9 Ways Your Brand Can Deal With The Coronavirus — A Startup Founders Guide
Updated: Mar 25
As the world is wracked by the Coronavirus and businesses are temporarily shuttering their doors, it’s more important than ever to fine-tune your marketing strategy. Now is a time to be authentic and helpful with your brand. We've put together 9 ways your brand can deal with the pandemic.
1. Be responsible.
Any content you push out that shares misinformation or promotes fear is not only irresponsible, but also can severely damage your brand’s reputation. Demonstrating social responsibility is crucial to having your business survive the outbreak.
That means communicating to your audience about how you’re ensuring your employees’ and customers’ safety, or otherwise helping people during this crisis. If you are not doing anything like this, it’s best to not say anything about Covid-19.
2. Be helpful.
These days, consumers are looking at socially responsible brands to lead the way. In a time when many people are losing work or struggling to find what they need, being helpful is not only the right thing to do, but also a way to build trust in your brand.
Look for ways to offer discounts to people affected by the coronavirus. You may also consider giving away your products to those in need. When doing this, be authentic in it and don’t do it for “brownie points.” Find a strategy that truly fills a need among your brand’s community.
3. Be calm.
Tone of voice is everything. Avoid sensationalist, conspiratorial, or dramatic copy, and instead be helpful, level-headed, and informational. Your posts about the pandemic should be on-brand and compassionate, while affirming your brand identity and reputation.
4. Expand your online presence.
If you don’t already have a robust online presence or a means for your customers to make purchases or manage their accounts online, now is the time to start. As people are confined to their homes and working remotely, more of them will be looking to take care of their business online. Try to offer your customers improved online customer service and a better user experience.
5. Focus on increasing brand awareness.
Consumers are saving their money or spending it on essentials. If your products or services are outside this realm, take this opportunity to change your marketing strategy. Switch the focus from making sales to increasing brand awareness
You may need to decrease some of your ad spend right now, especially for ads focused on performance and conversion. Consider putting resources into marketing that establishes your brand’s authority and reputation and keeps you at the top of consumers’ minds over the next few months.
6. Focus on positive social listening of your brand.
People are spending a lot of time on social media, and they’re likely talking about your brand. Spend more time engaging in social listening and interacting with your audience. This is an important time to communicate your brand’s message and establish trust among your followers.
7. Be prepared for high demand.
Even if you don’t offer an essential product or service, people are at home and might turn to online shopping to relieve boredom (those that can afford it at least). Be prepared to accommodate higher demand and strain on your resources.
You’re also likely to get a lot more social media comments, direct messages as people are increasingly browsing their phones. Consider bringing on additional social media managers to help ensure that you respond to everyone in a timely manner.
8. Focus on the big picture.
As regular operations slow down or even stop, businesses have extra time and resources to invest in high-level strategic PR and marketing activities. Marketers often say that we wish we had extra hours and if only we had more time. Now, they do.
Have your team spend this extra time on growing your business. By working on strategy, building up reserves of content, or improving your operational efficiency, you can make your business more resilient to the effects of the crisis.
9. Be socially responsible.
If you’re able to give away items, do so, especially if you have access to items essential during the pandemic. For example, many breweries are using alcohol to make hand sanitizer.
If you have a digital business or streaming service, encourage people to stay home and consider offering free membership options. For example, Planet Fitness is offering free online workouts via Facebook Live, even to non-members. When promoting these offerings, be sure to tap into popular hashtags such as “#IStayHome” and “#QuarantineandChill.”
While this is a scary time for businesses and consumers alike, there’s also a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to your customers. Be open, authentic, yet strategic in your communications, and do what you can to help ameliorate the crisis associated with COVID-19. By exercising responsibility and communicating regularly, you can become a leader in your industry.