Brand communication during the pandemic crisis

As the pandemic spread continues, it becomes more and more obvious that everyday life is affected. So what are marketers supposed to do in such times of serious concern?

Just to be clear, this is not a marketing opportunity to capitalize on, and the first step when considering brand communication during the crisis would be to make sure not to look insensitive, weird or opportunistic. This is a time to understand the unique role brands play in people’s lives and how they can help or be useful during the crisis.

Firstly, let’s try to anticipate the changes in your customer’s behavior. These days, most people are locked into their homes in isolation, and social distancing definitely causes a number of changes that affect the way they interact with businesses. Recent study confirms that 43% of people find it reassuring to hear from brands they know and trust, while 40% want to hear what brands are doing in response to the pandemic. This translates in an overall positive attitude toward brand communication during the pandemic.

Secondly, people’s needs are shifted in times of crises, so consider how people could benefit from interacting with your brand online: can you provide relevant e-services, offer reliable information or maybe, help people stay distracted? In times when reading the news can be overwhelming, distraction and entertainment can go a long way.

For example, Code4Romania developed a bunch of platforms to help people stay informed from trusted resources: real time news updates, how to stay safe and more.

NGOs like Beard Brothers are asking the community to contribute and they help raise funds to fight against the virus.

Thirdly, focus on staying positive and keeping the community together: not literally, but online. During isolation, humans seek out connection more than ever. Brands can create opportunities for people to talk, share and stay connected. Positive non-pandemic related topics can also be a reminder that good things continue to happen, despite the context. Therefore, brand communication is all so more important than ever.

Communication examples for Jumping House during the lockdown.

So, when almost all businesses struggle and the organic traffic is down in most industries, it is a good time for brands to be emphatic, decent, humane and focus their energy on listening and helping people in a meaningful way. Brands that stay relevant during these times are the ones that bring something valuable for their customers, while showing responsibility and consistency. If you can, get involved and help out, maybe even ask your community to do the same and show them some ways of how to do that.

Stay true to your values and now more than ever it’s time to reiterate them in all your actions.

It’s important to think about consumer priorities as well. Based on recent research, these are some of the most basic products people are likely to purchase in the next 30 days. Luxury items will face a lack of interest, as people focus more on buying food, supplies or means of entertainment during the lockdown.

To sum up, keep this friendly piece of advice in mind : brand messages should be simple and accompanied by as much visual aid as possible. Focus on communicating one thing at the time, as people’s attention is smothered by tons of (mostly negative) messages daily. Keep in mind that this is a time to talk to your community like a real human being, not someone behind a monitor. Oh, and avoid making fun of sensitive subjects. Inappropriate humor won’t get you far in times of worldwide uncertainty.

PS. Remember to stay safe, stay positive, wash your hands. Everything will be alright eventually!