Brand and marketing through the Coronavirus crisis

‘In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Treat this as an opportunity for transformation.’

As the COVID-19 crisis peaks in many countries, many brands are suffering. Lockdowns and the social distancing rules are keeping customers away from stores, logistical issues are affecting e-commerce sales and factory closures are resulting in businesses out of stock. This ongoing COVID-19 health crisis is upending a lot of conventional wisdom around branding, marketing, and media consumption.

There is a very fine line between information and irritation, between being helpful and flogging stuff on the back of a crisis. Brand promotion might not seem like the best idea during the coronavirus crisis, with people taking to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their annoyance at being sent marketing emails from companies they have not heard from in years. And most marketing and ad agency executives agree that trying to advertise during unprecedented times is a difficult balance. The key to ride this public health crisis wave is by being nimble. Rethink your marketing strategy to make them more relevant.

The shift to lifelong learning is absolutely essential. As the pace of technological change quickens, courtesy to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be sure that employees are keeping up with the right skills to thrive in this Fourth Industrial Revolution. That applies to both technical and soft skills as there will be changes in both areas. Furthermore, according to a survey by SurveyMonkey, 92% of the population are worried about the impact of the coronavirus on the national and global economy. All these factors can influence business prospects and further cement the need for a crisis roadmap.

A brand’s relationship with its customers is always important, but it has never been more critical than it is today. In circumstances like these – which are frightening, uncertain, and rapidly changing – clarity and reassurance is highly demanded. Keeping the brand-customer relationship in mind, let us recognize this as a new reality, a new norm and chalk out, thoughtful navigation to add value to the consumer’s lives. How brands react to this crisis is going to shape up consumer perceptions beyond. Brands must prepare to emerge out of the crisis stronger than before. We are here with a few tips on how to go about doing this.


Communicate, messaging and tone – as per the context

The current crisis is a great moment for brands to put out responsible communication that supports people. But brands must be extra cautious about putting out their communication in the right context. To avoid creating a negative brand impression and damaging the brand reputation, brands need to ensure that their communication is brand safe and relevant. Brands must keep their eyes open to news and conversations and communicate only after considering the context. Sometimes it might be better to say nothing rather than putting out the wrong communication.

Brands should adapt their tone of voice as per the context and use a more empathetic, assuring, and positive tone can work better. A great way would be to listen to your consumers diligently and reflect their emotions in your messaging and tone. While intentions may be good, the execution must be thoughtful as well. A brand must be genuinely concerned about its consumers and not taking advantage of a situation or force-fitting something.


Anticipate and adapt

With the uncertainty, lockdowns and self-isolation, brands would have to anticipate changes in consumer behaviour that might impact how consumers interact with their brands. Their needs and expectations might change drastically. The better you have anticipated the possible scenarios, the more prepared you are and the more confident you will be in implementing the changes. Be prepared to be more flexible and adapting to a more digital world.


Stay Connected

Brands need to stay invested in consumer relationships throughout the crisis. It might be tempting to go on cost-cutting mode and conveniently adopting media silence. But this is the time where brands need to stand by their consumers, add value to their lives and earn their trust. Keep your consumers informed and updated about the actual situation.

The trick at the time is to empathize with what your consumers may be dealing with personally and professionally and at the same time offering a bit of light distraction and entertainment that can add a smile back. This a great way of branding and marketing to engage people as long as you are thoughtful with your message and tone.


ABL Recruitment team