In this time of unprecedented crisis, many businesses are struggling to balance a need to generate revenue to support continued employment against the stark realities of life amidst a global pandemic. While no one wants to appear to be taking advantage of the situation for financial gain, we must sustain as much commerce as possible to keep our economy moving and people employed. At the same time, people across the country are being inundated with information – much of it alarming, misleading or downright wrong. Introducing marketing into this climate must be done with a thoughtful mix of empathy, value, and a desire to serve rather than sell.
As integrated marketers, our team has gotten together to come up with new best practices gleaned from research, trend data and our experience on the front lines. We hope these pointers will help and if you’ve got some to share please send us your thoughts.
Stay True to Who You Are
Think of your brand as a person. Depending on the situation, that person doesn’t change overall, rather their approach and tone adjusts to the situation. Be true to your brand’s voice while making sure it’s appropriate to the time.
Ikea is a great example of doing it right. Their new #StayHome spot reminds us of our emotional connection to our homes. And it’s not too far from the Stay Home spot they did in 2000 for Finland when times were different. Both spots celebrate being home but appropriately.
Do something relevant and real
All of us have been inundated with messages of “support” from banks, gyms, food delivery services, airlines just to name a few. While it’s great to show you care, now is not the time for empty words. Before sending another customer email or press release make sure you are doing something real and relevant. Some great examples of doing something real including Delta’s CEO giving up his salary; Facebook is giving every employee $1,000 bonus; and Aetna is waving copays delivering medication for free and sending care packages to those infected.
Also keep in mind the most useful information can be shared in a few sentences. If you do decide to reach out, make it brief.
Don’t be afraid to be out there
There are some people putting out really insensitive stuff right now, and just some poorly timed ads, but there are also some great opportunities to reach people when they are “stuck” at home and on their computers, phones, and streaming TV services. Your message can be that guiding light in a world of despair. Or maybe you just offer tacos (pick up or delivery, of course).
Let’s face it, you’re going to need to stay flexible and make adjustments as you go. Facebook, Google, and other major advertising platforms are all trying to figure it out on the daily just as you will need to. But hopefully, as an advertiser, that’s what you do best.