Every day we’re seeing stories shared that really highlight the best of humanity – and the worst. One thing’s for sure, coronavirus is changing social opinion on both life and business.
We’ve already seen several popular companies react in the complete wrong way with very little recourse to back pedal (and very few people interested in hearing about it if they did).
How your business conducts itself during coronavirus, and the choices it makes will be remembered long after all this is over – as will the ramifications.
Marketing during coronavirus is a new territory for all – so here are 4 ways to stay on track:
1. Do keep your customer’s informed of what you’re doing
Now isn’t the time to go silent, customers want reassurance – particularly if you provide an important product for self-isolation. Tell them what you’re doing – staying open, working from home etc.
Tell them how you’re going to make sure you’re still available for them, the customer. Tell them what you’re doing for your employees – a company that looks after its employees in a crisis will be remembered far more favourably once this is all over than one that hasn’t (Tim Martin of Wetherspoons springs to mind).
A little bit goes a long way right now.
2. Be careful of marketing messages – don’t use Covid-19 as a sales opportunity
How you phrase your marketing messages right now is crucial. Do not be the company that makes light of the situation. Or the company that focusses on the wrong thing – i.e. making money off the crisis.
One of the worst things you can do right now is market it into a sales opportunity – e.g “stuck at home? Perfect time to buy xyz.”
This isn’t to be confused by companies offering hitherto paid for products for free or available for a limited amount of time.
For example, a lot of educational companies have made their programs available to the masses. This is great. And it’s okay to use this as marketing material provided it’s done tactfully.
One company, however, (naming no names) has offered this with the caveat of a mandatory purchase after. This is not okay.
3. Think long term
It’s not too early (from a marketing perspective) to start thinking about what happens once this is over. The long-term ramifications are hard to predict right now, but we can make some fairly accurate assumptions.
For example, commercial consumption will certainly decline as its predicted 25% of people will lose their jobs during this. Your marketing needs to consider that – what long term effects will this have on your business and how will you counteract it? Think about your messaging and what you can offer to ensure people return to you once this is over.
Take what you build during this crisis and make it marketable afterwards. For example, maybe you have a huge new mailing list – utilise it but be wary of the source. People who came to you during this will need to be marketed to differently afterwards.
It will remain vital that you are not seen as profiting from COVID-19.
4. Help as much as you can
If you have the resources or time or whatever else to help during this crisis, you should – we all have a moral obligation.
That aside, as we’ve already discussed, this is where the faith in your branding comes in. People will remember how you responded during the crisis and return to you afterwards if you handled it well.