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Brand Strategy to Win Millennials’ Heart during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique opportunity for brands to get closer with millennials through positive impact strategies. According to a study from Berlin Cametron that conducted in partnership with research firm Persky, reports that brands need to step up and help during the pandemic of COVID-19. A study from McCann revealed that only 11 percent of the people in the US believe their government is "very prepared" to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, while in the UK the figure is even lower - six percent, hence brand messaging is more important than ever.


Meanwhile in Indonesia, the trust in government is quite good. Although it is not necessarily coming from the millennial groups. Based on a survey from the Indonesian Public Opinion Research and Discussion Group (KedaiKOPI), it is reported that there is more than 66 percent of society who have trust in the government in handling coronavirus. On the contrary, more than 50 percent of them are in doubt in the health facilities.

The other 30% that distrust the government are a great opportunity for brands to communicate more and deliver the key message regarding this pandemic. The most ideal key message can be delivered by doing social action, giving educative information about COVID-19, and creating creative innovation on digital platforms to interact more with consumers.

As a start, brands can start with the strategy that strengthens its digital platform to interact with audience digitally during the social distancing period. For example, Airbnb shows its support to physical distancing campaign by providing Online Experiences that offers its audience to have authentic experience with each local person from every part in the world, just like one of real traveling moments. In Indonesia, Intiland through one of its newest projects, SQ Res, provides interactive virtual show unit that lets its customers enjoying house and apartment tour and information.


Another approach is to create word-of-mouth strategic communication through influencers in social media platforms. These influencers are great medium for brands to deliver its positive and impactful message through creative ways. Just over a month ago, one of the most famous Indonesian actors, Joe Taslim a.k.a JOTA uploaded an Instagram video that grabs a lot of public attention. This video is about JOTA’s heartfelt failure to do shoots for Ramadhan ads with GoPay that eventually replaced by animation video. JOTA shared his “sincerity” towards the loss ofhis preparation from the Hollywood coach to the colour gradation of his clothes that fit with the GoPay logo. Several days later, JOTA uploads a reply video from CEO GoPay Aldi Haryopratomo who tells him that GoPay will pay the compensation fee. This video is one of exemplary communication marketing using influencer’s creative strategy to widely grab public attention, while at the same time still maintaining its message about GoPay that supports cashless system through a well-chosen ambassador.

Millennials are considered to be close with user-generated content approach, so influencer marketing alone is not enough. Brands should be able to maximise the use of mainstream and popular social media platforms, such as Tiktok that is widely used by the younger generation. This application now has more downloads than Facebook. In addition, Instagram is loved by teenagers ages 14-24. In Indonesia, TikTok has 10 million active users as of June 2018. This opportunity is used by Alodokter to educate people regarding this pandemic by giving information onhow to recognise the Coronavirus symptoms, wash hands properly and in fun ways, and to improve health and immunity to avoid contacting the virus. The use of TikTok by Alodokter refers to the way WHO uses TikTok as a platform to combat “infodemic” about coronavirus.

Another strategy is to have the brands showing humanity side by helping those who are affected from COVID-19. For example, Gojek is actively doing social action that also increases its public trust through its responsiveness to driver-partners. One of them is to stop credit installments for every driver under COVID-19 medical treatment. Moreover, Gojek invites its customers to give tips for drivers during the pandemic by adding nominal amount in tip feature. On the other side, Shopee prepares a stimulus program worth over IDR 100 billion for some affected parties of COVID-19, such as micro, small, and medium business partners.

In conclusion, the most important key to win millennials’ hearts is by increasing the use of strategies via digital platforms and using empathetic stories as they are the generation of social impact. Hence, brands can deliver its positive message as part of active initiative to respond to the pandemic through some digital innovation and activation. Furthermore, brands need to engage and collaborate more with other parties in order to give deeper and broader impact. Another thing to emphasise is the capability of brand to have helicopter view – the ability to see from all sides - as a way to anticipate crisis potential, knowing the fact that millennials are the outspoken generation who are used to constructive feedback and criticism.

Written by: Margaretha Nazhesda


It doesn't come to our surprise when there is plenty of company are holding its communications initiative amidst the pandemic crisis that hit us all recently. However, it is safe to say that we also appraise businesses that maintain their communications, even more, stronger if not being over-communicated to stay relevant to their market. To provide you with a well-rounded arsenal should you decided to come back stronger, drop us your email or visit us here!

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