Zoom chair Zionism: Digital marketing during and after COVID-19 – The Jerusalem Post

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, companies and brands of all sizes are sensing the vulnerability and sensitivity of marketing during a crisis. Many are struggling to recoup lost revenue from canceled events or contracts, vaguely planning for the new normal without a clear light at the end of the tunnel. Others are riding the tide with the hope that hunkering down will bear fruits in the mid- or long-term future. Today, brands are working harder than ever to cultivate relationships with customers during these unprecedented times.

As Israel, a country who took an extremely hardline lockdown position, slowly emerges from this pandemic, there’s a silver lining from this experience – beyond the obvious medical implications. From a marketing perspective, Israeli organizations and brands are quickly pivoting to emphasize digital solutions to keep their mission and focus on Israel top of mind to their audience.

Since global support and commerce are essential to their survival, these brands were forced to think fast, execute and embrace digital transformation. Creating meaningful digital touchpoints enabled these brands to weather the storm. Israeli brands have adopted their approach to digital technology at a faster pace than ever before. Bridging the digital divide between Israel and the world enabled these companies to creatively keep communities engaged. With no end in sight for a reopening of Israel’s borders, this pandemic has ignited and accelerated a refreshed sense of creativity that was, quite frankly, dormant for a while. As these brands emerge, the focus and centrality of digital marketing will only benefit their long term success.

The pandemic is rife with potential pitfalls for digital marketing teams that aim to keep their global community connected. At the same time, this unique scenario offers companies based in Israel a myriad opportunities for reaching their global market.

Today, marketing teams need to focus on two things: brand survival and adapting programs to the limitations and demands of the times. In some cases, the nature of the work remains the same, but the volume has changed dramatically. In others, it has required a major – and almost certainly imperfect – re-engineering of programs on the fly. As marketers, we should be made for these moments.

Implementation of a few adjustment strategies can turn the current crisis into an opportunity.

It’s a strange time for all of us, no matter where you are or what brand you represent. We’re all in this together, figuring it out as we go. A comforting thought, though, is that even through this rocky time in our collective history, one thing is always clear and reliable when it comes to your customers: Data. Every brand has a treasure trove of data at its disposal. Why embark on initiatives blindly? Take the data and transform it! Take the time to study the data, really analyze it and learn the lessons it wants to teach you. You are likely to find new strategies and ideas you never considered that can change the trajectory of not only your marketing efforts, but your whole business.

Data can tell any brand what type of campaign will work. Clearly, investing resources on new ad elements would be the ideal way to transform marketing data into content that resonates with your audience. Today, fiscal distancing is a company’s version of social distancing. That’s okay. Customers around the world are sharing their creativity via social media. Why not turn user-generated content into branded content? This can be a simple way to share great material that speaks to your audience with minimal or no investment.

Like it or not, virtual events are trending. Whether on Zoom, YouTube (pre-recorded) or other digital solutions, the virtual event space has, in many ways, replaced in-person events for the foreseeable future. Today, brands can gain traction with their global audience while sitting in pajamas, drinking wine and participating in branded experiences.

To date, no one has completely refined the virtual event model quite yet, although this year’s Adobe Summit was pretty darn close. Within a month’s time, Adobe completely reimagined the conference as a fully digital experience.

Their model can be replicated. Any brand looking to move to a digital event, needs to carefully consider the various components and understand the best medium to deliver. Even the nonprofit sector has embraced the shift, yielding impressive successes. “Saturday Night Seder,” “Saving Lives Sunday,” “Virtual is the New Purple,” to name a few. This shift in event production ensures that the pandemic could generate similar revenue, if not surpass it.

Even as fear and concern rise, the pandemic has certainly forged the path to refocus and reinvigorate the connection with Israel for millennials and the next generations of Zionists. Israeli brands, during these uncharted times, can and, perhaps, should reposition themselves as digitally attractive and remotely accessible.

For Israelis, who over history have emerged victorious during every crisis, it’s their innate and unwavering optimism even during these crises that provide a resolve and determination to actively and creatively innovative solutions. The Israeli mindset of living with a higher sense of purpose is precisely the ideal that will carry us through this difficult time. People in Israel understand hardships will happen, but that ultimately we will prevail. That is a lesson many countries across the globe are only learning now.

Whenever the new normal sets in, the brands left standing in every industry will have learned invaluable lessons in ingenuity, adaptability and crisis management. By capitalizing on their innate resilience, strength and even a little bit of chutzpah, Israeli marketers can use today’s crisis to bring new levels of success to Israeli companies and to the Israeli economy as a whole.

The writer is the director of global brand for United Hatzalah of Israel. He previously served as the chief digital strategist for Blue Thread Marketing, while also serving as the new media director for the City of Jerusalem. He comes with nearly 10 years of digital marketing, social media and content marketing experience, working with brands, big and small, across eight countries.

This content was originally published here.

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