No doubt that by now every one of you heard about coronavirus news. Today I m aiming to show you how cruel is coronavirus affecting online and offline marketing.
Human lives are the paramount concern regarding the topic of coronavirus. Yet it is prudent to consider the impact it may have, including the economic one. While the depth of the impact is hard to predict, there are indications there may be a ripple effect should the current trends continue.
The news cycle has been dominated by discussion and speculation about the coronavirus. That’s also true in the tech press, as major industry events cancel and companies such as Apple, Facebook and Uber say revenues will likely take a hit because of supply chain issues or declining consumer demand.
HOW IS CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING THE WORLD ECONOMY?
Monday morning 09th of March is been one of the most critical moments for the world’s economy since coronavirus was discovered. All news channel was spreading the news of how the stock market is falling.
Within the first few minutes of trading Monday morning, the S&P 500 dropped as much as 7.4% and trading was temporarily halted so that investors could catch their breath. The Dow Jones was also briefly down more than 2,000 points before readjusting to the most recent loss of 1,865 points, or 7.2%. The Nasdaq has so far dropped 6.2%.
The sharp drop is just the latest following a couple of weeks of volatility. The Dow fell 1,200 points on February 27 and another 350 points the following day, concluding its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. Even though markets rallied briefly in early March, thanks to emergency measures taken by the Federal Reserve, the market ultimately continued tanking.
WHAT BRANDS IS CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING THE MOST
Since the first instances of the virus were detected in China’s Wuhan province on 31 December, examples of brands using their marketing might to share helpful information have been few and far between. Even those in the travel and health sectors, who have had their services directly impacted by the outbreak, have shied away from addressing the issue directly in their campaigns.
One outlier is Lush, which recently invited the UK public to wash their hands in-store for free. Posters promoting the initiative throughout its UK stores make no mention of the virus, instead offering a contextual prompt to a public scrambling for cleanliness.
Not to be funny but the Corona beer brand also seems to be extremely affected by the coronavirus actions.
Corona’s brand seems to have suffered from the name’s likeness to “coronavirus.” Searches for “corona beer virus” spiked in January and are currently on the uptick again, as seen on Google Trends. A recent phone survey of 737 Americans (note: a fairly small sample size), conducted by 5W Public Relations, found that 38 percent of respondents said that “would not buy Corona under any circumstances now”; 4 percent of respondents who usually drink Corona said they would stop drinking; 16 percent of respondents “were confused about whether Corona beer is related to the coronavirus.” And according to market research and data analytics company YouGov, buzz surrounding Corona beer has trended negative since COVID-19 started dominating the news cycle.
CNBC reports that Constellation Brands will continue with its Corona marketing campaign as planned. “Our advertising with Corona is consistent with the campaign we have been running for the last 30 years and is based off strong consumer sentiment,” said a spokesperson. “While we empathize with those who have been impacted by this virus and continue to monitor the situation, our consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business.”
Social media users particularly took issue with a tweet from the brand, sent on February 24, that promises “one splashy entrance” for Corona hard seltzer, as well as a sponsored tweet that uses the phrase “coming ashore soon,” CNN reports. Critics of the marketing chastised Corona for “poor taste” and bad timing.
Wonder how coronavirus is affecting the fashion industry? Well, apparently the most recent run of fashion weeks—the womenswear shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris—were overshadowed by the spread of coronavirus, which spread to Italy just as the shows were beginning there. As a number of reporters on the ground have explained, the precaution and paranoia over the virus hung over the season, as several editors left early and shows were canceled, and the virus began appearing in the United States.
And much as coronavirus has had a seismic effect on pop culture, it’s weighing heavily on the fashion industry, too. A number of shifts in reaction to the spread of the virus will change the next round of fashion shows—the lucrative “cruise” season—as well as the way Americans shop and what will be available to them. Here are just a few ways that will happen.
A fter the coronavirus outbreak forced Chinese fashion designers, buyers and other industry insiders to skip Milan’s Fashion Week in late February, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, or National Chamber of Italian Fashion, launched a campaign to demonstrate solidarity: “China, we are with you.” The slogan turned out to be prophetic. By the end of fashion week, Italy was facing a coronavirus outbreak of its own, and Milan’s typically bustling streets were eerily empty. Models posted Instagram selfies in masks, fashion magazines asked their employees to work from home, and Giorgio Armani held his women’s Fall/Winter 2020/2021 fashion show in an empty theatre.
