All of us are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Our daily routines, our work routines, and our recreation activities have either gone virtual or limited altogether. Trips to the store, visits with family and friends, and even meetings with colleagues have become a three to six-part preparation and planning exercise.
It’s important to remember this reality we are all facing when we develop marketing for our products, services, and brands. We can’t rely on the content we planned and created back in February. -- Very likely, it needs some serious updating.
Of course, it’s unreasonable to think businesses can halt their operations and marketing efforts altogether and not suffer financial loss. But how do you find the right balance? By being relevant and sensitive to the tone of your messaging.
Even if your business hasn’t had to close or shift to virtual operations, you have had to make adjustments to how your business does business. And that includes your marketing campaigns. Whether you have halted your campaigns entirely, or you have significantly reduced your marketing budget, you did so because we are in uncharted marketing territory with few clear answers for what the future holds. That means we all must regroup and give ongoing laser-focused attention to our marketing content to ensure that we stay relevant and sensitive to shifts in consumer behaviors.
In recent conversations with clients, and after doing some research of our own, we have rounded up 10 tips for adapting your marketing content during the crisis.
1. Don’t use shelved content you created in early March without checking it for insensitive language and questionable tone that could be offensive now. Consider what your key audiences and their loved ones might be going through before you publish any new content. A good litmus test is to ask yourself how you would interpret your content if you had been directly affected by COVID-19.
2. Don’t downplay the crisis or use dismissive language when responding to concerned customers or employees in private, or on public forums. 3. Avoid getting political. No matter your personal views about the economy or the health crisis, marketing messages should always remain neutral, add value, and never suggest a political party preference. 4. Never use humor or puns in anything you create to try and get mass attention on social media. Rarely do these types of stunts go uncriticized and they leave you vulnerable to negative opinions about your business. Poor judgment for the sake of a laugh never results in more sales or client business.
5. Read and reread all of your communications, internally and externally, to check for tone, clarity, relevancy, and grammar. This is the time to build trust with your audiences, and questionable language on a social media post or a pushy, ill-timed promotion can erode consumer confidence in your brand. 6. Turn off your automated campaigns. No two days are the same, and the last thing you want is a scheduled post or digital ad to publish and immediately become irrelevant on a bad news day. 7. Stay on top of the news from reputable sources, and do your own fact-checking to keep yourself informed. This will allow you to evaluate all of your marketing communications through a well-informed lens.
8. Modify the calls-to-action in your promotions. Your messaging should adapt to the changing environment, and your products and services should add value within the current context. Nothing is more “urgent” than the coronavirus pandemic, so avoid using language that comes across as “business first.”
9. Post photos of your employees. Now is the time to humanize your brand with the people behind your company and build on your authenticity.
10. Promote your mission-focused efforts. What is your company doing for its employees? Its clients? The community? Tell those stories. And if it makes sense for your business to partner with a local nonprofit or health institution to help in the crisis, start having those conversations.
We will continue to update this post as we learn more. While we can’t know for sure how marketing practices will shift in the weeks and months ahead, it's critical that we take thoughtful measures to develop empathetic and conscientious content that doesn't harm our customers or our business.
We make creating videos easy. Do you need help producing a digital marketing campaign that communicates how your business is responding to the COVID-19 crisis? Email firstname.lastname@example.org today to speak with someone from our team.