As we enter month two of quarantine, self-isolation, and processing the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re left with a lot of question marks—when will it be safe to stop worrying? What will be the long term effects? How do we adapt? Maneuvering through these times of uncertainty and caution has also raised questions for many in our industry as brands search for the right way to keep their marketing momentum, yet remain sensitive to the current climate.
There are no easy answers for businesses navigating these troubled times. However, there are a few approaches that can help you connect with customers, ensure your message resonates, and build a trusting customer following that will see you through to better days.
When you don’t know what to say, the easiest thing to do is stay silent, but it’s not the time to hibernate from your audience. Avoid being silent. Brands are a key source of information right now and consumers want to know how a company is addressing the challenges posed by this pandemic, from protecting the well-being of employees and the public to handling sales and customer support. New data from a special report about Coronavirus even reveals the critical role that brands play. In a global market study of 12,000 people, 65% said that how brands respond to the pandemic will have a “huge impact” on their likelihood to purchase a brand’s products.
Skip the promotions
At the moment, marketing may require a shift in strategy as people social distance from one another. One strategy to avoid, however, is capitalizing on these conditions. Now isn’t the time to launch a quarantine promotion, and fellow marketing experts agree that using coronavirus as a sales hook strikes the wrong tone. People are vulnerable and brands that focus their messaging on solutions versus selling will resonate more with consumers and leave a lasting positive impression.
Let actions talk
Amidst the chaos and doom, brands are coming together to do some pretty cool things. Nike and Gap started using their factories to produce masks and protective equipment for healthcare workers while Ford and 3M are helping to engineer ventilators. Adobe immediately made Creative Cloud available to K-12 institutions. Coca Cola has lent its social media channels to experts and partners like Feeding America, Salvation Army, and others to offer a larger audience for sharing helpful information. Dove has launched a new “Courage is Beautiful” campaign that shows the faces of healthcare workers marked by the battle wounds of their protective gear. People are looking to brands to support the communities and use their influence for good. Not sure where to start? Reach out and let’s brainstorm creative, genuine ways your brand can be part of the solution.
Get social (at a distance, of course)
Are you using social media to advertise? You don’t have to check your screen time report to know that all of us are spending way more time on our phones and social media. With everyone having to isolate themselves from friends, coworkers, and even family, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all things digital have become a crutch for staying connected and sharing information. By shifting your marketing budget to more digital and social platforms, it offers the opportunity to reach new people, take a more personal approach to messaging, and measure how audiences respond in real-time.
A brand’s relationship with its customers is always important but now it holds even more weight. It’s a time to explore the meaningful roles we can all play; how we can share information, offer hope in a time of worry, or a moment of normalcy. We’re all having to adapt to new ways of operating, thinking, and communicating during these unprecedented circumstances, and working together will make the greatest impact. Let’s get started!