In the last few months, I’ve spoken with lots of business owners who are keen to forge ahead with their plans for growth in spite of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, they are still worried about coming across as crass, insensitive or just downright out of touch by trying to maintain a good brand presence during these tricky times.
A lot has changed in the global market since March, and as we enter the final quarter of 2020, companies are extremely cautious about meeting the changing needs of consumers, not to mention navigating their understandably sensitive emotional state.
So how can they, and YOU, continue to raise your brand profile (and hit your sales targets) in a COVID-sensitive way?
Make it clear you’re up to speed with the situation
Don’t try to pretend that COVID doesn’t exist! I’ve seen a few brands take a ‘business as usual’ approach to their marketing, with no mention of how the pandemic whatsoever. You don’t need to link every single piece of content back to coronavirus, but you do need to at least acknowledge the effect it’s having on your business if you want people to be able to relate to you.
Also, if COVID rules and regulations are having an impact on the way you operate, you need to let your customers know what they should expect. Maybe COVID disruptions are leading to longer delivery times. Perhaps you have had to introduce extra safety measures at your venue. In any case, honest and personable communication is key to maintaining relationships with the people in your network and protecting your brand’s integrity.
Avoid cliché messaging
We know we’re living in unprecedented times. We’re sick of hearing all about the ‘new normal’. And we’re certainly bored stiff of being told we need to come together now, more than ever. (What does that even mean, anyway?!)
The fact is, there are lots of words and phrases that were overused in the marketing space earlier in the year, and at this point in the pandemic, we need to bin them off.
Picking default phrases from a long list of COVID buzzwords will irritate your audience into giving up on your brand. Steer clear of cliches, and swap default coronavirus language for honest, straight-from-the-heart messaging instead.
Don’t talk politics
As an individual, you’re totally entitled to your opinion. As a brand, you may even want to be open about where you sit on the political spectrum. But now is not the time to use your business as a platform to promote your political views. At best, you’ll isolate people who can’t align with your beliefs; at worst, you’ll end up in a social media spat that will cause irreparable damage to the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.
Be flexible with your marketing strategy
If you’re one of those marketers who likes to prepare your marketing communications well in advance, that’s fine (and quite admirable) – but be prepared to rip up your initial drafts if they are no longer relevant, or if they end up being tone deaf to what’s going on in the world. To avoid brand disasters, keep a close eye on current affairs and make sure you always have a handle on the latest information before creating and sharing new content.