The topic no one can seem to stop talking about is the coronavirus. But as more and more people — and brands — join the conversation, is what they’re saying actually helping?
It’s clear most brands, if not all, have made a huge shift in their marketing and advertising messaging. From commercials to emails, it seems that every brand has something to say about the pandemic and the situation it’s caused in the world today.
But marketing for the sake of marketing doesn’t do anybody any good. Your content needs to be relevant, yes, but it also needs to make sense for your brand and deliver a message that is right for your audience.
Here are three things to consider when marketing during COVID-19:
1. Be authentic.
Not every brand needs to join the conversation surrounding the coronavirus, while others have a duty to share important information about how they’re handling things.
Whatever message you choose to share, it must be in line with your brand’s goals. Though it may be a different message than what your brand usually shares, it should feel like it’s coming from the same voice as it always does.
In a recent ad, Ford tweaked its familiar taglines of “Built to Last” and “Built Tough” to adhere to the current crisis. The ads share new versions of the tagline: “Built for Right Now” and “Built to Lend a Hand.”
These taglines sit right in line with Ford’s typical messaging and don’t feel out of place. As you’re creating your own messaging during this time, remember to stay true to your brand and share content that makes sense for your brand. Don’t try to force it — your audience will know if you’re being inauthentic.
2. Be helpful.
What does your audience need most right now? If it’s not your product or services, don’t try to market them anyway. Think of how you can shift your messaging to help fulfill your customers’ needs.
It may be as simple a message as “we’re here for you” such as McDonald’s message in their new “Lights On” ad. The ad doesn’t try to push or sell McDonald’s food. Instead, it focuses on merely letting their customers know that they’re open during this time.
For other brands, like financial companies, messaging may need to do more than just let people know you’re available. Many people have a lot of questions right now, specifically surrounding finances, and they may need to know how your company plans to address them.
On their Twitter feed, Chase has shared simple video posts that each highlight an important question for their customers, including one on paying bills online and another on whether or not branches are open.
Focus on how your brand can provide value during this time. Your customers will be looking to you for help, and you need to keep them informed.
3. Be sensitive.
In this unprecedented time, it’s an understatement to say there’s a lot of worry and fear out there. And that means brands really need to watch their tones.
Now is not the time to poke fun or be overly celebratory. Instead, focus on being informative and sharing important info with your customers. You want to help people through the crisis, not add to it.
In a new ad from Apple, the brand shares clips of people, famous and not, being creative during the crisis. While the clips feature Apple products, there is no pushing or overt selling. The only direct message from Apple comes at the end: “creativity goes on.”
The ad focuses on empathy and inspiration, a tone that fits well with the current climate. Your brand also needs to find a way to fit into the ongoing conversation.
The coronavirus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the brands that come out on top at the end of all this will be the ones who knew how to give their customers what they needed.