The coronavirus outbreak is likely to be a nightmare for Italy’s $100 billion-plus fashion industry, says Carlo Capasa, the head of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion. The country’s fashion companies were expecting a strong start to 2020, but are now struggling to cope with supply chain issues and weak demand, especially in China, the heart of the coronavirus outbreak. “For sure, we think the first six months of 2020 are going to be bad,” Capasa says.
What’s happening to Italy’s fashion industry is likely a preview of the coronavirus’s impact on the global economy more broadly. Companies in a wide range of industries are dependent on China as both a manufacturing behemoth and a billion-plus-consumer market. But as life in some parts of the country comes to a near-standstill in the face of the outbreak, that reliance looks more and more like a weakness.
HOW IS CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING THE TECH INDUSTRY?
An article from Cnet shows us how the outbreak is affecting some of the biggest names in technology:
- Canceled its F8 developer conference, the company’s biggest event of the year at which CEO Mark Zuckerberg updates the world on Facebook’s developments and challenges; will hold local gatherings for developers and online events instead.
- Curtailed employee travel to China.
- Canceled a marketing summit scheduled for early March, which was expected to draw 4,000 people.
- Is giving the WHO free ads in order to provide health information.
- Expects delays in production of its Oculus VR headset.
- Banned ads that promise a coronavirus cure.
- Withdrew from the SXSW festival.
- Announced that a contractor in its Seattle offices has tested positive for coronavirus.
- Reportedly closed its Seattle office until March 9, with employees being encouraged to work from home at least until March 31.
- Will continue to pay hourly workers who can’t do their jobs remotely.
- Said it will miss its quarterly revenue guidance because of the effects of the coronavirus.
- Temporarily shuttered all of its 42 stores in mainland China, one of its biggest and most important markets; closed its corporate offices and contact centers in China.
- Has been forced to seek alternative sources for parts after suppliers in Wuhan closed because of the outbreak in that city.
- Reportedly warned retail stores that replacements for badly damaged iPhones will be in short supply.
- Reportedly restricted travel to Italy, China and South Korea, and closed a retail store in Italy.
- Reportedly pulled out of SXSW festival.
- Many Apple retailers in New York City have reportedly run out of iPhone 11 devices as of March 6.
- Telling Seattle area employees to work remotely if they can.
- Temporarily closing all its offices in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
- Restricted business travel to China and Hong Kong.
- Told employees with immediate family members returning from China to work from home for at least 14 days.
- Kept European offices open even though an employee in Zurich had been diagnosed with coronavirus.
- Canceled its Google News Initiative Summit scheduled for late April in Sunnyvale, California.
- Changed annual its cloud conference, which drew 30,000 attendees last year, to a digital-only event.
- Will continue to pay hourly workers who can’t do their jobs remotely.
- Canceled its annual I/O developer conference, which was set to take place on May 12-14 in Mountain View, California.
- Google is restricting visitors to its offices in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, canceling all in-person job interviews and telling Korean and Japanese employees to work from home, Google confirmed March 9.
- Announced it’s “recommending” all Seattle, Puget Sound area and San Francisco Bay Area employees who are “in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25.” Company president Brad Smith also said it’ll continue to pay its hourly campus workers their regular wages even if their work hours are reduced.
- Warned investors that revenue in the business segment that includes its Windows operating system and Surface devices would likely miss earlier forecasts.
- Pulled out of SXSW, where CEO Jack Dorsey was to have given a keynote address.
- Suspended all non-critical business travel and events for employees.
- Instructed all employees to start working from home.
- Dorsey had originally planned to spend a few months in Africa in 2020 but said March 5 that he’s reevaluating those plans “in light of COVID-19.”
- Twitter confirmed March 6 that its Seattle office had been closed for deep cleaning after an employee was “advised by their doctor that they likely have COVID-19.” The employee hasn’t been in the office for several weeks.
- Will continue to pay hourly workers who can’t do their jobs remotely.
- Removed more than 1 million listings for items claiming to cure or defend against the coronavirus, according to a report from Reuters.
- Removed thousands of items from merchants for price gouging.
- Said an employee at its Seattle headquarters has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2and is now in quarantine.
- Told Seattle area employees to work from home if possible until the end of March.
