“Make no mistake—we must prepare for an ongoing crisis. This will not be a crisis that will go away any time soon. As marketers, don’t keep marketing with your head in the sand,” (Adweek, Kristen Ruby, March 12th, 2020). As government officials and healthcare professionals try their best in getting ahead of this pandemic rather than falling behind it, marketers and brands should strive to stay prepared and ahead of their brand strategy as well. Although it is impossible to stay completely prepared during an evolving and rapidly changing crisis, having some structure in your work and planning will give you and your team a sense of organization, and your audience a sense of ease as well, as they see their favorite brands are not losing hope and are still providing meaningful content for their audience, a way to really show that brand cares about their viewers.
According to ClickReady Marketing, all brands should be asking themselves; What are we doing to help the community? How do we want our audience to think of us during this crisis? And what are we doing to make life easier for our audience/customers? (clickreadyMarketing.com). Many brands have been doing a great job of staying relevant in the market while creating content that almost has nothing to do with their actual brand. For example, Boulevard Burger’s St. Pete is a delicious restaurant that serves some of our favorite Burgers and eats. Recently, Boulevard Burgers announced they will be service Free burgers for those in need from 12 PM to 4 PM. This is a great way for a brand to stay involved during a time where getting business could be close to impossible. Although Boulevard is not a non-profit organization or a business that has ever really been known for charity work specifically, they decided to put the needs of the people first, rather than their own. And this is a really great way to show your brand’s core values, rather than your brand colors, style, or typical messaging. Doing something for the good of your own community can have a great lasting and positive effect on your overall brand image, and could greatly and positively impact your business when the doors are ready to open again.
Keep it real.
“In the complex and uncertain environment of a sustained, evolving crisis, the most robust organizations will not be those that simply have plans in place but those that have continuous sensing and response capabilities. As Darwin noted, the most adaptive species are the fittest.” (harvardbusinessreview.org, Nitin Nohria). Most consumers and especially the younger and rising generation, definitely value ‘real’ marketing and messaging. No fluff, just plain, simple, and understandable. In times of a crisis, it is especially important to stay real, address certain issues straight frowardly and without making it seem that your brand is trying to do everything it can to cover the fact that there is a great and serious pandemic on our hands. Addressing this fact seriously, but with hope and patience for a better future, will do your brand a great service, compared to ones that do not address it at all and post content as they usually would on any given week. Let your viewers know you are here and you are present.
Being able to adapt, especially, is very important and brands must be aware that in a case like this, it could be close to impossible to completely prepare for every single and every step ahead. The brands that are willing to stay fluid and adapt to the marketing, and consumer climate each day and week, will most likely be the most prominent brands in that consumer’s mind, and will also come out of this crisis without a great loss to their business, but instead a great gain to their overall image and business.
Things can change, and that’s okay.
Things may change, as an evolving pandemic tends to, and therefore, you must be prepared to as well. Whether it be focusing on shifting your messaging or creating content on the day of release, it’s okay to feel that you are not as ‘on top’ of each project or campaign as you used to. What’s important is to stay calm, create, and keep your audience reminded of the fact that you are all people too, and your sense of hope and resilience during this time can be inspiring and uplifting to your audience and to yourselves. Challenge your brand to stay connected with your viewers, create content that is relatable and meaningful. For example, fun things to do while in Quarantine? Starting a fun social media challenge for viewers to have fun and stay occupied? Whatever it may be, your viewers will appreciate the fact that you took the time to think of their needs, and that you are focusing on something positive during an unusually negative time. Keep creating, and keep adapting!
After the pandemic is over, will you continue to implement these strategies?