I think it’s safe to say that COVID-19 has caused financial disarray for businesses in all industries. As a result, many businesses placed their marketing on hold in order to cut expenses during these trying financial times. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, nearly 25% of brands have “gone dark”. But as industry analysts have discovered, consumers still want to hear from their favourite brands at this time. If you stopped marketing your business, I encourage you to pick it back up, albeit in a slightly different way. Now’s the time to turn on your brand “lights” again and start interacting with your customers to reestablish your brand presence.
To get started, here are my recommendations for creating an appropriate brand message during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Focus on being genuine
As much as it may seem like everything these days is related to COVID-19, the reality is that these are unprecedented times and we’ve never quite experienced anything like this before. For this reason, it’s important that your brand acknowledges what’s happening in the world and doesn’t just turn a blind eye to it. If you haven’t already informed your customers about changes to your health and safety policies and procedures to keep them and your employees safe, now is the time to do so. Additionally, I recommend taking a modest approach to the amount of COVID-19 content you share as to not bombard your customers; however, they will appreciate you looking out for them by providing reliable and factual information about the crisis.
- Focus on positivity
No one likes to be around negative energy, and the same goes for businesses. A recent survey found that 46% of customers want to receive content about optimism. It’s easy to become wrapped up in the negative consequences of COVID-19, but there have also been inklings of silver linings. If you or your employees have benefitted in some way from more downtime, include these stories into your brand messaging. Your stories may include spending more time with loved ones, picking up a new hobby, or improvements you’ve made to your business. This is also a great way to engage your customers to see how they’ve been dealing with the pandemic.
- Focus on unity
When all is said and done, your customers will remember which brands were there for them during this time of crisis. You can support your customers in many different ways. If you’re a smaller business, it may be difficult to offer your customers a financial break in terms of discounts for your products or services. Instead, I recommend creating and sharing content that can entertain, educate or inspire your customers and their families. When the time is right, these customers will return the favour and support your business as best they can.
Although you may be desperate to generate revenue, being tone deaf at this time will be worse for your business in the long run. For this reason, I highly suggest utilizing these recommendations to create a brand story that will resonate with your customers. And if you ever need a reminder of what not to do as a brand, here’s a classic example.
Need help with maintaining your brand during COVID-19? Our experts at CreativeWorks Marketing are here to help you now and beyond the pandemic. Contact us to get started today!