On 23rd March 2020, life changed for us all, and the past few weeks and months would have been impossible to imagine. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact everywhere, and the print industry – and every industry we work with – has been confronted with a harsh reality no-one could possibly have foreseen.
But… it has also highlighted the importance of print.
Along with the rest of the country, most of our teams have been following government advice to work from home. The huge thanks we give to our key workers, who ensured our print sites remained operational throughout, also goes out to those working from home under very different conditions. The commitment shown by every member of the Reach Printing Services team – to ensure we continue to do what we do best: deliver quality print fast – has been outstanding. Now we are looking forward to lockdown being eased and getting back to a ‘new norm’.
We support the print needs of many customers, from many different sectors, but one thing remains the same: the pandemic has affected us all and will continue to do so. As we come out the other side, here are what some of the trends and research suggest:
Health & Beauty
Mintel have stated ‘there is no better time than now for wellbeing and positive emotional marketing in beauty’, and this seems to be true if you look at McKinsey & Company’s ‘How COVID-19 is changing the world of beauty’, which reports that do-it-yourself and self-care beauty products are growing quickly. There are many new advertising campaigns to support this growing trend, and high street retailers have seen significant growth in online sales.
Food & Drink
The way we consume food and drink has changed. The closure of many restaurants and take-outs forced us to look at our eating habits and cook from home more, and research suggests that this will continue after lockdown. Tesco found that 89% of Brits intend to cook from scratch and, in April 2020, FMCG Gurus surveyed consumers and found that people want to eat well to boost their immune system – with 73% saying they intend to eat more healthily. Re-opening strategies and marketing plans for many brands will have changed. KFC UK & Ireland marketing director, Jack Hinchliffe, said: “As I look at the plan that we’ve got for the rest of the year now, it’s sharper and more focused than it’s ever been.”
Travel, Leisure & Tourism
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said that 96% of the world’s destinations were impacted by COVID-19. According to a Pipslay survey of over 3,400 people in the UK, 53% plan to take a trip once lockdown is over, and 44% will be comfortable travelling outside the country, despite the spread of the virus. With many restrictions and travel bans across the globe, the travel, leisure and tourism industries have been hit hard, but now it is more important for them to re-engage with consumers in order to stay top of their minds and build trust.
All sectors will have to consider how lockdown has changed opinion, and communication and brand storytelling will be key to rebuilding confidence. Print has a long history and proven record in performing exceedingly well when it comes to gaining trust and conveying sincerity in times of uncertainty. It has a unique ability to command attention to enable brands to tell their stories.
At the start of the pandemic, Canopy reported many positive uplifts in print circulation figures, proving that print was even more important to consumers as we went into lockdown. They reported on 7th April that TI Media saw a 170% uplift in subscribers; The Guardian saw a 15k circulation increase week on week, and The Telegraph a 12% increase week on week in news-stand sales. They also reported that top inserts advertisers in Q1 2020 were spread across a variety of business sectors, with Online & Mail Order continuing to be the most active, showing an increase of +20% from Q1 2019.
Print performs well, and has a sincere impact that is trusted and remembered. Whilst lockdown is slowly lifted, it is important that brands utilise print in their campaigns, now more than ever – whether that is to drive online sales, build trust or convey sincerity, as we return to a new normal.