Marketing and Communications in the time of COVID-19 has become a series of revising content and strategies on a minute-by-minute basis. While our businesses, clients and members are thirsty for updates on how their livelihoods are being impacted, it’s pushed many of us out of our “normal” content and strategies into a more reactive approach to communications. The marcom chat boards are filled with people who can’t possibly hear the work “pivot” one more time without experiencing PTSD.
While the last few weeks of the start of COVID-19 have necessarily shifted the brand narratives that we’re telling, the platforms we use, the frequency of communications, and even the locations from which we work each day, they’ve also given us great opportunities to connect with our audiences in a more significant way. But it’s important to identify what your audience, or audiences really need to continue to build that loyalty to your brand. It’s not the same for everyone.
Revisit Your Uniques to Make Meaningful Connections
We’ve all probably had more than our fair share of emails from CEOs from every store we ever shopped, airline we’ve ever flown, and website we’ve ever trod, all expressing concern and determination. It seemed like a great idea until everyone jumped on it, whether it made much sense or not. That was weeks one and two. As the way we’re living now becomes the new normal for a while, what do weeks three and beyond look like? This is where you go back to the things that make your businesses and clients unique, to the things that drew your audience to you in the first place.
You step right back into your lane, and you “pivot” in the ways that you deliver those unique products, services and content. Take your position as the voice of calm and normalcy, and a place where your audience can get solid content to help them get on with living in this new way. Crisis Communications may still be a part of your messaging but look for ways to lessen the “crisis message” and lean into strength and solutions. Maybe you even reach out to your audience and ask them what they need or want. Involve them in shaping your strategy. Then you deliver that right back to them. This is where you reinforce the brand loyalty that you’ve worked so hard to build.
Of course, this requires a new content strategy. (Get going on that in your spare time.) But this new normal isn’t going away anytime soon. Even when things return to “normal”, it will be yet a different new normal. Some things that have had to change will turn out to be good things, even though they are pain points now. It’s the nature of this business to be ever on your toes, waiting for the next thing to come along and rock your world and shake up your strategies. You don’t always know when it’s coming, but it always does. That’s what makes this job so fun, right?