Marketing in the age of the Coronavirus

In normal times, marketing is not without its share of challenges. And since mid March 2020, the life of marketers just got much more challenging and it will be that way for the foreseeable future. Given the tragic turn of events related to COVID-19, the instinct for many businesses and organizations is to cut marketing expenses in order to conserve resources. But it is important to fight the urge to make drastic changes, evaluate what’s working and then take measured and strategic steps to successfully navigate the storm and continue marketing in the age of the Coronavirus.

Here are some areas you should consider as you maintain a marketing presence in this new reality. 

Don’t ignore the obvious 

There is no way of not noticing the flood of eerily similar messages around us. It seems that every spot on-air begins with a somber piano track accompanied by images of weary healthcare professionals, grocery clerks, or other essential workers. These commercials remind us that while life is tough right now, we are all in this together and will eventually pull through. Keep in mind that despite similarities and melding of these ads they do position brands as empathetic to the plight of the audience and work to maintain a close connection to consumers.

While acknowledging the situation and being supportive has its benefits, brands should also look to pivot their normal messaging to something that is both relevant and can improve their customer’s well-being. For consumers worried about being able to make their next car, rent, or mortgage payments, every little bit that they can save helps.

Look for ways to make things a little easier with an offer to extend payment plans or waiving delivery fees. Giving back to local organizations that offer real help to people in need – such as a portion of proceeds that go directly to local food banks, or through supporting efforts to assist local small businesses are great examples of supporting the broader community.

Use your platform to promote these local efforts such as the In This Together campaign which supports local small businesses through t-shirt and merch sales. Proceeds are used to purchase gift cards from local businesses that are then distributed to those most in need.

Merch Aid provides similar assistance by directly supporting small New York, Los Angeles and Austin area businesses and artists through branded merchandise sales.   

The safety of the people shall be the highest law.


Prioritize the Health of Your Customers and Staff

The importance of businesses providing a safe environment, not only for consumers but also for their employees, is not only a key factor in getting back to life post lockdown, it also helps shine a light on your brand being part of the solution. 

If possible, emphasize attentiveness to creating a safe environment through rigorous sanitization practices. This is relevant not only for restaurants and essential retail establishments but also for service providers like AC service companies or automotive shops.  

Companies that also make an effort to care for “essential workers” during the pandemic show consumers they understand how essential staff is to their success while they continue to show up for work, putting themselves at risk during the height of the outbreak. Well-known brands such as HEB and Chipotle have extended pay increases and/or bonuses for employees. Consumers will take notice of these gestures and it will have a positive impact post-pandemic. Don’t lose sight of the potential long-term brand equity benefits this will produce due to focusing solely on short-term results.

While the actual length of time this new reality will be in effect is debatable, it is clearly an event that will produce some lasting changes. Now is not the time to disengage. Show how your brand can help and be part of the solution. Today’s marketing actions have implications for the future of your brand.

Our team can help you craft and adapt your brand’s story in these historic times. Let us know if you need help know navigating these uncharted waters of marketing in the age of the Coronavirus.

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