COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have made it clear that the idea of business as usual doesn’t exist. As Campaign US puts it “there isn't one right answer for brands right now.”
We’ve emphasized the importance of integration and for all teams to be strategists and think of new ways to address our clients’ (past, current, and future) business problems. We’re not just doing typical marketing, we’re providing creative solutions even, and especially, if we haven’t been asked to fulfill such roles in the past. We’ve taken on this challenge to help ourselves and our clients.
To address new needs, we have consulted our partners (and ourselves) in the following ways:
Better Digital Experience
By looking at the entire customer journey, we have been able to determine where to automate customer steps to create efficiencies in business processes to save time and increase Return on Investment (ROI). Then, taking a data-driven approach and testing website and marketing automation solutions, we are able to define specific optimizations that deliver immediate ROI and create a better digital experience for users.
Focused Client Consultation
By consulting clients on when to pause media, when to modify it, and when to forge ahead. Every client’s situation is different: for our travel and tourism clients – and during ‘Blackout Tuesday’ – a full stop was necessary. While for some other clients, staying in-market and applying changes to their messaging and media mix felt appropriate. Tactically, as we’ve all observed, declines in commuting and mobility meant Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising was not the best place to be. At the same time, streaming and connected TV usage increased significantly. Sensitivity and relevance allowed us to make the strongest recommendations and necessary shifts for our clients.
By becoming researchers who collect, synthesize, and provide analysis of news coverage and industry trends to help ease minds and make better business decisions. For our travel clients, we’ve been tracking COVID-19 cases/deaths, state-by-state restrictions, economic impacts, traveler sentiment, traveler mobility, travel intent through searches and booking, and traveler origin markets and segments to inform strategic planning around when, where and with whom to responsibly resume travel marketing.
Internal Crisis Communication
By implementing internal crisis communication plans for ourselves, we were able to coordinate a thorough response. COVID has forced everyone to emphasize the importance of internal communications. According to the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center, “the pandemic is leading executives to realize that companies can’t grow, prosper, or even survive without a knowledgeable, engaged and aware workforce.” At Karsh Hagan, we’ve hosted weekly town halls, conducted surveys about our return-to-work plan, created a task force to support racial justice, and have offered flexibility — we’ve let all our employees discover what works best for them when it comes to working from home. For those ready to come back to the office, we've adopted new safety protocols related to cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing, masks, and health and temperature screening, and we created a shared FAQ resource to keep employees informed as new questions arise.
Changing Retail During COVID
By connecting with a retail partner, Panacea Life Sciences, we helped them pivot manufacturing needs to address COVID medical supply efforts with state public health taskforce and Anschutz Medical Campus researchers.
Leveraged Social Media
By putting our creative brains to good (no credit needed) we transformed the iconic “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” signs into a state rallying cry: #StayHomeColorado. This rallying cry was shared by thousands featured on 9News and even used by Governor Polis. Furthermore, we partnered with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) to create the “Can Do Colorado” campaign that celebrates small businesses who have turned “can’t” into “can do.”
Unexpected Marketing Solutions
The world and marketing have changed and will continue to change, but we will keep doing what Karsh Hagan has been doing for 43 years— tapping into the power of purpose and providing creative solutions that help businesses succeed.