Iso Inspo: How brands should adapt marketing strategies in era of COVID-19

Many businesses and brands are hurting amidst COVID-19, however there is real opportunity in the FMCG sector as people panic buy, flock to supermarkets and stock up online. So, what are they and how should FMCG brands change their marketing approach during the chaos of COVID-19?

Brand partnerships and the launch of new promotional products

Partnerships and new product variations can create a huge PR opportunity for a brand to leverage promotionally as well as financially. Manly Spirits has just launched its gin scented hand sanitiser and a chocolate company in America, included chocolate face masks to their Easter bunnies calling them the ‘COVID Bunnies’ to brighten the lives of kids during the Easter season.

If it’s not easy to adjust your production, like it may be for distilleries creating hand sanitiser, think about leveraging your distribution network and partnering with a complementary partner that can help. It’s these businesses that quickly adapt and provide novelty during this time that will reap the goodwill benefits long-term.

It’s crucial to move content strategies away from what you had planned for 2020 and towards what the year really holds.

People are looking for ways to boost their immunity and use up their panic buy items such as pasta, flour and tinned products. For food and beverage FMCG products it’s all about creating of recipes that provide inspiration during this time of isolation with beautiful photography and a strong social media strategy to match.


It’s important to focus on community reassurance and care in tone of voice when communicating during these times. Rather than focusing on mass ‘push, push’ promotional content, place emphasis on the brand being a support to communities during such uncertainty.

PR opportunities:

There’s a small window of opportunity that savvy FMCG brands can get into publications that they never could before through promotions and partnerships. These include publications like TimeOut, rebranded to TimeIn, that are proactively looking for experiences that people can do at home. Broadsheet and Urban List are also running unique promotions around engaging stay at home activities.

Get in touch with celebrity chefs (who are also stuck in iso)

With the hospitality venues temporary closed, many celebrity chefs such as Matt Moran and Analiese Gregory are cooking at home and sharing their recipes on their social media channels. This is a unique opportunity for supermarket brands to leverage chefs who are now embracing home cooked meals rather than cooking for a busy restaurant.

Influencers (now known as ‘homefluencers’) like the rest of us are having to self-isolate and are adapting to stay relevant to connect with their followers. With nowhere to go, there’s no better time to instigate an influencer campaign.

In the weight loss space, Tamara from reality television show Married at First Sight (MAFS) has recently partnered with Opti Slim whilst in isolation showcasing the broad range of snacks and healthy meals. Another MAFS example is Jules Robinson and her partnership with Olay facial products that can be used in the comfort of your own home.

During this time companies will be tempted to play it safe; products are flying off the shelves anyway right? However, consumers will remember the way brands reacted and adapted to this pandemic once life goes back to normal. It will be the brands that are brave, proactive and creative that will be the winners in the long run.

Catherine Slogrove is director of Papaya Agency and a specialist in F&B marketing. Papaya provides social media, public relations and digital marketing services to the food, beverage and FMCG sector.


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