How to Market during Covid19: Our Top 5 Tips
It’s a very unique point in time in the world’s history, to put it mildly.
Several months since the outbreak and we are still struggling to deal with a global health crisis. Problems of yester-January – such as climate change or Brexit – feel like small potatoes compared to the very clear and present danger for us all to survive, both as humans and professionally.
There is no playbook for times like these.
This month we celebrate our sixth year of being a completely virtual digital marketing agency servicing more than 48 countries worldwide.
As a thank you to all of you, we would like to share what we feel are today’s 5 guiding principles to Covid19 marketing.
TIP #1: Think Global, Post Local
While the pandemic rages on globally, it affects people locally. Yes: we all face the same crisis, but it manifests differently when it collides with different cultures.
This means that it is crucially important to consider who might be receiving your marketing message, where, and whether you can tailor your message accordingly.
When posting something on any of your socials, you will never know who from your global community may or may not see it. This is of course true even pre-Covid19. Differently today is the disparity among how communities around the world are coping with the crisis.
Do your followers still have jobs? Are they receiving proper healthcare treatment? Will their children be attending schools? The answers to these fundamental human rights issues may be vastly different depending on where you are delivering your marketing message.
Be sensitive. Be thoughtful.
Apple released a new iPad Pro and MacBook Air in March 2020 when many local economies were simply not coping with the pandemic. At the time of the launch, its California-based headquarters were in the middle of a shelter-in-place zone with many tech-workers working from home, and they had plans to shut down hundreds of its retail stores worldwide.
Many media outlets commented on the optics of releasing a premium tech product while vulnerable communities struggle to sustain livelihoods.
TIP #2: Timing is Everything
The one constant about this crisis is that nothing is constant. Remember when they told us not to wear masks? When it changed from being ok to have 10, 15 or 20 people in your home within the same month? Or that it was ok to put a recent vacation photo as your Zoom background? (Don’t do it).
The point is: we as a planet have been learning as we are going. We are constantly adapting to the information that is out there, no matter how contradicting or how quickly it changes.
As a result, whenever we post an ad, we are constantly asking ourselves, “Is this right for this moment?”
If the answer is yes, then we are gold. At least for a short while. Until we re-analyze again.
If the answer is no, then we pivot. And we pivot fast.
How do we find out? We look at our reporting, and then we look at it again. We aren’t afraid to get into the weeds and really understand a customer’s experience. We take things to a very personal, granule level to really understand the customer experience and ensure it is where we want it to be.
The goal? To post something that is relevant and tasteful.
This on-point, inspiring tweet was retweeted nearly 40k times, including by Nike’s brand ambassadors Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. Simple, effective, and a good accompaniment to the US$15 million the company donated towards COVID-19 efforts.
of high success campaigns feature an emotional hook
TIP #3: Don’t Worry, Be Helpy
Right out of the gate in March, 2020, Google created the “Do the Five” initiative in partnership with the World Health Organization featured on Google homepages globally. The Covid19 alert five key behaviors to help curb the spread of the virus. Today their initiative promotes mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing.
Of course, some people may think you are fear-mongering by even including the term “Covid19” in your marketing messages. The mere mention of this word does not mean you are stirring up anxiety – not unless it is accompanied by a reassuring message of how you and your affiliates are corralling to help your customers.
Try to include out-going links to public officials such as the Center for Disease and Control, or the World Health Organization.
You can also include a Covid19 notice on your website or social media pages, explaining how your company is dealing with the situation and opening an avenue of communication for those who have questions.
Another coping technique that some brands have embraced is humor.
We worked with the Jewish Museum of Switzerland on their interactive Covid19 social media campaign: “Pandemics and Poetics: A Jewish Lexicon”. Every day, a Covid19 pop-culture term was posted with a definition provided by a member of the Swiss Jewish community.
The 30-day campaign provided some much-needed comic relief and a venue for people to participate. It also culminated in a printed book available for sale worldwide.
TIP #4: 60 minutes
A survey conducted in 2019 by Coversocial reported that 94% of followers expect a response on social media within 24 hours.
Today, according to several experts, since the Covid19 crisis it is expected that you respond within one hour.
People literally do not know if you are still open. The likelihood of them passing by your office or store has been drastically diminished. This means that now more than ever, their first contact with you will be virtual.
Retail businesses such as salons, restaurants and hotels are the highest at risk for this expected level of responsivity. People looking to book an appointment, table or room need to know immediately whether you are still a viable option.
The reasoning behind this is simple: if you do not respond quickly, people will think you are no longer in business.
Gone are the “cool” strategies of waiting 12 hours to respond in order to not seem so “available” or “non-busy.”
Now are the days of: Respond now.
of followers on social media expect an answer within 1 hour
TIP #5: Ramp up Social Media
If people can’t come and see you physically, then the next best way is virtually.
According to a recent article published by McKinsey, “Customers need digital, at-home, and low-touch options. Digital-led experiences will continue to grow in popularity once the coronavirus is quelled, and companies that act quickly and innovate in their delivery model to help consumers navigate the pandemic safely and effectively will establish a strong advantage.”
Digital delivery for those confined or working from home has become a necessity.
Some quick and easy-to-implement strategies to ramp up social media include offering free trials, advice and mentoring, and education.
Companies that have quickly shifted to digital while delivering superior experiences have an opportunity to increase maintain these relationships long-term.
Referencing the infamous piece of art at Miami’s Art Basel in December, 2019, featuring a banana taped to a wall, apparently valued at $120,000 (and later eaten by a performance artist), the Royal Academy of Arts posted this clever image on March 20, 2020 featuring a slightly more valuable commodity (at the time) with a similar visual appeal.
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