Should we or shouldn’t we? When it comes to advertising, it seems this is what every client is asking. Our answer isn’t just that you should, but that you have to. Yup, marketing during a pandemic has to be thoughtful, but it can’t be ignored. Its core lies in brands digging deep to deliver messages of hope in our common (but socially distanced and quarantined) experience.
So, what’s our advice during this unprecedented time, to ensure that brands be on the correct side of this thing? Here are five tips we believe are right for right now.
Be truthful. Unless you’re 102 and lived through the Spanish flu, none of us has experienced anything like this before. We’re worried about the people we love, afraid of losing our jobs, concerned about our futures. And there’s still a lot we don’t know. So being honest about what we do know is the play. We do know we are stronger together, even if we’re apart. We do know that we have some mighty courageous and heroic people out there who are taking care of us, from essential workers, like grocery store employees, our local sanitation crews, and mail carriers, to our doctors, nurses and hospital personnel. We do know that we will get through this. These are the messages right now that make sense, and they make sense because they’re truthful.
Don’t try to sell. Try to be human. With so much loss right now, and so many suffering in a multitude of ways, to ignore the pain in an effort to tout your brand’s features would be tone deaf. (Unless you have a vaccine, then by all means, tout!) Making sure your communication is considerate of the circumstance is vital. It’s less about you and more about us.
Stick to your values. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to stay true to your brand attributes, and what your values as a brand represent. This may be the time to alter your advertising strategy in response to this crisis, but it’s not the time to change who you are. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stick to your brand identity.
Go ahead, you can be funny. There’s nothing humorous about people dying from a virus, or losing their jobs, or homes, but there are plenty of amusing things that are happening while we adapt to the circumstances of a global pandemic. As long as your humor comes out of the common experiences we’re having, we believe consumers are anxious to laugh. And right now, who isn’t?
Help if you can. Doing good is always good. Whatever it is that you can do, from making masks to providing food to hospital workers, you are showing humanity and putting aside selling in an effort to make a positive contribution. Consumers will notice what you’re doing and not doing during this period.
Nobody knows how long this virus is going to alter the way we live, so embrace the now. Stay in touch with your audience, be authentic and remember that in this moment your brand will resonate if your message is honest, hopeful and positive.
And now, back to your mask, your Purell and your Netflix binge.