How to change your marketing approach through COVID-19
Where to begin? COVID-19, the horrible situation that has shocked the world over the last few weeks has well and truly landed on our doorstop. With bars, restaurants and other businesses around the UK closing, and unprecedented social measures being put in place, we’re facing a challenge never before seen in our lifetimes.
And while events are being cancelled, travel is prohibited and Britain is on lockdown, there are many of you out there, working (remotely), keeping things going until we can return to some resemblance of normality – the sooner the better. So, if you’re lucky enough to be working from home, it’s as good a time as ever to be thinking about your marketing, and making a plan for what you should (and should not) be doing over the next few months.
Review your scheduled ads, social media posts or comms. Are you the type of business to schedule and plan content in advance? Then it’s definitely a good idea to check any of your scheduled comms and make sure they’re still relevant. Are you promoting an offer consumers can no longer buy? Are you talking about an event which has been cancelled? Or worse, does your communication say something insensitive? One example we’ve seen is from a telecommunications company talking about a security product with the first line about the number of (online) viruses and how they can help protect you – possibly one to think about rewording. Make sure your communications are smart and sensitive to what’s going on.
Review your approach to advertising. Is there still a need for you to advertise just now? With so many advertisers changing their plans cancellation costs will be steep so speak to your media agency about your options – can you delay activity or change your messaging? Think about what you want to say to your customers, can you switch from revenue driving and direct response campaigns to brand messaging? We heard a great example of this the other day from Tesco, explaining the changes to opening hours allowing vulnerable people and key workers to shop. The sign off? “Because now more than ever, every little helps”. A great example of a brand changing their approach to the current climate, staying relevant and incorporating a strong brand message.
Communicate early and honestly to your staff and customers and have a clear communications strategy in place. Is your business making changes which will impact staff and customers? Many businesses are having to make hard choices right now to stay afloat and more than ever people understand. Make sure your staff know the script, are their jobs safe and if not, are you going to be applying for government funding? How do they claim any benefits, what are the timescales and what are you going to do to support them in the meantime? It’s vital to secure the success of your business that you maintain people’s trust. If you’re open and honest about what the business is having to deal with and make the right choice for the safety and wellbeing of staff and customers, you’re much more likely to get a positive response.
Share and offer help and advice to make sure we all support each other You might have seen a story we posted earlier this week about sharing details of how to set up a conference line for a family member and their church group. It’s not always obvious, but the knowledge we have can help support others through this difficult period, so always be on the look out for how you can help. Advice for staying connected, working remotely, or looking after your mental health can be so vital. Consider the tools you use every day and share these with your network and with your loved ones, you might find something you take for granted is a god send to someone struggling through a hard time.
Where has the conversation moved to? What is the best way to update your staff and customers? Every day there are new updates impacting how we go about our lives. Make sure you’re staying up to date and think of the best way to share information and communicate updates with your audience. Think of how they consume information and aim to gain cut through while remaining sensitive to wider messaging. As always, make sure your staff are informed, whether the changes impact their role or not, they’ll be on the front foot passing the massage on to your customers so make sure they’re up to date and in the best position to answer any difficult questions.
Look to the long term – this will not last forever. There are certainly some difficult times ahead and the unknown is causing everyone some anxiety, but this won’t go on forever. If you’ve got less on your plate that usual, take the opportunity to make plans for the future. Tackle that research project you’ve been putting off, or think of a way to thank your staff for all their hard work. Planning for what’s next, not only will be a great way to keep yourself busy and focus on good things to come, but it will put you in the best position when things start to settle down and can help protect your business for the future.
Any other ideas or suggestions? Let us know if you have any thoughts we can add in, or if your business is looking for support. From everyone here at Flourish, stay safe and support each other – we’ll get through it together. Oh, and wash your damn hands!