Jurgen Klopp and Post-Covid Marketing
Teeth ‘whiter than white’.
A man ‘made of more’.
A ‘wonderful everyday’.
A walking, talking, smiling ‘boudoir of brand ideas’ if ever there was one (an apt collective noun, I’m sure you’ll agree).
After a couple of decades of wandering aimlessly, limp-footed, through the football wilderness, Liverpool FC are the Champions of Europe, the Champions of the World and the recently crowned Champions of England. Arguably (actually, definitely) the most competitive league in the world (si, son mis amigos espanoles).
And the man behind it all? The transformational visionary, the strategic architect extraordinaire? The ferociously respectful custodian of the values that run deep through the club and the region? The recruiter, the retainer of talent, of those who embody these values, naturally and elegantly? The undisputed leader they all stand behind through thick and thin?
Mr. Jurgen Norbet Klopp (‘Norbet’. Wow.)
So, I’d like to suggest that when Jurgen speaks, we listen.
That when Jurgen casts his thoughts to the future, we’re all ears, eyes wide open, hanging on his every word. And it’s to one point in particular I’d like to draw our attention:
When asked how he was going to defend their much coveted Premier League title, he replied: “by attacking it”.
By attacking it, not defending.
By not being protective of his and his team’s achievements to date, but by setting new goals, new ambitions, new levels of performance.
By not being defined by the challenges the future holds but by facing up to the opportunities the future presents.
By not stepping back, but by striding forward.
So, as we look to the post-Covid Marketing era, an era Arthur Sadoun described as a time of ‘very tough days’, and Mark Ritson, perhaps more poetically, called ‘a big brutal fucker that will run deep into the markets we all operate in for many months to come’, we do so with Jurgen in mind.
At the outset of Covid-19, McKinsey published their 5Rs blueprint for post Covid recovery: The Path To The Next Normal.
These Rs are: Resolve. Resilience. Return. Reimagination. Reform.
All valid of course, all undeniably make logical sense.
But it’s where defence turns to attack I’m most drawn, when ‘Return’ slides seamlessly into ‘Reimagination’ and it’s to that point I’d like to focus:
Namely, how to reimagine your brand and business against a new and heightened set of post-Covid human needs; the bedrock of an attack mentality.
Guiding attack principles emerge:
Following a period when, perhaps for the first time, we have considered our place in the world - our present, our future, our wellness, our very mortality - has there ever been a greater need than to assure. The bigger the scare the more the need to feel assured and there has been no greater scare in our lifetimes than that created by Covid-19.
This isn’t just about perspex screens, face masks and a tub of anti-bac at the exit door, it’s more about how businesses can demonstrate more than ever how important their customers, their clients, their consumers, and their employees are to them. What was once thought of simply as a loyalty program is now a marketing imperative, an all embracing, overarching, God-fearing marketing strategy.
Someone to take us by the hand and lead us through the challenges the future faces. A visionary to navigate us through the choppy waters that lie ahead rather than simply acknowledge that the waters are indeed choppy; a leader not a follower, the pilot not a passenger. More than ever we need names to stand behind, to trust, to believe in.
The quite wonderful people at Canvas8 plotted the emotional path through Covid-19 and into the new era. Many organisations walked alongside their customers declaring they were there for them (albeit a few thousand miles away from their Carribean tax haven) but whilst empathy is appreciated, it is worthless unless we can show them the light, less concerned with being alongside and more concerned with being in front. ‘One Step Ahead’ brand behaviour as we like to call it, looking to the mood and sentiment that follows and not simply the one that is in-the-moment present. Check out our ‘Back to Business Rehabilitation Programme’, a ‘one step ahead’ programme that we built for our wonderful client, Charles Tyrwhitt, and one that continues to run today.
Leadership without substance is simply empty rhetoric, shallow platitudes, words without worth. Our products, our services, our ideas provide this substance. Economically, getting back to what we once did is critical. However, from a human needs point of view the want has perhaps never been greater.
People want to buy, people want to spoil themselves and others, and they’ve been starved of doing so. The Maison Hermes store in Guangzhou cleared $2.5m on the first day of reopening in what commentators called Revenge Buying. Similarly, Bottega Veneta launched a virtual residency to keep us inspired and entertained during isolation. The Bottega Residency aimed to give a space each week for collaborators, muses and talents to celebrate the creativity that has influenced their lives, such as writers, musicians, film directors and performers, dubbed the ‘Theatre of Joyous Distraction’. The ‘Theatre of Joyous Distraction’. Wonderful.
Sell to the best of our ability, to those who desperately want to buy, and, to do so for those who can’t.
Serving perhaps more than selling.
With point three in mind, it is tempting to trade hard, through volume more than value. Short term gain, mortgaging long term growth. However, this isn’t a question of trading per se - ‘do we or don’t we?’ - but more one concerned with ‘how to trade’, how to add insight, personal, human, intimate to your trading proposition, ‘value added trading’ not ‘a desperate race to the bottom trading’.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we look to where and how we can make things easier for our customers. Clearly, through our new Zoom based lives we never have to leave our houses ever again. Ever. Again. Correspondingly, it has created a want and need for people to have more on their terms, not the brand’s, to smooth the customer experience, innovating in both the digital and real world to make it easier for people to live more of the lives they want to live.
Perhaps CAFU, a 24⁄7 fuel delivery app in the Middle East, have gone a little too far by bringing fuel/ petrol to your front drive as one continues to smash through box set after box set (it’s a thin line between feeding the want for ‘easier’ as opposed to feeding the want to be ‘downright lazy’) but we need only look to how Tesco reacted to Covid-19 to not simply assure, but also to help, help make it a little easier to live through and beyond Covid-19. It’s perhaps why they’ve been voted, in a recent IAB UK and YouGov poll, top brand for positive contribution during Covid-19.
Assure. Lead. Inspire. Value. Ease.
Five fundamental human needs, evident previously for sure, but heightened and will continue to be heightened, in the post-Covid era.
The A.L.I.V.E model for a new era of planning and innovation.
Tricksy? Forced? A little convenient?
None of the above if we’re being honest.
We didn’t even know we’d landed on such an apt acronym until Jamie, our Client Services Director, spotted it (which is why he’s Client Services Director, we suspect).
We just looked to people, those we serve and what they need and desire most in their lives.
For the last three months we’ve been helping our clients review, create and land their organisational and brand strategies around this model, and developing new initiatives for the post-Covid era.
To attack it, not defend. To reimagine, not settle.
It’s what Jurgen would do.
‘Never Underestimate The Power of Jurgen’.
‘Just Do It’.