The world continues to face unprecedented changes with the coronavirus outbreak. Beyond the vast medical complexities, shifts in the global economy are leaving many industries crippled and forcing brands to adapt strategic plans and creative approaches across the board.
Our deep bench in issues management and value-driven content offers strategic messaging advice for marketers to navigate their brands through the COVID-19 outbreak.
1. Be authentic and useful.
There is no more important time to strengthen your value proposition, as well as to identify situationally relevant ways to engage customers, prospects and business partners.
Why does your brand matter in this time, and how can it help people address pragmatic challenges?
People across the world are coping with a new, stressful and uncertain reality. Consider what your brand stands for and how you can demonstrate those values by helping customers deal with this situation. If you’re an outdoor brand, send an email to your database with tips on how to practice social distancing on hikes. If your brand is all about the home, share your knowledge with a homebound world, like ways to set up a beautiful and productive home office. Or, take some inspiration from Ford’s “Built to Lend a Hand” spot.
2. Offer proactive details.
Preemptively answering the questions your customers aren’t even sure they have yet portrays your organization’s ingenuity in addressing the CDC guidelines. Honeygrow recently emailed its followers its painstaking takeout-only protocols, including propping doors open for customers’ no-hands entrance and exit, and scanning and recording all employees’ temperatures daily. Brands that take action are relevant and newsworthy.
3. Promote your adaptability.
Many companies have had to get scrappy retooling their business model to combat the COVID-19 crisis and stay financially viable. One example is Time Out New York, which recently rebranded itself as “Time In New York” and now focuses on stories like “The 40 best movies on Netflix right now.” But with so much happening in the lives of your customers, it’s not enough to change your business method--you have to tell people about it. Use a direct mail piece, email and set of social media ads to promote your tweaked offering, or co-sponsor a content piece with a publisher looking to cover unique business model shifts.
4. Lean on digital (and capture leads!).
With troves of customers even more attached to their devices,brands should consider the full digital ecosystem as part of the marketing toolbox– from paid search ads to influencer marketing and CRM automation. Spending downtime now ensuring your website is set up to capture leads (email, name, address, phone for texting) will enable you to remarket to and cultivate these customers over time.
5. Don’t appear opportunistic.
Companies must resist the urge to push their products in a way that ignores the coronavirus crisis. For instance, a social post that promotes stocking up on a frozen food product “before it’s all gone!” is more likely to turn off customers and do more damage than good in the long run. Acknowledge the challenges your customers are facing and be the empathetic brand that helps.
6. Let your heritage help.
At a time when the world feels unmoored, brands with longevity that’ve weathered past storms offer consumers reassurance, resolve and survival narrative that gives consumers confidence.
7. Make a sensitive pivot.
Much like Saturday Night Live posed the question “can we be funny?” when they went back on-air September 29, 2001, there will come a time when a brand’s duty is to help reinvigorate the economy–both its own and the world’s. By example, in the wake of other recent downturns, Ford offered payment relief to consumers affected by natural disasters like hurricanes, fires and tornados.
We at the Karma Agency are doing our part to combat this crisis by working from home. The good news: we’re ready to help. We help brands across a variety of industries--everything from premium home products to cancer foundations--tackle their thorniest marketing challenges. Please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.