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How to Adapt Your Brand’s Message During a Crisis

by: Jackie Murtha Digital Marketing

Getting ahead of the curve while we fight to flatten it.

Years, even decades from now, how the world handles the COVID-19 global pandemic will be remembered in history. How do you want your brand to be remembered? It’s not enough to just weather the storm and manage the crisis—you have to adapt. Here are 5 ways to do just that:

1. Provide clear, consistent key info.

Everyone’s daily routine has been drastically impacted by this pandemic. Now more than ever, people are going online for information to help guide them in their decision making. In fact, digital marketing resource company, ClickZ recently reported on a survey that people are spending as much as seven hours online each day. That’s almost a full workday!

Think about how your business and your customers have been impacted and how you can find creative ways to continue to reach and engage with them. It may not always drive instant revenue for your business, but it will add tremendous value in the long term.

As the situation changes almost daily, businesses are beginning to think about what a possible reopening strategy might look like. When that time comes, you’ll need to deliver swift communication like never before. There is going to be an unavoidable “growing pains” period with uncertainty on what people can and can’t do (and how it varies by state). Utilize your available channels to send out regular updates on what a phased approach will look like for your brand.

2. Nurture (and grow) your following.

Most of us try our best to practice social distancing, but it may start to feel more like we’re trapped in our own homes. Isolation can cause a sense of detachment and loneliness, so people are looking to social media to connect.

Facebook usage alone has increased by 37%.  There is no better time to get your social engagement up by putting more effort into adapting your brand’s organic content. You don’t need perfect, polished content. Just make it consistent, impactful, and above all else, real. We’re all struggling and want nothing more than to feel an authentic connection, brands included.

There’s a lot of COVID-related content all over the internet right now. In fact, it’s almost impossible to get away from it! With so much tension and distress circling, it is so incredibly refreshing and uplifting when you come across a feel-good story. Did you make or receive a donation? Did a customer share a positive note about you? Or did one of your employees just celebrate a birthday or anniversary? No good news is too small not to share. Promote this content to reach more people and get your brand out there. It can be that simple!

3. Find ways to give back.

Need an idea for generating more online content? Do some good. People want to see more positivity and inspirational messages, and your brand image will be elevated as a result. One big way to give back is to celebrate everyday heroes. This is exactly what a large health network in Nevada decided to do in order to give kudos to all their brave team members on the frontlines battling this virus.

Our client, Renown Health is doing far more than just taking care of the people of Northern Nevada—they’ve adapted and risen to the occasion by fostering a community of hope, strength, and perseverance through the Fight the Good Fight and #ThankNVHeroes movement.

Not in healthcare? You can still contribute! Start a fundraiser, donate to a cause, or just do your (brand’s) part to strum up morale with some positive messaging sprinkled in your content calendar.

4. Keep the lights on, don’t go dark.

According to The Interactive Advertising Bureau, 1 in 4 media buyers and brands have paused all advertising for the first half of 2020. That is not a small number. But did you know that 92% of consumers actually think brands should continue advertising amid the crisis?

Jane Ostler, Kantar Insights global head of media explains, “Brand health becomes vulnerable when companies stop advertising.” With everyone spending so much more time online, the last thing we want is to feel abandoned, and any sense of normalcy is a warm welcome. As challenging as things are now, don’t make it even harder to bounce back when—not if—things do get better. Adapt instead.

5. Stay on brand, be aware of tone.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for this one. The key is to empathize with your consumer base. The benefit here is you don’t have to try too hard to relate since we’re all going through this experience together. Tailor your brand’s messaging to focus on the aspects that matter to people now.

One day, we will all look back and reflect on how we each handled this taxing time. Hopefully we’ll be proud of our unbreakable spirit and unity. Of course brands want to remain afloat, but now is the time to think about human connections. Be empathetic, supportive, compassionate, helpful and, of course, flexible!

Want to know how you can best adapt your brand’s social message? We can help! Get in touch with us today and let’s talk.