketing Guidelines for the Drinks Industry

By Tom Harvey, co-founder at YesMore Drinks Marketing Agency

“This is an unprecedented time, and every person and company out there is trying to find their feet and make a plan for the future. So, we have considered three key areas to help the drinks industry focussed on pulling through this together: 

1) Firstly, how to refocus your marketing and sales strategy: Like it or not, we are all going to need to be flexible with our marketing plans over the next few weeks and months. So we have put together some guidance on how to pivot without panicking – temporarily at least. 

2) Secondly, tips for both on and off-trade marketing: The on-trade is already feeling the pressure and, before pulling all our focus away from them, we have shared our recommendations on how to continue supporting our pubs and restaurants through this challenging time. 

3) And finally, some golden rules across all channels: we share some top tips to consider right the way through your marketing and sales channels. We want to ensure we are all mindful of being tasteful, respectful and also to tap into the genuine mood of the nation too. 

Refocusing objectives:

Use this time to focus on objectives that you can control and that will help you, your brand and even your sales in the long-term. The whole world is worried about financial success right now, so start prioritising the long-term success by building and growing your brand awareness, engagement and loyalty for when you can push the button on sales. 

Awareness: While it isn’t the best time to launch a new product, you can still raise awareness of your brand providing it’s done tastefully. 

Engagement: Social Media usage is going to go up, and so now is the time to really focus on organic and paid social media to remain front of mind for consumers. 

Consideration: Think about why, when and how people will consider buying your product right now. And if they are not ready now, ensure you are ready for when they are!

Conversion: Might be time to take your eCommerce off the back burner and refocus your team and agencies on making it really work once and for all. 

Loyalty: As well as generating consumer loyalty, think about the loyalty of buyers, brand ambassadors and your off (and on) trade accounts

With global government advice recommending people to stay inside, focus on the digital channels in your marketing mix such as social media. But do not forget the physical elements such as POS and experiential, as your consumers will be desperate to socialise in real life as soon as they are allowed to. 

Re-think your media approach

Social Media usage is up massively, obviously. But so are other channels, including print (yep!) and we are also seeing anecdotal evidence of online, virtual and remote events too. 

Paid social is up 15%. Pinterest usage around Wedding and Birthday planning is up. 

TV Viewing is up 26% (week-on-week as of Wednesday March 18). The highest is for the 16 to 24 year-old bracket, which is up 17% while daytime viewing is up 40%. 

Video on demand (VOD) is up 40%. Also YouTube viewing is up by 15% and Twitch is up by 12%. 

Radio Listening is up 25 to 30%. General radio listening is up daily by 25% and for talk shows it is more like 30%. 

Print is up 8% and digital is up 35%, for the figures from March 9 to 16. Paid for subscriptions are up too, for example The Telegraph has doubled its usual rate. 

Fine tune your direct to consumer and ecommerce channels

For many brands, D2C and eComm have been on the back burner for way, way too long. While your competitors may be shying away, this is your time to refocus your internal team and partner agencies on really nailing your direct to consumer marketing and sales channels and get them working for the long-term. For reference, supermarkets are seeing a 400% increase in online traffic.

Amazon shop: Amazon has the infrastructure that helps brands like yours with sales in this challenging time. So start testing and learning with campaigns that drive traffic to your Amazon shop. 

Owned eCommerce: While fulfilment might (currently) be more challenging from your own eCom site, get focussed on it now. If need be, drive people to your site but to join your mailing list and capture data.

Campaign activity:

We imagine you will be naturally cautious at this time anyway, but before launching campaigns we advise looking at the following three things before launching new marketing campaigns. 

1) Think outside usual social channels: consider the current climate, so Slack for offices, House Party, Nextdoor, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp?

2) Echo the mood of the nation: tap into key feelings of the nation and use this to influence campaigns: be kind, help others, stay safe, be hygienic, etc

3) Think about strategic partnerships: what brands are smart partners for a campaign? 

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The advice in this piece is based on current understanding of government advice as of Monday March 23 (AM). Please ensure you are keeping up-to-date with government-led advice from reputable sources such as government websites. Government advice should surpass all recommendations within this report and YesMore cannot be held liable for your taken actions.

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