Marketing in the time of COVID-19

April 14, 2020 6:44 pm

How do you manage your brand communications and social media in the time of a pandemic?

The world is falling apart, apparently. Do you know what to say? It’s not as easy as you might think.

2020 has been tough. Everyone is a bit touchier than usual and tone has never been more important. But tone in text is something we all struggle with (even at the best of times!).

So how we do we make sure that our brand communications are right in this “new” normal of COVID-19? Everyone seems to think they have the right idea. I’ve read ALL the blogs and naturally I have a few opinions of my own.

Here we go, my tips for managing your comms at the moment.

Have fun, but don’t be flippant.

This is not the time to be taking advantage of people. In other words, this is not a marketing opportunity for you. No one wants to hear your sales messages right now.

That’s not to say you just stop the messages all together.

For those of us in tourism, you should 100% still be posting on social media. People are spending an insane amount of time online at the moment. And to be honest, we’re looking for an escape. So get out there and share some travel inspo, tell your customers you’ll be there ready and waiting when the time is safe to travel again.

If you want to have a bit of fun, I’m all for that. We all need to have a bit of a laugh now and again. But now is not when we act like dickheads, it’s when we are thoughtful and considerate of those around us.

When we get to the other side of all of this COVID-19 stuff, and we will, customers are going to remember how brands acted during this time. As they say, every day there is an internet star and it is your ultimate goal not to become it.

Be transparent and honest.

You don’t want to be adding to the panic but if you have been impacted you need to tell your customers.

We’re all in this together. Yawn – I get it – that phrase is so far overused. But it’s true, we *are* all in this together and if you maintain communication with your customers it will be result in far better outcomes for all.

You can’t stick your head in the sand and hope it all goes away. It won’t. You need to let your customers what is happening and how your business is adapting. You need to reassure them that you have things under control.

Events are being postponed. Travel is being cancelled. Yes, COVID-19 sucks. And these are the things we need to reach out to our customers about. The brand from which I bought one t-shirt in 2004 on the other hand should not be reaching out to tell me about their practices. Communicate, but don’t spam. Don’t be *that* brand.

When it comes time to buy tickets, or travel, or anything for that matter, we’ll remember the good brands.

Constantly review your plan.

covid-19

Check. Recheck. And check again. Things are moving so very fast at the moment and what was okay yesterday may just not resonate – or be legal – today. And, what’s funny in one part of the globe may not be in another.

I’m all for scheduling ahead, but now is not necessarily the right time to be doing that.

Sure you can have a plan, but you know what they say about best laid plans. Now is the time to be agile and ready to adapt that plan as required.

Trust me when I say you don’t want to deal with incorrect or insensitive COVID-19 messaging going out when the only excuse is you forgot to check the schedule. Or perhaps you should do it, and then you can check out my Crisis Management webinar.

Written by Meg Coffey, Managing Director of Coffey & Tea