Here’s what you should and shouldn’t be doing as you position your business during the pandemic
At Yakkety Yak, we’ve been asking ourselves how we can help other businesses—especially small companies who may be struggling to stay afloat during this time—position themselves as the world and businesses everywhere slowly reopen. Our team has compiled our best advice on what you should and should not be doing with your marketing strategy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Do be thoughtful.
Choose forms of communication that show you view your audience, your team and your clients as people first. Using language in your advertising and social media posts that is sensitive to your customers’ potential situations, whether they may be impacted financially by the pandemic or missing loved ones as they continue to social distance, can help your brand nurture goodwill and build your audience—even with customers who may not be in a position to make a purchase at this time.
For businesses preparing to head back to the workplace, find ways to ensure your employees feel comfortable and safe. Send out a survey to see how people feel about coming back to work, consider options for those who will have to take public transportation and order face covers, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer for the whole office in advance.
Whatever you do, don’t turn the situation into a joke. Yes, it’s good to keep things lighthearted when appropriate—by sharing relevant memes on your Instagram about social distancing, for example—but there’s definitely a line you don’t want to cross.
Remember, your audience may be grieving. You don’t know how they’ve been personally affected by the coronavirus. Some have experienced great loss or are dealing with financial difficulties during this time that will affect their buying, spending and attitude toward your brand.
Do foster connections.
When it comes to other marketing materials, making small tonal adjustments to your regular communications—adding in words of encouragement and personalization tokens—can add in some of that human connection we’ve been missing with social distancing while letting your customers know you’re thinking of them. If your business is fulfilling orders, including personalized thank-you postcards helps add in a much-needed personal touch. It’s also a good time to practice social listening and see where your audience is.
Let your clients know about any updates to your policy and hours as businesses reopen, as well as measures taken to protect your employees and community. Small details that help consumers, such as relaxed return policies, curbside pickup and store hours for the elderly and vulnerable, can be especially helpful.
Don’t be slimy.
With essential items such as face masks looking to be necessities for a while, more and more brands are making them—and providing more personalized, stylish options than ever before. Branded essential gear isn’t a big deal, but there are some marketing tactics that just go over the line.
This Pepsi sign, for example, displayed near a Walmart COVID-19 testing site in Orlando, caused fierce Twitter backlash for feeling not only inappropriately cheerful but also for the false implication that Pepsi sponsors Walmart’s testing sites. Actions like this will only make people feel that you’re more in it to promote your brand than to actually help out and may ultimately damage your business’ reputation.
Remember, there’s a fine line between acknowledging a situation and taking advantage of it. Unless your company is making or doing something relevant to pandemic relief, further saturating feeds with COVID-19 related ads or messaging will just make your consumers feel uncomfortable and used.
Do focus on how you can help.
Whatever your company does, think about how it can be of help during this time. Whether it’s providing food for those in need like these Chicago staples, including Frontera Grill and The Hideout, or changing your product offerings to include face masks and donating a portion of the proceeds to the pandemic effort like Lake Effect, tell your customers what’s going on and how they can help your company do good.
And even if your company isn’t in a position to make big changes like that, there are smaller steps you can take. “No action needed” discounts (like the 20% monthly bill reduction Progressive gave to their customers), free services (like Verizon giving 15MB of free data to their users) or setting up free resources for those who need them most (like Zoom connecting teachers and students with free video conferencing or Headspace offering free mental health support for frontline workers and anyone unemployed during the pandemic) not only shows that you’re in it for the right reasons but can also ensure a loyal customer base in the future.
How is your brand positioning itself at this time? Yakkety Yak is here if you need help or a way to start.