- Withdrew from SXSW festival.
- Dell has reportedly told attendees of its 2020 tech conference that it’s been moved to “a virtual setting” due to coronavirus concerns. Keynotes and some sessions will be online, according to the note. Dell Technologies World had been scheduled to go from May 4-7 in Las Vegas. Dell didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
- Pulled out of the SXSW festival.
- In early February old its employees not to come back to work at its offices in Shenzhen, China, until further notice.
- Plans to have its factories operating at normal capacity by the end of March, according to a report from Bloomberg.
- Will allow guests to cancel reservations without penalty if they’ve booked in China through April 1 or if they’ve booked in South Korea through March 9.
- Temporarily suspended roughly 240 user accounts in Mexico to prevent the spread of coronavirus after those users had come in contact with two drivers possibly exposed to the virus.
- Lyft is encouraging employees at its San Francisco headquarters to work from home this week after one team member was found to be “in contact with someone who was exposed to COVID-19.” The ride-share company confirmed the news on March 5.
- Closed its new plant in Shanghai for a planned week and a half after the Chinese government told private companies to temporarily cease operations.
- Warned investors that the shutdown may “slightly” affect first-quarter profits.
- IBM tweeted March 9 it’s encouraging employees who live and work in New York City or Westchester County to work from home until further notice if their job permits. Both areas are subject to coronavirus community spread.
- Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on March 5 asked all employees based in Seattle, Kirkland and Bellevue, Washington, to work from home for the entirety of March.
- Cloudflare is offering its Cloudflare for Teams, a suite of security tools, to small businesses affected by the coronavirus for free for six months. It’s also helped launch in an industry effort, called org, to support small companies.
- The company is letting employees in affected regions work remotely.
Several prominent industry events were canceled or revamped because of concerns over the coronavirus. They include:
- Mobile World Congress, an annual industry gathering that had been scheduled to open on Feb. 24 in Barcelona.
- Facebook’s March marketing summit and its F8 developer conference.
- The Geneva Motor Show, one of the largest car shows of the year, after the Swiss government banned all events of 1,000 people or more.
- The annual Adobe Summit in Las Vegas. Instead, the company says some content will be offered online.
- Google I/O, the company’s biggest event of the year, where the tech giant announces its newest products and initiatives.
- Chipmaker Nvidia decided to make its GPU Technology Conference, typically held in San Jose and attracting an audience of about 10,000 people, a digital-only event with a webcast planned March 24.
Also, the annual Game Developers Conference, originally scheduled to take place March 16 to 20 in San Francisco, has been postponed to an unspecified date after exhibitors such as Amazon, Microsoft, Epic Games, Sony, EA and Facebook dropped out.
EVENTS ARE HIT HARD BY CORONAVIRUS
Yet, it’s easy to imagine a more severe scenario. Several high-profile marketing events, including Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona and Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit and F8 conferences, have been called off due to coronavirus concerns, and others could follow.
In MWC Barcelona’s case, this has resulted in sunk costs for would-be attendees, and perhaps more significantly for the events space, lost deal-making opportunities and product announcement hype that can be harder to quantify.
“If major events are canceled, you don’t get that money back,” Biegel said.
But confabs like F8 and MWC Barcelona cater to the business end of things, when the real impact would hit marketers if destination live events are affected. Early indicators of this shift can be seen around Europa League soccer matches, some of which are being played behind closed doors without a live audience to prevent the virus’ spread.
“It doesn’t mean that fans aren’t going to want to watch,” Biegel said. “It means they’re going to stream. Live event amplification minus the ‘live’ part of the event is something that we’re watching.”
The most significant advertising stage that could be affected is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Broadcaster NBC said in December it had secured $1 billion in advertising commitments ahead of the summer games, a steep pool that could be shaken in the case of delay or shuttering.
“If events such as the Tokyo Olympics and UEFA Euro 2020 tournament are postponed or canceled […] we would expect a notable impact,” WARC Data’s McDonald wrote.
Even if an Olympics closure remains an unlikely scenario, it’s the type of situation marketers should prepare for to avoid seeing their media strategy and campaigns completely upended by a coronavirus.
If you’re a smart marketer or a supplier right now, you will start thinking about: ‘What’s our contingency plan?'” Biegel said. “You don’t change what you’re doing, but you start to make sure that you’re doing the right scenario modeling.