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The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing During a Global Crisis

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During times like these, when the world is in the midst of a global pandemic, it can be hard for brands to know what to do. How should a brand connect during these uncertain and challenging times? In addition to a potential reduction in ad spend and consumer spend, event cancellations are also impacting brand’s regular marketing messages.

That being said, companies don’t necessarily have to stop marketing during this time. They should, however, make sure that their marketing is sensitive and relevant given the situation. All marketing will be highly scrutinized by the customer, so it must be meticulously examined before launch. Check out Beyond Fifteen’s dos and don’ts for communicating during a global crisis.

  • Do review your scheduled posts. There have already been some unfortunate instances of brands failing to adjust their schedules. The wrong message can easily come off as tone-deaf, so make sure to review every piece of creative that’s scheduled with fresh eyes.  
  • Do hold onto big releases and product launches until the situation has calmed. People aren’t making large purchases right now. Save your best news for when it has a better chance of making an impact. 
  • Do provide helpful information and services. If you are going to start offering free shipping during this time, tell people! If you’ll be offering delivery when you hadn’t before, tell people! Make sure that you’re providing solutions to new challenges and share those with your target market.  
  • Do follow your brand style guide¾but be sensitive. Branding should be consistent across all communication. That being said, in times like these it makes sense to take a step back and review tone and imagery. If your brand is regularly sarcastic you might want to reconsider for now. Use what you can of your branding guidelines where appropriate (colors, fonts and feel), but make sure content is in keeping with the global atmosphere.  
  • Do be honest and communicate clearly. There is no room for error during these times. Have multiple team members review communication before it’s sent to confirm clarity and sensitivity.
  • Do include a call to action (CTA). In times like this it could be easy to forget, but if you’re choosing to communicate during this time, there must be a reason. If you can’t identify your CTA, then you may want to review whether the communication is actually necessary.
  • Don’t contribute to the panic. Unless your brand is directly involved in determining solutions to this crisis, there’s likely very little reason for your brand to be posting COVID-19 news updates. Additionally, consumers are getting tired of hearing how every business that has ever been given their email address is handling the pandemic. Depending on your business model, it might not be necessary to communicate this type of update at all.
  • Don’t capitalize on the disaster. Or, don’t look like you’re capitalizing on the disaster. People are overwhelmed with enough noise right now. Make sure what you’re putting out is helpful, not just additional chatter.

Brands don’t have to stop marketing during a global crisis. However, they should take time to review their communications carefully to connect appropriately with your target audiences during these challenging times.

Stay healthy out there!