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26th March

Lockdown Diary #1 - Clear Messaging During The Covid-19 Pandemic

There are many outcomes to the current pandemic and it is too early to say just exactly how that is going to affect you and your company. However, what we do know is that in the US & Europe lockdowns and spread is likely to continue into Q3 regardless and so the economic ramifications are going to be felt far and wide for a long time to come. Regardless of these facts, you need to be mindful when it comes to how your company is presented during and after this unprecedented event. From how you act, the news you share and how you’re helping the cause – it’s all important stuff in the strength of your branding and never has there been a better time to get everything in shape. Let’s take a look at some general advice on how to look at your marketing right now.

1. Tone & Language

a. It’s easy to see where your brand could cash-in on a crisis, but it is a number one no-no. How your company conducts itself is crucial to coming through this relatively unscathed.

b. Check all of your existing content and double check to make sure your messaging is still relevant.

c. Make sure you get second and third opinions on all new collateral. This you should be doing anyway, but at this point, a badly constructed message or something which was funny before may now be just pain insensitive.

2. Engage Your Customers

This might seem obvious as that’s the nature of marketing, but you need to be thinking what you can offer, how you can help and what do you do already that would benefit people who are in the midst of a crisis. Your customers will remember what you do now for a long time afterwards.

3. Engage your workforce

Morale and an engaged workforce are more important now than ever. They want to feel safe and part of a family which is working together for a common goal – to get through this.

4. Listen to your Customers

Chances are, your customers’ needs are going to be changing. Is there a way we can help? Do we even know how those needs are changing? What are the long term implications likely to be because of these changes? Taking the time to do this now will impact heavily on the longer term success of your company after the pandemic has ended.

5. Check your lines of communication are working

You should always be available to potential and existing customers, but at the moment, making a check on your processes and systems for receiving communications is key. Do your customers know your position right now? If not, it is time to talk to them.

6. Ditch the competitive streak (for now)

While competition between providers of anything is normal and healthy, at this time there’s just no need to be putting that out there. If you would maybe use an aggressive ad campaign targeting a competitor’s service price for example, people will see it as cynical and missing the point now. Don’t do it. Ask how you can help and go that route instead. You’ll be glad you did when you’re through this.

7. Get inventive with creating assets

Let’s face it, those wonderful outdoor Spring photo-shoots we’ve been waiting for just aren’t going to happen. So, what can we do? Well… your creative team should be on the case thinking about how to get the message across in different ways. There are stock libraries for video and photos and music. There is the compositing of photographs with other assets, illustration, animation and tons more to boot. How can you make these work for you right now?

Whatever you do, make sure you carry on thinking about what you want to say to your customers and how you want to say it. Protect your marketing budgets as much and as best you can because if previous experience of global shocks tell us anything, it’s that when the starting gun goes again on the other side, it’s those companies that are best prepared who come out the other side first and fastest.

Lastly - get ready for a new reality. It is highly unlikely that something so far-reaching and sudden as a global pandemic won’t have long-lasting effects on our future behaviours and the way we live. What those will be, what will remain and what will return we will wait and see. But don’t hide under your desk – embrace the change and find your place.