Marketing during the Coronavirus pandemic – is ‘keeping calm and carrying on’ a good idea?
We’re having an increasing number of conversations with our clients as to whether they should continue to market their products and services during this time, particularly as movements become more restricted and more businesses are closing temporarily. It’s understandable – many don’t want to be seen as ‘cashing in’ on the pandemic, or coming across as insensitive – the risk of negative brand perception is just too great. At the same time, brands and companies do genuinely want to help, and small businesses are naturally worried about the impact that any restrictions on movement may have for their businesses, so want to continue encouraging sales whilst they are able to do so.
Our advice to companies worried about their marketing activity:
- Always follow government advice
If you do post any Coronavirus-related information on your website or social feed, ensure it does not counter government advice. There is a lot of conflicting and confusing advice out there; brands should be careful not to add to it.
- Avoid mentioning the virus unless it’s relevant
If the products you sell are relevant and helpful to people at this time, then detailing how you can help is fine. If there is no real link or no genuine reason for mentioning the virus in your activity, then avoid.
- Look at alternatives
If your business events have been disrupted, look at alternative ways of continuing your business activity: webcasts and podcasts are a great way of sharing information without the need for face-to-face events.
- Don’t blindly continue with previously scheduled activity
Even if your general attitude is ‘keep calm and carry on’, not adjusting your marketing schedule to reflect the tone of the nation could result in your marketing activity missing the mark. Remove your scheduled tweets and campaign work, tweak any post copy you do post, and just be mindful – you can run campaigns at another time, but the negative brand perception will be much harder to repair.
- Take some time to reflect
Particularly if placed on lockdown, this could be a great opportunity to catch up with those tasks we never seem to have time for – perhaps look at a website refresh, or organising and renaming those 5,000 product shots you have on your computer.
- Ramp up your customer service on social media
Particularly useful if you provide a product or service that has been affected. People will be contacting companies for refunds/postponements to activities, and it will help ease panic if you are prepared to service these requests quickly, with a clear policy and guidance ready.
At OWB, it is business as usual – we are continuing our work remotely and are supporting our clients in the same way as always. If you have any concerns, please do drop us an email. Look out for a social posts to see how we’re coping with quarantine and supporting our brands.