In this time of fear and panic, the impact on businesses cannot be understated. Keeping yourself safe and healthy should be your number one priority, but for many entrepreneurs keeping your business running smoothly and afloat is a close second. To help guide you through these tumultuous times, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Dos and Don'ts for Marketing during the Coronavirus pandemic:
Just continue as business as usual.
It may seem obvious, but this needs to be said. Currently, countries are restricting flights, factories are closing, universities are moving fully online – this crisis is going to impact your business in one way or another. This is not the time to believe that your particular business is immune to it. It is also not the time to believe that the impact would be the worst for you, unless of course you continue business as usual.
Rethink and prepare
It is predicted that 40-70% of the world’s population will be infected with the coronavirus by the end of the year; and some scientists are suggesting it may take over a year to create a vaccine and administer it for public use. Essentially, it will most likely get worse before it gets better. Part of being proactive is attempting to prepare yourself for any potential issues. Asking yourself some of these questions:
- What measure do I need to enact to make sure my customers feel safe?
- How will this change consumer demands?
- Will government intervention affect my business?
While you will still face obstacles, having a pre-emptive approach will put you in good stead and will get you more accustomed to the emergent approach to business strategy.
Think timeliness. For most people, worrying about their food, health, and job and income is their primary concern, and self-promotion efforts will not stick.It is better to redirect those efforts to other marketing strategies that reflect your understanding of the issues that most are facing. Ask yourself this question:
“what can I offer my clients or the wider public that will help my business but will also be useful to them?”
Depending on your business this could be anything from online seminars to financial planning. The point here is, at the moment, less can be more. Use this opportunity to restructure your plans.
If you were a runner, it’d be time to catch your breath. Analyse what has worked in the past, and know you can always resume that later, but right now be valuable and rethink what your people really need.
Communicate and update
People want to be reassured that you are being proactive during this crisis. They want to feel safe with your business. Open and honest communication about what measures you’ve taken to keep them safe is extremely important. More so for businesses where people come to premises. Update your customers about how you’ve responded to the crisis. How you are managing your team and suppliers. Be direct.Be open.
Try to capitalise on the panic. Be good.
Looking to profit during the coronavirus is an extremely bad look and needless to say not the right thing for any business. Below is a post from the last week
The popularity of publicly shaming any business or individual trying to turn a profit during the Covid-19 crisis is a clear indicator of the public’s current sentiment.
Goodwill is what will generate positive brand impressions. For example NBA players who have donated part of their salary to ensure stadium staff still have living wages, and Jack Ma’s donation of face masks have both generated a lot of positive press in recent weeks. Below is another example of positive press from Taco Bell that was released today:
These examples send a clear message: do good and people will applaud you. It is also an opportunity to create positive publicity for yourself and business. While this shouldn’t purely be done for the marketing benefits, making the most of your goodwill will do nothing but good things for your brand.
Be transparent and empathetic
People are scared and panicking, they don’t want to see you as a business, they want to see you as a person that reflects their values. Taking an empathetic and sombre approach is the best strategy to allow customers to build an affinity and trust toward your brand. People want to know that you are also worried, and that you’re taking effective actions to overcome the coronavirus. If seen as genuine and effective, your brand will be seen as personable, responsible, trustworthy and conscientious. However, be careful, if you do not seem genuine you will appear to be attempting to profit, which would garner extremely negative impressions (as indicated above).
Run ads conflicting with the mood of the public
This is a very important one. A lot of brands have campaigns rolled out months ago, but not reviewing and rethinking your advertising strategy in the current climate can be detrimental to your brand. I Even for products that people desire (e.g. Lysol disinfectant wipes), if the ads seem out of touch, it will affect how people perceive your brand.
A twitter user’s distaste for a Lysol advertisement
Twitter user’s negative impression of a “Share now” advertisement
Essentially, revise all your ad campaigns (planned or running) and make sure they are appropriate for the market’s current sentiment.
I was listening to a radio ad for a Telco advertising $5 daily call pass when holidaying overseas ! Its possible with traditiional media some ad creatives might be locked in. The advantage with digital is that you can change your message on the fly.
Create a strong online presence
With people in self-quarantine, and work places and institutions shut down, everyone is now moving online. For your business, this means having a strong online presence is now more important than ever. Things such as SEO will be a big reason for your success and maybe even growth in these trying times as businesses cut down on spend
Stop running online ads
Part of building your online presence is continuing to run your ads, as long as it doesn’t conflict with Covid-19 issues - e.g. you don’t want to be running ads for hand sanitizer when you know you will be out of stock for the next 3 weeks. The majority of digital marketers actually see this as an opportunity. The uptick in remote workers is predicted to correlate with an uptick in online impressions and sales. In essence, running online ads is seen to be the most effective method to reach new audiences at the moment. Just in the last week the avg CPCs on Google dropped between 18-22% across categories.
Restrategise approach and rethink communication channels
One key way to be proactive is to re-allocate budgets to different communications channels and marketing strategies. For example, B2B companies spend around 40% of their marketing budget on events and trade shows, however not only is this an unviable marketing strategy right now, it is also unsafe. Create new ways to communicate with your audience and generate leads, online marketing is the obvious choice, but there are also alternatives such as online conferences, content generation, or crafting safety messages for smaller events, just to list a few. Try your best to inform yourself about how your customers will be affected by the coronavirus and rethink what channels they’ll be using and how you can best reach and reassure them.
Ultimately, you need to look at your business through a whole new lens. Use this list as a launch pad, the starting point from where you can begin to rethink your business strategies and approaches. When the world is in a panic, you need to keep a cool head.
Let us review your marketing in light of the current environment, and explore new opportunities. Opportunities to pivot your product/service, geography, demographics or distribution and turn this crisis into a commercial opportunity?
We live and breathe business strategy and marketing, so even though the times are tough, with the right team and strategy you can still thrive. Talk to us. Call or send an email today.