The Newmark Group Ltd. has unveiled a comprehensive toolkit for strategic insights and tools for brand success in the 21st Century, under their “Influence XXI” strategy. This toolkit has been launched with the objective of equipping local and international brands with the cognizance needed for them to survive during this crisis and in a post pandemic world.
“In Kenya, like in all of Africa and the rest of the world, small, medium and large companies have to not only survive this pre-vaccine phase of the COVID 19 pandemic, but they also have to have a vision and strategies for the recovery phase, which at this point is not yet in sight. It is for this reason that we developed a practical toolkit that can give them insights and tools that will enable them to win in the future,” said Gilbert Manirakiza, CEO, The Newmark Group Ltd.
According to the analytical research documented in the toolkit, humans’ classifications of brands are fast changing, as new product and consumption preferences continually evolve in the wave of this pandemic. This has given smaller and mid-sized companies an unparalleled opportunity to compete against bigger brands for exposure, mindshare, product trials and market share.
A neuroscience study on how brains are reacting to the COVID-19 messaging suggests that this pandemic is leaving consumers confused. In an effort to understand how information affects consumer behavior, the study reveals a more positive consumer inclination to empathetic messages that evoke hope and encouragement during the pandemic. Messages that were based on medical science such as development of a future vaccine were also well received by consumers. 
Content consumption has experienced a radical shift since the outbreak became a global crisis. Medical brands have now become voices of authority overtaking mainstream commercial influencers. People are more accepting of such messages due to the credibility attached to them. Digital consumption has increased with more brands leveraging on social and online tactics which not only increase their brand visibility but also how well their teams remain “virtually” motivated. The most ubiquitous of these avenues has been the increase in user generated content, e-commerce and webinars in which B2B brands use to enhance customer interactions.
This toolkit goes further to give an elaborate social media communication plan for brands, specially designed for the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies reveal that the notable increase in social media communication ultimately influences public perceptions of the ongoing crisis. While research suggests that the COVID-19 information shared on social media borders on negativity, it has created a critical understanding of the virus through a myriad of public discourse and in essence influenced the public perceptions of the disease. Part of having a successful COVID-19 social media communication plan is to refrain from using the platform to increase fear, spread fallacious information or for personal gain.
“Don’t try to capitalize on the crisis. This is applicable to any crisis or tragedy, but it is especially important to remember in the existing climate, while it’s a good idea to keep people informed about how the crisis is affecting you, don’t spread panic or become an alarmist.” Influence XXI Toolkit (2020)
This toolkit offers a working model of practical social and digital media solutions which brands must capitalize on for them to remain relevant. Since the outbreak, the “new normal” has become a growing virtual workforce of people who prefer working from home. Every brand must tailor their social and digital media policies to accommodate these sudden shifts and effect the use of digital technology to sustain business.
The strategies and tools of action laid out systematically in the Influence XXI toolkit not only enable brands to succeed in the here and now but also ensure their longevity long after the virus is contained. Whereas the information heavily discusses brand success, it also delves into how brands cultivate empathy in serving the people before serving their business interest