The last few weeks have been crazy to say the least with the COVID-19 pandemic. The uncertainty revolving around the situation has disrupted our normal way of life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our leaders, our healthcare workers and all those directly impacted by the coronavirus as we navigate through this challenging time. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the specific things COVID-19 means for marketers and some approaches for working through communications and management.
How to Handle COVID-19 in Your Marketing
Proactive vs. Reactive.
As with any crisis-type communications, it’s best to try to get out in front of any issues or situations as early as possible, in a proactive manner rather than in a reactive way. Timeliness is important, but so is accuracy. With the frenzy of all the “information” circulating on social media and around the web during situations like what we’re seeing with COVID-19, it can be challenging for customers to get the facts. Brands that provide helpful and accurate information in a timely manner begin to develop powerful relationships with potential customers and brand loyalty with current customers. Lysol has done a good job with this as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve.
So what if your brand’s not a cleaning supply company? Proactive messaging regarding COVID-19 can still be appropriate and effective. If you have storefronts, ensure your customers that you are taking all the proper precautions to prevent the spread of sickness. Let them know their health and safety is a top priority. Internal communications are important too. Make sure your team and staff know all that is being done to keep them safe and healthy and a plan of action if an emergency-type situation occurs.
With COVID-19, there is certainly some uncertainty at this point. How long will this last? How many people will be affected? When will things get back to normal? There are a lot of things we don’t know, and that’s ok. It’s often a good strategy for brands to acknowledge what they don’t know and then follow that up with a commitment or promise to do the best they can for the best possible outcome. This helps provide a level of comfort among your audience and nurtures the relationships you have with your customers.
Content Fluidity and Flexibility.
As marketers, we’re planners. We make plans and then we work the plans. In situations like we’re experiencing with COVID-19, we are going to have to adjust some plans. We’ll need to have a degree of fluidity and flexibility with our content. It’s a good idea to review all your scheduled ad, web, email and social content calendars and scheduled posts to make sure there is no irrelevant or potentially insensitive content in your programming based on the here and now with the coronavirus. At Callis, over the past couple weeks, we’ve canceled content, rescheduled content, reworked content and created new content based on the current climate, postponed events and other situational factors. We’ll need to roll with the punches on this one for a little while, and you’ll likely need to too.
We hope COVID-19 is a short-lived pandemic with a relatively minimal impact from a broad perspective. However, at this point, it seems to warrant day-to-day proactive communications, a level of brand and company transparency and flexible planning.
Stay healthy and be safe.