Towards the end of 2020, many marketing directors reflect on the successes of this year. Although many of us have adjusted to the "new normal," we still have great uncertainty about the future of remote collaboration and marketing. This begs some questions: How will the effects of Covid-19 change the future of marketing? How do we rely on marketing technology? Will future strategies be cross-functional communication?
We sat down with Carina Brandt – Senior Director Marketing Communications for the Cooling Division at Danfoss, a leading electronics and energy company.
Carina Brandt has worked for Danfoss Cooling for the past 8 years as the head of global marketing communications teams in various regions and countries. Your teams are responsible for promoting products that are essential for commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The MarComm team focuses on market communication – including direct channels for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and indirect channels for sales and equipment installers.
Do you think COVID accelerated operations at Danfoss?
CB: We were in good shape when COVID hit, as we were already used to working virtually with each other.
Of course, we also had the shock of not being able to go to the office. Whereas before we had a choice of whether to take our calls from home or to the office and have some kind of social interaction from one day to the other. Now we no longer have that choice. We quickly overcame these opponents by scheduling more meetings, but keeping them short to encourage agility.
COVID brought us a lot closer. When we work with teams in France, India and Denmark, we don't necessarily take the time each week or day to check in with each other and say, "How are you today?" And just chat. So COVID has actually brought us much closer together. We were used to having these really regular updates together, but we weren't used to actually turning that webcam on.
Can you describe what the analog version of the sale looked like before it all went digital? Did the salespeople meet with customers in person?
CB: In different scenarios you have the sales rep who visits the OEMs and discusses projects or potential projects. A lot of PowerPoint was used, but there was also wandering around in the client area and talking about their project challenges. Customers brought in several people from their team to assess their problems and find solutions to fill in any gaps.
What kind of experiments have the teams done since the pandemic this year?
CB: One of our strengths in the market at Danfoss is that people turn to us to learn. They know that in every HVCR we are really good at application skills. So you would actually turn to our experts to learn a maximum of things.
Ten years ago we developed Danfoss e-learning. It's a huge collection of courses that can be attended 24/7. We also run webinars in English with global speakers. Webinars went from low priority and low-demand in the local language to hundreds of webinars scheduled within a few weeks, with thousands of people registering worldwide.
In terms of experimentation, we looked at the webinars that attracted most of the people. We noticed that attendees wanted more webinars but had a lot of questions on different topics. That's why we did live Q&A sessions. This way we can have a live Q + A on various social media channels to answer any questions that arise during the webinars and other questions during the live sessions.
Without knowing how long the first live Q&A session would be, we let the speaker go live on Youtube for two hours and 20 minutes answering questions. We experimented with different social platforms to conduct Q&A sessions and all of them were successful. Live streaming is clearly a relevant format for our audience.
How has COVID affected physical events?
CB: We were supposed to have five big events this year, but all of them have been canceled due to COVID. With the success of all webinars, we are planning a large digital event with 75 live sessions over two days. This initiative is very exciting as it involves many different departments outside of the MarComm team. In order for attendees to network with others, we are offering attendees multiple breakout sessions based on language and topics so they can get in touch with the event attendees.
At this event, many stakeholders have to step in front of the live camera to talk about their passion while also answering people's questions. We are very happy about this event.
How do you localize / translate all of your content, including webinars?
CB: We have created a library especially for the webinars. So basically everything we already had was made available centrally.
For other content, we have all local teams upload content to a central system so that each team can translate and localize for the respective region or country.
How do you work together in planning global campaigns?
CB: We have a lot of digital collaboration tools, including teams, so our teams can run the meetings and work together. However, most of the collaboration takes place between people using our SharePoint system, email, and other communication tools.
Through our regular collaboration with the global and regional teams, we can develop new ideas for content and marketing initiatives for all regions and countries. Since the pandemic, these virtual stand-ups have enabled us to experiment, activate quickly and be successful even in difficult times like these.
Overall, virtual work has enabled us to work more closely together and better plan for future campaigns.
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Originally published on October 28, 2020 at 6:36 pm