These are very unprecedented times, so there is a lot of confusion, especially in smaller businesses, how to properly get their brand message across.
How businesses present themselves during these times could affect their bottom line after this is resorted, so businesses need to take a course of action.
For brands trying to market themselves during this crisis, there are two possible approaches:
In this circumstance, trying to ignore the current situation is likely to alienate your audience and project a negative message to your audience that they will not forget, and may change brand preference – making you lose customers.
Smart and agile businesses are pivoting:
If we look back to advertising during World War II, many brand products were no longer available for sale to civilians. There wasn’t as much opportunity to maintain a good customer bond as there is now.
However, some brands realized that by keeping their brand name circulating, after the war ended they would be in a strong position to resume “business as normal.”
That’s what Burger King did there, by giving the option to make the Whopper at home, so after the quarantine, you remember their brand name.
This is the same case. Although you may not be directly profiting, keeping your brand name circulating will keep you in the consumer’s mind after the pandemic ends, and that’s what needs to be taken into account – that this quarantine won’t last forever.
Right now, brands need to quickly reassess their marketing strategy and make sure they are sending out the right message. This can be achieved by:
Do not ignore what’s happening. Acknowledge there’s an issue without focusing on it, in a way where you can pivot your business in any way that can to adapt to the new normal.
Brands that continue to send out emails and adverts with their pre-crisis message are risking alienating their audience and making them feel disconnected – which sends a bad brand message.
To move into a strong position for coming out of the other side of this current crisis, a brand must get its message right and it must be investing in the new content strategy now.
Brands should acknowledge what is going on and most importantly what their audience is experiencing.
For the best content strategy in a crisis:
Here are some tips for addressing your marketing approach during a crisis.
While every brand is different, this is a basic action plan that can help brands of all sizes make the right choices and avoid serious mistakes.
You should also pay attention to the quarantine advisements in your geographic business areas, as every region is on a different timeline, so you can be proactive in your communication once things get back to normal and work around depending on how your area is handling the situation.
Visual communications are powerful, as are the words we use, so it’s important to think about the messages your brand is sending to your customers and potential customers.
As this quarantine period is expected to be temporary, visitors will likely have some forgiveness about pre-existing content. More permanent brand elements (e.g., your logo) or “pull” content (e.g., your homepage) can remain as is – unless you’re promoting a large social event on your homepage, or your hero image involves large crowds or people touching. You can easily change things and customers will notice and appreciate the effort.
In a time when people are uneasy, you don’t need to be overly positive, it may come off as “excited” as if you’re content with the crisis.
A great branding message is one from Speedo.
Swimming is an important part of keeping physically healthy and it also helps people deal with stress and problems.
Swimming is a huge part of some people’s lives, and during a crisis, that’s when they would need it the most.
Speedo nailed the message by really understanding what’s of value to their audience. They offer messages of support and inspiration across social media to keep people going.
They also point out how many professional athletes will be struggling to continue with their training and the impact this could have on a career.
A few days after the first message, Speedo followed up with 5 dry land exercises to give you more power in the pool.
This really connects with their target demographic, it doesn’t try to sell them anything, and seems as though sSpeedo really just wants to help their customers.
This is a great image to try and achieve, and can be done quite easily, as you can see, just by giving tips. That keeps it in the consumer’s mind that Speedo is just helping them cope, not selling them swimwear, but helping them stay in shape so they can continue to keep their level of fitness, to resume swimming as they were before the crisis.
Great pivot of content and genuine messaging that found the right level for their target demographic.
Luxury interiors and clothing company The White Company managed to address the current crisis, but avoided any direct reference to it.
The word “hibernation” doesn’t quite reflect the current situation, but has put a positive spin on it, taking attention away from the negativity.
The content they offer is very much on target with their audience and recognizes that people will want to “nest” and find some comfort during times of so much stress.
They also recognize that their key demographic have young children, and try to help by offering tips and activities to keep the kids at ease and less of a hassle.
The newsletter manages to connect their products to the subjects in a fluid way.
Most brands will plan their editorial and content calendars long in advance. Especially fashion, with long lead times for range planning, production, and photoshoots.
Most brands right now will have invested massive budgets into campaigns to launch their new season products, but that is no excuse to continue pursuing a sunk cost fallacy route, it gives off a very insensitive standpoint, as mentioned earlier.
There was an email from Massimo Dutti that has a travel theme. And this was sent after the UK went into enforced lockdown, which was very poor timing. Advertising travel when people can’t travel can be perceived as though they’re mocking the situations, and are very disconnected.
Possibly the worst timing to show people travel content.
With a message of walks on sunny beaches and city get-togethers and models in summer clothes on beaches and leaning against palm trees.
No recognition or consideration that many people have lost large sums of money on booked holidays that they can’t refund.
No consideration for all the people trapped in their homes with no prospect of a summer holiday this year.
Massimo Dutti should quickly and seriously consider what they are doing with their content strategy and do something to try and make up for this.
Take into account the tips provided, learn from the successful branding messages, and the unsuccessful one. It’s important to try and pivot your marketing strategies to adhere to the current situation, and to be considerate about your demographic audience and the messages you’re putting out there for them.