The coronavirus has changed the world in unprecedented ways. Schools have closed. Graduation ceremonies are canceled. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, homes, and even loved ones. The global economy sits in an uncertain, and unpredictable place
Even if you believe the pandemic is over and we can begin reopening, we’re still going to be recovering from the financial and emotional impact of the pandemic for a very long time. That, more than anything, seems to be the thing businesses are forgetting. As a result, many marketing campaigns are reacting to
We’re seeing too many otherwise well-meaning brands are treating the pandemic as more of a marketing opportunity than a global crisis. Each one is, in broad strokes, making similar mistakes both in their messaging and their overall approach. These are the mistakes your organization cannot afford to make itself.
Lack of Sincerity
Take a look at your inbox. How many emails have you received from businesses that claim they ‘care about you’ and are ‘sticking with you during this difficult time?’ If you’re like most of us, the answer is too many.
Brands are attempting to hop on the bandwagon and demonstrate to customers that they care, but they’re doing so in a way that comes off as completely insincere. Instead of actually focusing on empathy and understanding and making an effort to provide customers with the things they need, they spout empty platitudes.
You need to demonstrate that you’re addressing the developing situation responsibly. Create an interim landing page for your business. Provide special offers like free trials and discounts to help people along.
Don’t just say you care, show it.
And if you do decide to release messaging about the pandemic, whether it’s a blog post, an email, or an update to your site copy, review it with other people in your organization. Your goal here is to answer two questions as directly and concisely as you can:
- What is your response to the pandemic?
- How will you allocate your people and resources to help others?
Trying to Force Business as Usual
On the opposite end of the spectrum, too many businesses are trying to pretend nothing’s wrong at all. Customers are receiving flashy ads about hot summer sales, all-inclusive resort deals, and cheap flight offers. These are, to be blunt, utterly tone-deaf, and have the potential to cause significant damage to your brand’s reputation.
Just as people don’t want to be flooded with messaging about COVID-19, they also don’t want businesses to act like things are completely normal. They aren’t. Maybe they never will be again.
People are looking for the care of neighbors, the comfort of family, and the support of friends and colleagues. Your simple, essential job, is to respond to the crisis at hand. Take what business you can into the digital realm, scale back your marketing, and focus on helping your own employees get through their day-to-day.
Trying to Be an Authority
Unless you are an infectious disease expert, government authority, or representative of a public health organization, don’t go overboard with details about COVID-19. Stick to your wheelhouse, and link only to trusted sources for details and updates. Larger brands especially hold some degree of moral authority in the public eye, so it’s important that you don’t use your reach to spread misinformation.
Do not try to mandate how people should be spending their time during the pandemic. Do not guilt people about struggling, and don’t try to come across as a medical expert if you aren’t one. Be supportive, not overbearing.
You need to be more than a public face for your business. Listen. Reassure. Respond.
Most importantly, acknowledge that these are difficult and uncertain times. Marketing plays an important role in helping customers get through them. Understand that, and do your part, even if it may not be immediately profitable.