As the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continues, many of us have not just had to change how we work, but adjust to a completely new way of living. With updated advice being offered by the Government on a regular basis and the situation developing rapidly, the nature of social distancing and the enforced closure of many places of work has left many brands, businesses and marketing managers with a tough decision to make: should their marketing strategy be altered during the Covid-19 outbreak?
At present, with the high street beginning to shut down and all but essential businesses advised to close, its only natural that certain business owners will start to consider things from a financial point of view and ponder the use of promoting of a business that, at least for the time being, will experience a significant downturn in footfall and a potentially negative return on investment.
This is all influenced by the nature of a business, of course. Those who have been deemed key to keeping the country ticking over during this difficult time – supermarkets, pharmacies, garages and more – will not suffer as badly as, say, businesses such as clinics, gyms or restaurants. So, how do we tackle this head-on and make the best of such an unprecedented predicament? Read on to find out more.
The value of adaptability
The more astute marketers will have had their future campaigns mapped out months in advance, working hard to capitalise on all of the trends through the year. But the coronavirus pandemic has changed all of that. With marketing strategies being canned overnight due to the quickening spread of the virus and its impact on how we live, many businesses have had to adapt to survive. There are stories of many businesses who have had to shapeshift out of necessity – think of all of the restaurants currently offering delivery services – and those who have used the power of social media and digital marketing to spread this message to their customers.
With Government advice around Covid-19 changing all the time, this is where the value of adaptability really becomes clear. Structure your marketing campaigns around this current guidance and dont work too far in advance. At this point, its difficult to anticipate whats coming next.
One of the most positive things to come out of the Covid-19 outbreak thus far is the fantastic amount of community spirit that has been demonstrated across the country. Many brands have been upfront and honest over how they have been working to keep their staff safe and well and what sort of plans they have in place should their employees become ill. Those who have lent support to their customers during this difficult time – whether in the form of offering free deliveries of products or holding special shopping hours for the more vulnerable amongst us – have rightly used the internet and their social media platforms to keep everyone updated as to these important safety measures. This has allowed brands to build trust during the outbreak and showcased the notable humanity and kindness of spirit that many of them possess.
Remain on brand
Although its ill-advised to ignore the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, its also worth remembering that the online world – social media and websites in particular – is our only consistent channel of communication at this present time.
Integrating content around Covid-19 might be important to the survival of your business, but you need to make sure that this is done in a way that is reflective of your brands values and tone of voice. People are very perceptive and theyll be able to sniff out when youre trying to turn a situation to your advantage. This means that getting your messaging right during this time is a delicate operation and something that must be carefully considered.
To avoid opening a can of worms, it might be a good idea to use your social media channels just to keep awareness of your brand alive. But make sure you dont go for the hard sell when doing so. At this point in time, theyll be a noticeable change in customer behaviour, so dont be surprised if your customers dont respond to you as well as they used to. Just remember that this may not continue when we are finally able to get this pandemic under control.
These are unprecedented times and were all doing our best to acclimatise ourselves to the complexities of the current situation. For now, you should do what you can to protect your brand and make adjustments accordingly, putting the safety of your business, staff and yourself at the forefront of everything you do. Stay safe and follow instructions carefully. Together, we can beat this.