Article was previously published in Advertising Week’s AW360 @ advertisingweek360.com
Marketing during a far-reaching, fast-moving global pandemic may seem like an impossible feat. With lifestyles and focus of attention drastically altered, now is the time your brand needs to make sure it’s not only staying relevant but also addressing the crisis head-on by furthering the conversation and providing genuine support to your customers and your community. And, of course, at some point there will be a time to get back to promoting your business again. Now, from the Firewood strategy team, here are some tactics for assessing your marketing strategy and pivoting your messaging in times of crisis.
You’ve likely already taken the very first step in marketing during a crisis and stopped all planned, business-as-usual marketing efforts. But where to go from there? To map out a clear strategy for moving forward you must begin by assessing the effect of the crisis on your customers and your operation.
With this assessment in hand, move forward to craft messaging and content that will provide value and resonate with your customer base.
Marketing during difficult times can be extremely tricky and calls for a well-thought-out approach that will need to be closely monitored and constantly adjusted to respond to a changing landscape of events.
The “do no harm” approach marketing-wise is to avoid anything that can harm your brand image or reputation. Ensure all on-the-fly and planned communication will not offend anyone or appear insensitive during a difficult time. While “do no harm” is the baseline, you should strive for execution on a scale of good, better, and best based on the resources available to you.
Appropriate content and tone
It can be difficult to determine what kind of content to deliver, what to say, and how to say it, especially when sensitivities may run high. A good rule of thumb is to always consider the perspective of your audience—how this crisis affects them and what will make them feel supported. Here are some guidelines on the good, better, best scale:
Once you’ve got your messaging down, where can you get the most visibility? Well, a lot depends on your audience. Seek out the channels they have frequented in the past and research which channels are trending.
Providing support and relief
First things first: Any support and relief efforts you undertake should be done with a genuine desire to help. That said, there are many, many ways to help during a crisis. Think of what unique skills, materials, or operations your brand brings to the table—and then get creative.
A crisis at the magnitude of a global pandemic is likely something that none of us had considered or prepared for. But, as marketers, we’re trained for this—we’re trained to evaluate shifting market conditions and respond quickly. So move forward with your customers in mind, be a supportive neighbor and community member, and focus on providing support first while easing into crisis-adjusted business-as-usual campaigns that promote solidarity and hope for the future. We’re all in this together.