Marketing in a COVID Era

Keeping Your Brand Alive

Right now, marketing is about survival. In this dubious era, it is difficult for companies to know what the future holds. We are bombarded every day with reports of economic meltdowns and job losses, with companies are struggling to retain revenues and in basic terms – wondering what to do next.
Studies show that marketing during times of crisis has always been essential. Brand messaging that changes quickly with the times leaves an indelible mark on consumers. Take Subaru for example: instead of creating a 30-second commercial spot selling cars – they have brilliantly shifted to using that time to thank all of the front-line COVID workforce.  This messaging evokes an emotional response, and has garnered praise for Subaru’s ability to connect directly to the people.  This is a fantastic example of marketing during times of crisis.
Brand messaging in this era needs to be thought-provoking, honest and emotional.  What we thought were ‘pain points’ for our customers and audience does not apply anymore. Customers will have new objectives, behave differently, and react differently. So – how do you keep your brand alive and in front?
Shift Your Messaging
Companies need to be keenly aware of their customers’ shift to a ‘new normal’, and messaging or taglines that you previously used might be out of touch. For example, the first paragraph on your website that shows what your company does, could be rewritten to reflect how your company is handling, or helping, the COVID crisis. This is called cause marketing. Have a look at your taglines to see if you can refresh them to evoke a more relevant, empathetic feeling. Example taglines like “Changing The World Together,” “Here For You,” “Providing Flexible Service for a New World,” show that you care about your customers’ needs.
Bend the Rules
All companies have products and services normally at set prices and terms. But in order to survive, you might have to bend your policies, pricing, fees and services.  Customers will appreciate your response and will acknowledge your flexibility. As well, you might even look at partnering with competitors or other distributors and pool together your services.
Find New Ways to Promote Your Brand
Digital marketing is being used more than ever, and companies should be directing their marketing budgets towards this medium. Demand is high and inventory may be low, so once you’ve refreshed your messaging, choose websites, social media channels or news outlets that you feel will best suit your customers’ surfing habits.  If you haven’t used digital marketing before, try something new.  Instagram is a huge opportunity to showcase photos of your teams, make a video of what you are doing behind the scenes, or showcase your new pricing/product policies with a President/CEO’s message via video.
Create Relevant Content
Use your website and advertising mediums as an ever-evolving marketing machine.  Write stories about what your teams are doing during COVID, how your products or services will impact their needs or launch a new pricing and policy scheme that will be flexible to their needs.  Continue to generate new content every week and post on your website, or use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram to drop the content.
Hire Experts
Businesses, in particular smaller ones with bare minimum marketing budgets, could also hire marketing experts who can quickly and economically revitalize your brand, and help you decide which digital channels to showcase your company.  Learn more (paula@eventmanage.ca)
Paula Arnold is a marketing specialist with over 20 years experience, and is Chief Event Organizer at Event Management Agency. Contact her at paula@eventmanage.ca