There’s no handbook for creating brand content during a pandemic. It’s not anyone’s specialty, and it’s the sort of thing that marketers are figuring out as they go along.
Which is why brands now have to rethink what their customers’ priorities would be in a pandemic, in order to make their messaging relatable. And that makes a lot of communication from brands look similar in this situation. But there are some ways to stand out.
How should brands be communicating?
“There are two ways that I would think about this: One is, ‘how do you communicate in direct response to the crisis?’” says Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of marketing at HubSpot. Her organization initially halted all social promotions and product launches until it could pinpoint a messaging tone.
“The second piece of this is, after the [initial outbreak] of the crisis, there is a new world that you are marketing and selling in, and so how do you reflect those times?”
Go the extra mile
“Don’t say anything if we’re not going to be providing some kind of value,” advises Amanda Milligan, marketing director at Fractl. “There’s a lot of sentiment going around and people are getting kind of skeptical or cynical about brands just saying things that sound nice, but they’re not actually doing anything.” She insists that brands able to help their customers during the pandemic, or at least continue services as normal, will build the most trust and audience at this stage.
“Generally, the trend has been to be supportive and empathetic to the customer: to really dig into, ‘How does this current environment change life for our customer and where can we be of assistance?’” Lee said, pointing out that content marketing initiatives don’t necessarily have to be framed by the product solutions that a business offers.
How do you balance optimism and sensitivity?
“You have to acknowledge that something’s going on, you don’t want to be oblivious . . . Because then, if somebody’s listening to that and they’ve had a very different experience, they’re not going to trust you anymore,” says Milligan. While you shouldn’t be dwelling on the negatives of the situation more than is needed, brands need to understand that the business climate has changed, and maybe for good.
“The best way to judge whether something is going to land right is to talk to people within your own company and talk with your customers,” Anderson suggests. After all, it’s likely the coronavirus has impacted one of the company employees either directly or indirectly, so their experiences will be eye-opening.
When things go wrong, own up
“If you do say something that is accidentally out of tone or gets a bad reaction, just listen and own that, apologize for it, move forward and not let it keep you out of the arena” Anderson adds.
You can find the full story at Search Engine Land.