As the world goes into lockdown amidst the outbreak of Covid-19, you may be wondering how best to carry out brand marketing during the coronavirus crisis.

Marketing departments are finding themselves in unchartered territory, scrambling to adjust their communications in order to remain relevant, yet sensitive to people’s change in circumstances.

Existing communication strategies will need to be carefully analysed, and likely amended, to better reflect the current market and the change in situation people now find themselves in.

All brand messaging during coronavirus should take into account that people are worried about the health and well being of their loved ones; that many people are stuck at home and unable to go out; that many services are closed; travel is restricted; that some will face economic hardship; and finally, that people are not making plans in the way they normally would. 

At Relevance, we are helping our portfolio of clients navigate these unchartered waters, offering our expert advice on how brands should be marketing during coronavirus across digital channels.

Many of our clients are asking us whether they should continue communication as usual, or scale-back, and whether they should address Covid-19, or not mention it all. 

However you decide to proceed, here we break down some of the key things to consider when marketing during coronavirus. If you’re wondering how to market your brand during these difficult times, then keep on reading!

Marketing during coronavirus

The elephant in the room

First off, you’ll want to address the elephant in the room – do you want to talk about coronavirus or not?

Our clients are taking a wide range of approaches to marketing during coronavirus, with some opting to address the issue of Covid-19, while others are choosing not to.

For brands who are opting to address the coronavirus outbreak many are choosing to use their communication channels to share information with their followers on how they are supporting the fight against the virus, including updating their followers on how they’re helping their own staff, as well as including details on new working hours and contact information.

If you do choose to address coronavirus in your brand messaging be mindful to keep it limited and only share what is critical or highly relevant to your brand as people are being bombarded on a daily basis with information relating to Covid-19. 

When marketing during coronavirus, some things to consider include:

  • Are you contributing to the public discourse surrounding this? 
  • Are you providing information your community needs to know? 
  • Is your company doing something to support healthcare workers, or the community as a whole? 

Finally, check why you are sharing – and what you’re sharing – before you do.

Remember what your brand is about

Every company – whether their brand guidelines are written in stone, or just known by their employees – has key values which they ascribe to and which are represented in their marketing and digital activities.

Now, more than ever, it is important to know who you are as a brand. Are you caring? Are you innovative? Are you humorous? A voice of calm reassurance? A voice of authority? 

With more people online during this period more than ever, you will possibly get more exposure than ever before online if you communicate your brand effectively and follow best-practice marketing during coronavirus. 

Your content may have to be different to usual, but it should still clearly correspond to your brand image and how you would want to represent yourselves even outside of these exceptional times. 

One key change you may make – but staying within your brand guidelines and tone of voice – is to focus on the ‘real.’  Who is your team? How is this affecting them? How are they continuing to support your customers? 

However you plan your marketing during coronavirus make sure you  communicate your new approach internally. Ensure that your communications, whether internal, external, on social media, or via the phone to customers or clients, reflects you as a brand, and the ‘new you’ that is your brand messaging during coronavirus. 

Post relevant content and remain flexible

Amidst the pandemic it’s also important to tailor your content so that it is appropriate. It’s important to remember that things are changing rapidly too, so the ways in which you plan and execute your marketing during coronavirus must be flexible. What may be appropriate this week, may not be the next – such is the change of pace during the Covid-19 global crisis.

Our team monitors the latest news across a wide range of channels in addition to trending topics to ensure everything we communicate is relevant.

For example, as an agency that specialises in the yachting industry, many of our clients offer luxury yacht charters. However, when marketing during coronavirus talking about destination holidays is inappropriate. Likewise, discussing restaurants, bars, events, or getting together with friends and family are all subjects which are off-limits for the time being. 

What can your brand create, content-wise, that is still relevant now and will still be relevant six months later when people are searching for it more readily? Evergreen content is a great way to communicate your brand during the outbreak of Covid-19.

Marketing during coronavirus on social media

Social media can be a great tool for marketing during coronavirus and is one of the best ways to stay connected with your customer base, however, posts should be adapted to reflect the world’s current state of affairs. Remember, social media has to be posted in the context of what news people are hearing. This changes by the minute, and will vary hugely depending on where your followers are based.

Now is the time to focus on user-generated content and your online community, using your feed to highlight what your community and staff are doing.

You can, of course, continue to use your pre-existing, planned content, as long as you have reviewed it to ensure it’s appropriate, and it still matches your business objectives and brand messaging during coronavirus. 

If brand-appropriate consider posting more interactive and entertaining content, including quizzes and videos, created by your community or others worldwide. Avoid generic posts, such as ‘happy mondays’ – these types of posts aren’t appropriate amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.

And, as always, listen to your online community and monitor carefully to see how your audience is reacting to the pandemic and your brand’s response. If you’re not getting positive feedback you should adjust your strategy and the way in which you are marketing during coronavirus.

Check, then check again

We recommend a second pair of eyes for all content you’re producing. There are many sensitivities to be aware of and many potential pitfalls to avoid while marketing during coronavirus. Simple things like “You’ll never want to leave!” on a travel post, could be the difference between a warm reaction and a flurry of bemused comments. Be aware of what you’re sharing. 

Whatever approach you choose when marketing during coronavirus, remember that keeping up your content is key to remaining connected with your customer base, maintaining your digital visibility, and keeping your followers up to date. In times of crisis providing transparent and ongoing communications is pivotal to maintaining your brand’s success.