The Significance of Brand Marketers’ Response During COVID-19 Crisis

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

The effects of COVID-19 on the marketing industry can be seen far and wide. Brands are adjusting and innovating with new creative, pivoting to digital events and other virtual solutions, creating PSAs to encourage social distancing and donating funds to those in need and negatively affected by the fallout as a direct result of the pandemic’s impact on the world.

The way in which marketers respond during the coronavirus crisis can make a difference in determining how a brand is perceived in the long-term. And while it’s tempting for some brands to refrain from communicating to consumers at all in order to mitigate risks of appearing insensitive during a time of crisis, opportunities for brands remain, according to a column in AdExchanger from Jim Lawson, CEO of AdTheorent.

For CPG brands, there is the potential to use digital advertising to support consumers and help alleviate their concerns through product-specific tutorials, education surrounding health products and online discounts, Lawson says. Depending on your industry, there are ways to communicate with customers in a thoughtful way, whether it’s an exercise brand like Peloton providing free access to its app, a restaurant brand promoting its delivery options or donation plans to help out-of-work staff, or simply providing entertainment and feel-good content for a public spending all their time at home for the foreseeable future.

Striking the right tone, however, is critical. Chris Peterson, managing partner at Rain the Growth Agency, outlines a framework for ensuring that brands’ advertising creative remains relevant amidst an ever-evolving cultural landscape. First and foremost: reread, examine and listen to all your brand’s creative to ensure that its messaging is striking the right tone—and act immediately by shifting the message if it seems inappropriate during this time.

Second, if the creative does need to be shifted, look for inexpensive ways to pivot with graphics and stock images if possible. And third, consider doing a quick market study with your audience in order to gauge customer attitudes and inform your messaging strategy with market data.

Read more in AdExchanger from Lawson on brand messaging here and Peterson’s framework for pivoting quickly here.

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