Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
13 July 2020
COVID-19 marketing enters a new phase: Disinfectant labeling
Lost in the think pieces (including my own) of COVID-19 marketing lies something few of us considered. The effect of the virus on product development. Consider the upcoming disinfectant wars.
You heard that right. The EPA just approved Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist as protecting against SARS-CoV2, which causes COVID-19. Others are right behind it with reports that the EPA is about to approve competing products. COVID-19 marketing will become a thing.
Once the labeling changes to reflect EPA’s approval, companies like Procter & Gamble will see sales skyrocket as consumers buy its products up like many did with toilet paper months ago. And for good reason.
COVID-19 marketing with products such as disinfectant will follow the lead of P&G, as is usually the course. P&G is famous for advertising product demonstrations and benefits, such as showing dirty socks washed with its products versus the competition.
That’s all well and good, but it’s an expensive route. P&G has the money to do that with around $60 billion in revenue each year. The company can afford it.
The more cost-effective way to promote your COVID-19 defense is embedding its value into your brand. That is, the promise of protecting against the virus is more emotional and believable because your brand promise backs it up.
“The COVID-19 marketing you’ll see in the coming months (years?) will expand outside disinfectants, to be sure. You’ll see numerous products with some kind of virus safety promise. But, as decades of marketing history have proven, the best product won’t win. The best brand will.”
COVID-19 marketing means meaningful brands win
The winners of the COVID-19 marketing wars won’t be those with the most effective products. It will be those brands more emotionally meaningful to target audiences.
In the disinfectant wars, how will competitors respond once they receive label approval from the EPA? To be sure, even with all their bank, P&G can be beat because it doesn’t believe in the power of brand. It believes in the power of investing billions of dollars into product benefit promotion. Few companies can afford that.
For example, Huggies diapers, owned by Kimberly-Clark, overcame the P&G brands of Pampers and Luvs because the Huggies brand had focus: Moms. It was meaningful enough for it to take a leadership position despite P&G’s marketing dollars.
The COVID-19 marketing you’ll see in the coming months (years?) will expand outside disinfectants, to be sure. You’ll see numerous products with some kind of virus safety promise.
But, as decades of marketing history have proven, the best product won’t win. The best brand will.
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