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How Brands Can Advertise Wisely during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Advertising during the COVID-19 crisis is a sensitive issue. On one hand, a company still needs to promote themselves and their brand regardless of the climate. In fact, it could be said that during the coronavirus pandemic, there are more eyes available to see your advertising.
On the other hand, with the sensitive nature of the COVID-19 crisis, a company can also risk ruining their reputation if they advertise either too much or in an incorrect way.
In this article, we’ll delve into some issues facing advertisers during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and reveal some helpful tips on maintaining brand awareness without sacrificing brand reputation.
The Public Is Deeply Worried
Your target audience has changed in the past few months. They’re state of mind has drastically changed. Not only are they worried about the health effects of the virus on themselves and their loved ones, but they’re also worried about the long-term effects on the economy and how it will change their own financial situation.
On top of that, they’ve probably been in some sort of shelter in place order for the past few months. This drastic change in your target markets lives means that you have to be sensitive with your messaging to keep your brand reputation high.
This might involve a complete change to your brand strategy that shows compassion and concern. For example, a message from the highest-ranking officer (CEO, Chairman, Owner, etc.) with some inspiration will go a long way to help solidify your brand.
Anticipate Consumer Needs
If you’re in a business that sells a product or service that has some value during the COVID-19 crisis (e.g. food delivery, counselling, health products like supplements), make sure you market it correctly. Now’s the time to show that you care. Offer price breaks, deferred payments, improved delivery, and virtual services if possible. Remember that your audience might not be able to even leave the house so making their life easier, even if it means your company doesn’t profit as much as it used to, will go a long way.
People Are Concerned about Finances
Like I said above, the economy is top of mind these days. People are being furloughed and spending has slowed down substantially. If you want to keep your brand health high during the COVID-19 crisis, you need to be flexible with your pricing to help your customers through this.
In the short term, you could lose out on revenue. But in the long term, if you position your company as a compassionate business that proves that they truly care about their customers, it will benefit you in the long run.
If you have any collateral you can offer for free, even if it’s just content in the form of helpful advice or a short inspirational video to put a smile on someone’s face, it will help strengthen your brand’s image during this crisis. If it goes viral, it will pay off even more for your company’s reputation.
Shoppers Are Focused on the Basics
If you have a service or product that can be considered frivolous or something that isn’t a necessity, it’s going to be very difficult to maintain revenue during these times as your audience is more focused on basics.
But if there’s a way for you to pivot to make your product or service offering more of a necessity, you can not only recoup some sales, but also strengthen your brand.
For example, some fine dining restaurants have started selling essential groceries (flour, pasta, sauces). While they can’t copy the experience of dining in their restaurant, they are still offering a necessity to their customers during times when maybe the grocery stores are out of stock. See what you can offer your clients that they need during these times. It might mean selling raw materials or even expertise.
Technology is helping a lot of brands continue their businesses. Grocery stores, even small ones, have embraced the online ordering platforms. Service providers who normally would have face-to-face meetings are now using virtual meeting platforms to help keep their businesses running. For example, I’ve seen a physiotherapist do online consultations which includes video exercises and online payment. If you can keep your business running through the latest technology, leverage that to keep your customers happy.
Focus on Customer Experience More Than Ever
The customer experience is more important than ever. Your customers are concerned, stressed, and scared. If they are going to buy from you, you want them to have the easiest experience as possible. Make it memorable and have the customer want to come back not just for the product or service, but for the peace of mind of being kept safe while getting the product they paid for.
Branding Can Set the Tone for Future Sales
What you do right now can help you with future sales. A restaurant that sells much-needed groceries right now will probably see loyalty from their customers once they re-open for regular business. A health supplement company that offers discounts to “ease the burden” now, might see increased sales later. Build your brand reputation now and it will pay off in the future.
Transform into a Purpose-Led Brand
If you can’t show value during these times while people are in lockdown, you’ll need to develop a plan to show purpose, whether it’s to educate or entertain, even showing your company is helping in other ways through donations of equipment or services.
Think outside the box. Maybe your CEO has a great banana bread recipe he can share in a video. Maybe there’s someone at your company who knows yoga and can do a virtual class to help people stuck at home.
The key to maintaining your brand during these times should focus on engagement, compassion, and understanding. Showing this during tough times will pay off down the road when things get back to normal. In the meantime, it will keep your company in the minds of your customers and your prospects.
Macromark can assist you with your marketing needs through copywriting, direct mail list rental, graphic design, web development, and full-service interactive consulting. For more information about how we can help grow your business, contact us at 1-(845)-230-6300.
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