Now that a global pandemic has uprooted every facet of our lives, each of us is finding it necessary to pivot and adapt to the new ways we live, work and play. Businesses have closed their doors or lost clients and customers, and people have been laid off. Those most affected will be the most vulnerable among us – the hungry, the homeless, the sick and the elderly. While it’s imperative that brands approach messaging through a compassionate lens, we must also realize that we’re well into our “new normal,” and it’s time that we begin to look to the future.
After the worst of the pandemic has passed, we will all be ready and eager to return to a semblance of normalcy. But how soon is too soon to be talking about recovery and life after COVID-19? Right now, brands have the opportunity to act with purpose and humanity and to reengage with customers by reinforcing their missions, visions and values. The most successful messages are those that demonstrate how brands are supporting recovery efforts, taking care of their employees and customers, and doing their part to contain the spread following local government guidelines. The actions taken by brands during difficult times will be remembered and appreciated by consumers. In a recent article from Business2Community.com, Wendy Marx said, “We obviously can’t continue ‘business as usual,’ but that doesn’t mean that we have to close up shop, so to speak. Your audience still needs and wants you to be there, but your marketing and PR strategy needs to be sensitive to the crisis that everyone is facing.” She also shared some helpful recommendations for how to best communicate during COVID-19. The full article can be accessed here.
As social distancing efforts continue to flatten the curve and government leaders begin to discuss reopening the economy, brands are slowly moving from the crisis management phase to adaptation and recovery. It is important that we continue to remain informative and supportive of those most in need, and use simple and sincere language in our communication. The Public Relations Society of America recently hosted a webinar titled “Communications during COVID-19” that offered best practices for brands to ensure our messaging is appropriate, on-target and timely. “What do we do now? How often should external audiences hear from us? What do we say and are our messages appropriate….” Find the answers to these questions and more by watching the webinar on demand here.
Aside from what we are communicating to our customers, how we deliver those messages will also change. Social distancing has led to a booming homebound economy. Consumers are constantly monitoring social media, websites and news apps for real-time updates. They are working and learning virtually, which means a significant growth in online media. Digital channels are more important than ever when it comes to reaching and engaging with customers.
We know that consumers are spending less on non-essentials, like luxury or lifestyle items, and spending more on at-home entertainment. They have more free time than before, and brands that can quickly pivot their business model to tap into these new realities will have great success. In a blog by Patricio Robles with eConsultancy.com, he shares, “To maintain and build relationships with consumers while many are sidelined, lots of brands are upping their content marketing investments.” He also explores brands that are successfully building relationships with consumers in this new economy.
The key thing to remember as we navigate through and past these difficult times is that we’re all in it together. Recovery will certainly be a journey, and it will result in a new and different “normal.” But if we continue to keep our customers’ needs in mind and find ways to fulfill those needs, we can be successful. If there’s anything my team or I can assist you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.