Advertising & Marketing in times of COVID-19 in Kenya


Advertising & Marketing in times of COVID-19: Should Brands in Kenya spend or not?

COVID-19 has swept the globe, spreading unpredictability and disruption wherever it goes. These are undoubtedly anxious times, in which everybody is worried about the health of their families and employees, first and foremost, yet are also overwhelmed with business challenges.This is no ordinary economic downslide: Fundamental changes in consumer behavior, supply chains, and routes to market are knocking companies in Kenya. At such unusual times, businesses have been heavily affected by the Corona pandemic in Kenya. Customer buying-power has dropped, and as a result, businesses in Kenya are facing some losses due to the Corona Pandemic.


From a marketing perspective, what are businesses in Kenya to do? Most brands in Kenya shifted to a conservative mindset and stopped their marketing spends due to the impact brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic in Kenya. A few others have drastically reduced their marketing budget. Some have shifted their budgets from traditional media to digital marketing. While some other brands in Kenya still are of the mindset where they believe they need to hold their same budget. Well, which is the right way to go?


Not making the usual revenue, hence no marketing-budget is a wrong way of looking at things.

The negative impact of COVID 19 on companies in Kenya should not be under-estimated. While large corporations and companies may have a budget to withstand the hard times, that is not the case with many small to medium enterprises. Truth be told, with a dwindling purchase power, most small scale businesses do not have the revenue hence resulting in lay-offs and cost-cutting measures. 


Another thing to note is that, while this situation isn’t ideal for anyone, the silver lining is that those who adjust their PPC strategies appropriately are all but guaranteed to come out of it in pretty good shape.

It’s understandable why at such times, businesses in Kenya may drastically halt or limit their marketing and advertising budget, so as to introduce some cost-cutting measures. It may look like the practical thing to do, but is it the wisest choice? The answer is No, and that is what will be explaining below.


Now is your time to get your consumers’ undivided attention.

Do you know the overall internet time has gone up? People in Kenya are spending more time on Social Media platforms than they did before the pandemic or lockdown was enforced. Brands and businesses, big or small, are missing a trick if they are not looking to capitalize on the current situation. If there is a time to make an impression on your customers, it is now. It is a great time to relieve them of their worries, through the most beautifully crafted brand messaging, or a mid-pandemic ad-campaign, or a personalized emailer.


The main reason many people visit their social media platforms is to blow off some steam, get inspired, or entertained. At such a time, It would be great to come across a piece of communication from their brand of choice. Consumers who are loyal to a particular brand love hearing from them regularly. This can be done through engaging social challenges, competitions, and various tactical elements. This maintains the existing rapport and also helps in establishing lifetime loyalty. Would you want your customer to switch over to a competitor‘s brand just because you were timid enough to put your marketing on pause, would you?


It is important to look into the future cause of action.

 As history has taught us, humans eventually fought out pandemics such as this, and eventually, things regained normalcy. It will not be long before we come out of this crisis. For businesses in Kenya to enjoy a vein of success once normalcy is restored, they will have to take advantage of this time to gain their consumers’ undivided attention.


Otherwise, it will be out of sight, out of mind, which will be inevitable. Also, this would be a great time for brands to try and broaden their customer base by budgeting on brand awareness and customer engagement programs. This in turn positions a brand to leverage maximum sales when customers do regain their purchasing power. In order to do that, it’s crucial that brands have a proper marketing strategy and plan in place. Most importantly, they should not look to limit their marketing endeavors by any significant margin.


While some experts say brands in Kenya should not be shouting from the rooftops at this time; some say brands shouldn’t go dark. Meaningful relationships can be built and maintained even during a crisis. Digital Marketers in Kenya should use this time to reinforce consumer relationships by improving their marketing campaigns and Strengthen the organization’s Brand Positioning During COVID-19

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Three actionable guidelines for communications during Covid-19:

  • No need to avoid humor in difficult times, but the ‘feel-good’ factor must be anchored in practical initiatives tackling (physical or mental) health during the pandemic.
  • Don’t just focus on product attributes and functionality, brands in Kenya should create relevant communications by aligning themselves with a wider, evolving cultural meaning of their brand values and assets.
  • Brands should communicate authenticity and empathy. They should connect with consumers by addressing the daily difficulties of the ‘new reality’ head-on, however trivial.


Here are some (Check link for some inspiration) Memorable Stay Home Ad Campaigns by Brands for COVID-19. These Brands are keeping their buyer persona interested through creative and memorable advertising. These times will be over and what companies do now will be remembered in the future.

marketing in times of covid-19 in kenya

We at Growthpad Digital Consulting will take you into a journey of exploring lead generation ideas and strategies that are specifically tested and proven to deliver you results. Engage us today by booking a FREE 30 minutes strategy session with our team here.

Growthpad Digital Consulting
Growthpad Digital Consulting
We are a digital media and tech consulting firm headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with operations across East Africa. E: [email protected]   P: +254 701 850 850

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