November 19, 2020
Cult Brands Shine During COVID
There’s Still Time To Build Your Brand
We’ve witnessed something truly amazing during tragedy and disruption to the American economy. Certain brands who stayed the course of promoting their brand despite the virus and civil unrest have scored amazing financial results and grew their brands on a path to cult status.
The pandemic was such a shock to some companies they halted their advertising in hopes of brighter days. Yet, in mid to late March of this year, Nielsen reported that total use of television in the U.S., including the use of digital enablers, such as smart TVs, internet-connected devices, and gaming consoles, was up 18% from early March.
For instance, the amount of advertising for travel was down 60%, retail declined by 21% and telecommunication ads saw a 17% reduction in ad units. Yet some categories, such as automotive and financial services, benefit by earning a larger share of voice as others dropped out. Both the beer and wine as well as the pharmaceutical categories increasedthe number of ads that were running following COVID.
As for Creative Energy clients, most stayed the course and others pivoted from primarily a B2B approach to the market, to new and exciting retail brands.
- Butterball Farms®, famous for their flavored butters and dainty balls of butter at restaurants launched a new brand, Creekside® Premium Butter Balls® with TV, digital, social and in-store merchandising with major retailers such as Meijer, Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods.
- Drake’s Fresh Pasta®, heavily leveraged in foodservice, pivoted their Parla Pasta® line to Amazon Fresh retailers nationwide and focused on foodservice operators wanting to offer “take and bake” items for consumers.
- Texas Pete® Hot Sauce stayed the course and grew national market share along the way from larger national brands. So did Green Mountain Gringo® Salsa, growing in the number of retailers and in sales.
- FLAT® Technologies, offering a table leveling device for foodservice pivoted to increased sales for operators moving customers to outdoor dining.
In the end, only one client withdrew their advertising during the pandemic, losing ground just as their brand campaign was peaking, thus missing opportunities as consumers turned to supermarkets for their meals instead of restaurants.
On average, it takes three to five years to recover brand equity lost because of halted advertising, and long-term revenue can take a 2% hit for every quarter a brand stops advertising. Brand building and awareness campaigns are critical in long-term success, and companies that were able to frugally maintain their marketing efforts through the past year were able to protect up to 9% of total sales annually. Said plainly, playing the long game is critical. In fact, the long-term impact of marketing is 88% higher than the short-term impact.
If you stayed the course during COVID congratulations, as consumers searched for new solutions while sheltering at home. If you are now ready to make your pivot or turn up the volume on your brand, we will be happy to help in building your cult brand.