As the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically affected and changed the whole world, it has become crucial for brands to address the issue with a sense of mindfulness and empathy. Now that we are past the initial months of lockdown, brands need to launch marketing campaigns in order to restart their business activities.
To get ahead of the competition and improve sales even during a pandemic, brands should launch responsible marketing campaigns with the right messaging and context to connect with their customers who are already going through a tough time.
The way your brand responds to this healthcare and economic crisis can effectively make or break your business. Here are the top tips to create responsible marketing campaigns during a pandemic:
1- Adjust your marketing campaigns and timelines
In many cases, brands plan out their marketing campaigns months in advance and schedule posts to make sure they are always ahead of the curve. But publishing campaigns without addressing what's going on in the world can make your brand come across as insensitive or out of touch with reality.
For instance, Axe paused an ad spot planned to run during the March Madness that showed a huge crowd fleeing a basketball stadium because of the stench coming from a man. When the NBA itself has most suspended games, it didn’t feel right for the brand to showcase big crowds.
Similarly, KFC paused it's ‘Finger-Lickin Good’ campaign that encourages customers to lick their fingers after eating the famous KFC chicken in the light of current hygiene recommendations.
The first thing brands should do is review the campaigns in the pipeline, especially the scheduled posts which are yet to be launched
Decide on what needs to be paused right away: It's preferable to delay any major campaigns which will either get eclipsed with what’s happening in the world or seem inappropriate in the current scenario.
Analyze campaigns that can be pivoted or prioritized: Look for any scheduled campaigns that can be prioritized or pivoted according to the current pandemic.
2- Audit your campaign visuals
Visual communication is a powerful tool for brands to connect with customers and it is just as important as content. As a result, you should think about the messaging your brand is sending to your target audience before taking a marketing campaign to live during the pandemic
Avoid any visuals with crowds and people too close to each other: Social distancing should be the norm everywhere, even in your company’s social media graphics
Change tricky visuals: If you see any graphics that might be interpreted otherwise or make the brand seem insensitive in times like these, its best to completely change them out
Over 46 percent of people now prefer more content about optimism which makes them feel better during these dark times. So, it's best to focus more on feel-good, happy, and optimistic graphics.
If you already have a lot to deal with and reviewing brand visuals is the last of your priorities, you can partner with an unlimited graphic design service agency like Prrowess to handle all of your design work. Prrowess has experienced designers who know what it takes to create winning graphics that can make your brand stand out even during a pandemic.
3- Maintain empathy and humility
These are tough times. Stock markets are plummeting, people are losing jobs every day, and everyone is worried about their health. If your business is booming and performing well during times like these, you should completely avoid bragging about it. Instead, your brand’s messaging should have a tone of empathy and humility. You can also commit a small part of your company’s profits towards helping frontline warriors or patients and share that with your customers.
4- Keep people informed about your business
Almost every industry has had to shift gears because of COVID-19 in order to create a safe and hygienic environment for both their employees and customers. As a responsible brand, you should share all the proactive measures you are taking including policy updates or modifications in the work schedule with your customers.
You should also be mindful of the content you are sharing, even if it's about the coronavirus pandemic. While it's good to share informational content, it shouldn’t be alarming or cause any kind of panic, which can, in turn, have a negative on your brand’s marketing efforts.
5- Be more personal
You don’t have to strip your brand of all the emotion in times like these. If your brand struggled too in the first few months of lockdown, there is nothing wrong in being honest and personal about it. It will only help your customers connect more with your brand.
Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky said in an interview this year that "It took us 12 years to build Airbnb, and we lost almost everything in four to six weeks.” The startup’s valuation halved to $18 billion dollars and as a result, they had to let go of many permanent employees. It takes a lot for a big company like Airbnb to accept they are going through difficult times, and the honest statement from the CEO resonated and connected with many.
6- Offer discounts, but in the right manner
There’s no doubt that discounts can help you in improving loyalty among existing customers, attract new customers, and increase sales.
Though you should avoid tactless messaging like ‘COVID-19 sales’ or ‘COVID discounts.’ Your business might need to offer discounts because of the pandemic, but you shouldn’t make it too obvious, otherwise, customers may think your brand is trying to capitalize on the crisis.
Here are a few ways you can offer discounts
Create a bundle of products and discount their combined process to give customers an opportunity to try out your new products
Offer discounted or free shipping if customers reach a specific order value
Give out free masks or hand sanitizers with every order to encourage hygiene and social distancing
Stay true to your brand values
In times like these, it's always best to stay true to your brand’s values and purpose instead of getting influenced by the latest viral trends. Use your brand’s vision, mission, and values to create a brand marketing strategy. You should also remind yourself what your brand stands for and what it means in the context of COVID-19.