Social distancing your marketing – yay or nay?

Brand Strategy

April 8, 2020

We find ourselves in a rather unusual situation, with none of us having experienced something quite like the COVID-19 outbreak before. Not only are we unsure how to go about daily trips to the supermarket, but, in the business world, you may be equally unsure as to how to go about your marketing. How do you advertise? What do you market? Or should you at all during the Coronavirus pandemic?

If people aren’t going out, you might be wondering how they’ll see your communications. In addition, with the economy taking quite a hit, people are increasingly dubious to take an interest in new products or services.

With that being said, if you find your services aren’t gaining much traction, it’s not to say you should shut up shop and stop communicating – far from it! You want to keep your audience engaged, whether business is booming during the pandemic or not. In fact, your customers are likely thinking you should continue marketing anyway. It’s been found in a recent survey that only 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising as a result of COVID-19.

If your brand can afford to continue marketing, then how do you go about it? It’s certainly not about exploiting or leveraging the situation in a malicious way. More so, about getting your brand name out there and staying at the forefront of people’s minds, as a brand who cares and supports.

Think Strategy

Do your products or services solve a problem as a result of Coronavirus? If not, are there any developments you can make to your strategy to help? Perhaps it’s changes to insurance policy wordings or financial product repayments – your business may be able to make a difference. 

Did you know that insurance firms have been called out as one of the very few who are failing to maintain contact with their customers? It’s not a financial services trend though, in fact, banks are two times more likely than insurers to get in touch with their customer base, as found in a recent survey conducted by Consumer Intelligence.

Our Content Manager, Helena Martin commented: 

“These are very unsettling times; while we all bear in mind the associated sensitivities of the situation, it’s so important to communicate with your network of clients, customers, suppliers, etc., to reassure your audience of your ongoing ‘business as usual’ presence and send regular updates regarding your operating status. Alterations and extensions to policies or guidance on getting through this time is ideal, but at a minimum base level – people need to hear from you to know you’re still around for them.”

Think emotionally

If you’re going to continue with your marketing efforts, you may be worried about treading on people’s feelings or saying the wrong thing. Your content marketing and tone are very important during this time.

System1 conducted a study which found that emotional advertising is performing better than rational. Show your customers and the wider target audience your empathy and generosity. A light sense of humour wouldn’t go amiss either – it won’t be as negatively received as you dare think! 

After all, we are one big community, and all championing such an approach, so brands should do the same. Just be careful not to hard sell or be seen as exploiting the situation.

Think digitally

Your customers are likely finding themselves with an abundance of time and, as a result, are spending a significantly longer time online, especially on social media. But how do you leverage such a tool to your advantage?

Despite reports that brands are limiting their digital advertising spend, you must maintain a relationship with both current and prospective customers via such methods. 

It could be in the form of video content, whether it’s a light touch company update on social or a wider audience focused webinar for clients and customers. Don’t forget the likes of email, just take a look at your inbox right now to see how many COVID-19 updates you’re receiving. You have hundreds of tools at your disposal to ensure your message can be heard virtually.

In terms of networking, it doesn’t all have to be face to face. Likewise, there are tools out there that allow you to converse with those you may have missed at your recent events and conferences. Check the event’s website and social media channels to spot any opportunities to e-meet peers, many of them are hosting webinars and virtual sessions.

Think long-term

If you’ve exhausted every method, and can’t see a way that business will take off, or perhaps marketing doesn’t quite fit into the budget right now, then not to worry. You can still keep up your marketing efforts – rather think of the long-term. Whether it’s brand building or recovery for when the outbreak has subsided, marketing can still remain at the forefront. In fact, a recent survey from Marketing Week and Econsultancy has found that 55% of brand marketers are delaying or reviewing their campaigns until the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.

If you’re looking for support with your external communications strategy, digital assistance, or something for the longer-term, get in touch with our team to find out how we can support you.