It held such promise: the year of clarity.
Remember all those optimistic marketing strategies focusing on laser-focus and 2020 vision? 👓
Now, no-one is properly equipped to see what’s coming next.
We can’t accurately predict what the global economy will look like in a week, let alone 12 months.
We should’ve all been partying, Gatsby-style, as we looked forward to the arrival of spring, the Olympics, festivals, Wimbledon, summer holidays… you remember. Things involving being outside; closer than two metres away from other people; or crowds.
But the idyllic allure of the ‘Roaring 20s 2.0’ has been well and truly extinguished by the arrival of something far less glamorous.
Who invited COVID-19 to the party? 🦠
One brand facing quite a unique situation caused by the virus is Corona Beer. 🍻
While it’s quite tricky to find reliable figures about the impact of COVID-19 on Corona’s sales, a recent survey revealed that 38% of American beer drinkers said they wouldn’t buy the Mexican beer “under any circumstances” at the moment.
There’s been speculation of falling sales to the tune of $132million, but so far no concrete evidence to support this.
It’s also been subject to various memes:
High volumes of Google searches for “corona beer virus” and “beer coronavirus” shows that the association is strong.
According to data from YouGov, the so-called purchase intent among adults in the U.S. has plunged to the lowest in two years.
And we’ve even seen proof of it in supermarkets, amid the panic-buying:
But you know what else? 🤔
Searches for ‘corona beer’ have spiked. Enormously.
This is a huge opportunity for Corona (the beer, not the virus) if handled well.
The thing to remember is, none of this is Corona’s fault.
They don’t need to win back the trust of customers who have taken offence at a misguided PR stunt, or make amends for a disastrous social media post.
There’s no reason for people to not be on their side –– we’re all in this together, united against this virus! 🙌
You’ve got to be bold to be able to use this to your advantage, but searches for their brand name are surging.
Why not make the most of it?
There Are Three Golden Rules Corona Should Remember:
1. Be Tactful
Let’s make no bones about it: coronavirus is no joke. But there is space for people to make light of a dark situation, as we’ve seen with the hilarious memes and videos that have emerged from the crisis. Striking a balance between lighthearted and heartfelt is key.
2. Be Human
This is a real opportunity for Corona to show their vulnerability – and as we know from Brené Brown – there’s nothing more powerful and human than having the courage to be vulnerable.
3. Be Bold
To be clear, for Corona to deliver a successful campaign in the context of the coronavirus, they are going to need to go head-first, and plunge right in. No tentative toe-dipping, they have to own their message.
Here are some quick steps for Corona to take to refresh their social strategy amid Covid-19.
Engage with Fans 💫
Fans of the brand should be Corona’s number one priority.
The current social engagement strategy Corona is employing looks to be: Ignore everything – even praise.
Let’s take a look at their Facebook Pages.
- The last post on their UK Facebook Page is from August 2019.
- The last post on their US Facebook Page is from 28 February 2020.
Despite the silence, there are still plenty of comments on the posts, with generally positive sentiment that almost feels protective of the brand.
65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and increasing customer retention by just 5% boosts profits by 25% to 95%.SmallbizGenius
So in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis, which affects pretty much every industry, but also happens to directly compromise Corona’s brand name through no fault of their own…it’s more important now than ever to reward their loyal customers and show them appreciation.
With over 2.1m fans on Facebook, this is a huge opportunity for Corona to reach out to their fans and change the narrative.
So far, it looks like they’re not replying to any comments, though: even to their loyal superfans.
The next thing Corona needs to do is set up a social listening tool – fast. By monitoring keywords and conversations around the brand, they can build a bigger picture and gain an understanding of the sentiment they’re starting with.
A tool like SmarterQueue allows you to monitor keywords on Twitter, and save them as sources so you can swiftly see the latest chatter around your phrases. It’s vital to do this so you see all mentions of your brand name; not just @mentions.
There are thousands of posts mentioning the keywords ‘Corona’ and ‘Corona Beer’.
A lot of people are focusing on supporting the brand through this time. It would be a no-brainer for Corona’s social media manager to hop on to their SmarterQueue Engage dashboard daily, look at the new mentions, and show their support with a like or retweet with a comment. At the very minimum!
Pause all scheduled social updates ⏸
It doesn’t look as though Corona have much content coming up due to the sporadic nature of their recent posts, but it’s vital to ensure that anything pre-scheduled is now paused.
The last thing you want to happen during a social media crisis is to post something totally tone-deaf that comes across as insensitive, or has an unfortunate connotation.
And with an unprecedented situation like Covid-19, absolutely anything can take on a new, unintentional meaning.
Acknowledge the Issue! 👀
There’s no point in pretending something huge and life-changing hasn’t just happened.
No-one’s going to forget the fact that a global pandemic, currently on the news 24/7, has the same name as Corona.
This is where it’s time for Corona to become human.
McVitie’s brought out a tongue-in-cheek campaign in March 2020 to support their ‘proud, if slightly awkward’ sponsorship of the Olympic Games. Embracing the irony of fast food/sugary snack companies sponsoring elite athletes, they created a £10m campaign including OOH and digital ads which are self-deprecating, self-aware and very human. They also encapsulate the Britishness that is synonymous with a cup of tea and a biscuit. ☕️🍪
The sponsorship is doubly awkward now that the Olympics has been postponed, so look out for this campaign in 2021, for the rescheduled Games!
Corona would do well to acknowledge the enormous elephant in the room – only until they’ve done that, can they move forward with a witty, creative and relatable campaign, like McVitie’s example.
Leverage user-generated content 👩💻
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Corona-based memes being shared on social. Not only could Corona use these as inspiration for their own marketing efforts, but they could reward the most loyal fans for sharing them.
Alcohol advertising rules will limit what the brand can offer in terms of reward, but constraints are notoriously positive for creativity. The possibilities are endless…
Be creative! 🎨
It’s not like Corona hasn’t created world-class campaigns before –– far from it. Last year, the brand fronted an initiative to #ProtectParadise by making it possible to pay for Corona with plastic waste cleared from beaches. 🏝
Five-Minute Brainstorm: Creative Ideas for Corona Beer’s Social Strategy
Now, the fun part!
Here are some quick thought starters for creative marketing ideas for Corona 🍺 during the Coronavirus 🦠 pandemic…
- Limited edition packaging with #StayHome branding to spread helpful information
- An Instagram filter that turns users’ living rooms into beaches, encouraging them to transform their at-home Corona into a beachside beer
- Limited-edition promotional bottles with miniature face-masks to bring the meme to life
- ….The face masks could actually be human-sized masks that people could use
- Donate a percentage of their profits for six weeks to healthcare services
- Do a beer amnesty, and allow people to swap their bottles of Corona for re-branded bottles, ‘Norona’.
- A tongue-in-cheek educational video campaign to make sure people know the difference between Coronavirus, and Corona Beer.
- A hashtag competition to invite users to share photos of their Corona stash, in exchange for a prize
- In keeping with their beach activation, they could create content around the positive stories of less waste and plastic on the beach
- They could document this whole process and make it a lesson for other brands in how to cope when disaster strikes…
- Partner with a rival brand (like Sol) on social media and convey how important it is for us all to stick together and support one another?
As you can see, just five minutes spent brainstorming can spark some interesting ideas!
What would you come up with? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter, @SmarterQueue!