Now what? How to adjust your marketing during the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has turned the world upside down for many people & industries. Stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders, the shutdown of nonessential services, the general anxiety of traveling, the instability of the economy, and the importance of social distancing have rippled through the business world, including the marketing industry. When faced with the ever-evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing professionals have had to be adaptive, innovative, and most of all, compassionate.

Be visible with video

With more people staying home, marketing experts hypothesize they’re more likely to view TV commercials and online ads. This has shifted the popularity of radio commercials that people often hear during their daily commute, as well as marketing outside of the home, such as on billboards and buildings. The latest CMO survey from February 2020 doesn’t reflect the impact of COVID-19 on marketing, but the March 2020 survey is expected to show the shifts the marketing world is experiencing.

Be helpful with content

Now is not the time to talk about yourself or your brand, even if you’re struggling. While some businesses have struggled with their marketing plan, others have discovered a way to both market what they have to offer, as well as provide the public useful information. Google stresses the importance of context and contribution in current marketing strategies. Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote, “If there’s ever been a moment for us to come together and help one another, this is it. In this unprecedented moment, we feel a great responsibility to help.”

Be human with empathy

The key to marketing during this time is simple: don’t exploit the situation. Be human, be empathetic, and be relational. This isn’t the time to exploit fear or anger to cultivate fast money; the influx of sales will quickly diminish, and your business will have a marred reputation after the pandemic has passed. Those who exploit the situation could also face legal repercussions. Be as authentic, empathetic, and transparent as possible.

Here are some examples of good marketing, and marketing strategies that could be better. This is a 3-minute collection of commercials from March 28th:

  • Miller Lite’s commercial showcases the situation of bars & restaurants, presents that they’re donating to help those in the food service industry, and includes a call to action to have others donate to charity, as well. This leaves the viewer feeling that the company empathizes with those who have lost their jobs from COVID-19.
  • The commercial from Papa John’s explains that their food isn’t touched by anyone once it comes out of the oven and they’ve implemented no-contact delivery. These highlights help put consumers at ease during the pandemic, so they know their food isn’t contaminated. The commercial also presents the mobile apps available for customers to order food.
  • Honey Bunches of Oats is a typical run-of-the-mill commercial. It presents the product, parodies Indiana Jones, and has a catchy tune. It doesn’t offer insight into how the company is responding to COVID-19, and makes the commercial less memorable to consumers
  • Domino’s, like Papa John’s, is presenting their no-contact delivery as a solution to social distancing. The commercial makes note of people staying inside, and parodies the famous dance scene from the movie Cocktail. Consumers recognize that Domino’s knows they’re stuck inside and offers a solution to food choices, and like Papa John’s, also features their mobile apps.
  • Walmart’s commercial is a thank you note to the employees of Walmart that are currently working during the pandemic. The end of the commercial also features the brand logo and a URL to how Walmart is responding to COVID-19.
  • Burger King is focusing on their mobile app in their commercial, along with what the company is doing to help during the pandemic. The company explains they’re working to minimize delivery contact, and offering $0 delivery.
  • The Project Runway commercial is a typical commercial for a reality television series. Neither Bravo nor Project Runway make mention of COVID-19, but the commercial would still be effective for those interested in that kind of programming.

Right now, many people feel uneasy due to the unknowns of this pandemic. We don’t know how bad it will truly become, how long it will last, or what long-term effects it will have on our lives, businesses, and economy. If you’re looking for ideas how you can help your business showcase their compassion and response to COVID-19, contact Graziani Multimedia for a complimentary consultation.

Lisa Stone
Graziani Multimedia's resident wordsmith. Her relentless dedication to research, mad coffee mastery, and word-slinging skills mean that all the content that she creates is enjoyable, engaging, and effective.

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