The global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has left many businesses wondering what, if anything, they should be doing to promote their products and services. At a time when the whole world is under significant stress, what’s the etiquette for self-promotion and marketing?
To help ease some of the uncertainty, we’ve put together some quick do’s and don’ts for marketing during a crisis.
Do: Be sensitive
No matter how brash or blunt your brand may be, it operates on the basis of humans selling to other humans. Sensitivity and tact will go a long way at a time like this.
Obviously, you’re running a business and need to make money, but using the crisis as a means of making money is unlikely to score well with your clients. Doing so will likely come at the expense of your integrity and reputation.
Don’t: Make inappropriate jokes
Humour is undoubtedly needed right now, but anything you put out there needs to be funny for your audience, not just you! Tongue-in-cheek humour about the present situation might be well received, but be careful not to overdo it.
Do: Keep communication consistent
In a crisis, the people who depend on you want to know what they should expect in terms of service. Like with any marketing exercise, be consistent in the tone and message that you’re giving to customers.
The message might have to change if the situation does, but staying transparent with your audience helps them trust you. Explaining why certain processes are being put into place also helps.
For instance, if you’re limiting services to prioritise first responders, let people know that’s why there are restrictions for everyone else.
Don’t: Contradict the official advice
Help your followers stay safe by encouraging them to follow the official guidance designed to protect them. Double bonus points if you can keep the message in tune with your brand’s tone of voice or industry.
For instance, a mechanic reminding people to wash their hands (and what services are available to stop people getting their hands dirty once restrictions have lifted).
Make sure that any advice you do share is fact-checked and authentic, and that whatever policies you have in place support it.
Do: Make an effort to help others
Now is the time for businesses to offer help to those that need it. It’s got the feel-good factor, but it’s also helps to foster an association of trust and decency with the business’s brand.
If it’s appropriate and you’re able to, finding ways to support the local community or your wider audience can be both fulfilling, and good for your reputation.
Like all good marketing tactics though, it needs to be authentic. The online public can sense nonsense from whatever the digital version of ‘a mile away’ might be. And they’ll be merciless about it.
Don’t: Use visuals or language describing crowds of people
Using marketing material which depict crowds of people might seem a little jarring at a time where social distancing is the new norm.
Showing sensitivity of current conditions helps make a brand more relatable. Shared sentiments give an audience something to identify with, which in turn makes your business more appealing.
Do you need help adjusting your digital marketing campaign? Or do you need to raise your profile if things have gone quiet? Find out how we can help: firstname.lastname@example.org