Dos and Don’ts of Marketing During the COVID-19 Crisis

Marketing, among many other things, has always been about creating goodwill between brands and consumers. Today, proper marketing should communicate your brand’s value and what it can offer to consumers in a post-pandemic world.

We live in a time when most consumers are focused on purchasing only the essentials. And because of everything that’s going on in the world—from the pandemic to the recession to climate change—more and more shoppers turn towards conscious consumerism. A 2018 study also found that 64% of consumers worldwide would buy or willingly boycott a brand based simply on its position on a political or social issue.

Now more than ever, how you market your business will make or break customers’ trust in and loyalty to your brand. Here are the dos and don’ts of marketing during the COVID-19 crisis.

Do: Be compassionate and sincere.

More than 200,000 Americans have succumbed to COVID-19. Half of the adults who lost their jobs due to the pandemic are still unemployed. Half of the lower-income adults have struggled to pay their bills since the pandemic was announced. These numbers are dire, and this virus continues to devastate the lives of billions of people across the globe.

Send out an authentic message of solidarity to your consumers. Highlight in your content all the ways your brand cares about those who have been affected. Partner with your corporate social responsibility team to help spread a message of hope by helping out in tangible ways.

If you’re going to align yourself with a specific movement or advocacy, make sure that it’s coming from a place of sincerity and not just a marketing ploy. Your audience will know the difference.

Don’t: Be insensitive.

The last thing you want to do is send a message of excess, materialism, insensitivity, and tone-deafness during this difficult time. Marketing in a multicultural landscape is already difficult enough, but you need to be even more careful when you factor in a recession and a pandemic. Consider hiring culture experts who can help you avoid political and social mishaps in your marketing.

people working together

Do: Encourage minimal public health standards.

Don’t be flippant about safety precautions. Showing your consumers that you care about their health and safety when they step into your store communicates that it’s not just about profiting from them. Remind them through your business’s social media channels of your store’s health and safety guidelines. Some ideas to encourage public health safety include:

  • Enforce a no-mask no-entry policy. Unfortunately, mask-wearing has become a political issue, especially since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages the use of masks to reduce the spread of infection. Show your consumers that you listen to science and data.
  • Buy rags in bulk and consider using them as a freebie or giveaway. Make sure you have enough in your store so that you can easily wipe and disinfect high-touch areas every time a customer leaves.
  • Pepper your store or workplace with alcohol-based sanitizers.

Don’t: Put out inflammatory content.

Your brand needs to tread lightly in times of political and social unrest. If you put out a message that causes a violent reaction on either side, you risk being “canceled” or losing a significant portion of your market. Avoid putting out content that might offend any segment of society; stay attuned to the realities and trends of the times.

Do: Maximize social media to stay connected with your target market and provide alternatives.

Studies show that there are now more than 2 billion online shoppers in the world. It’s a huge market, but you’re also competing with billion-dollar corporations, Fortune 500 companies, and other small and mid-sized products and services. If you don’t communicate with your customers, they will look for a brand or a business that will keep them in the loop.

Keep them updated on your business’s activities and promos, and provide alternatives like a home service or a no-touch delivery system. Show them that you got your back in this pandemic.

Don’t: Abandon your consumers.

It would be a grave mistake to leave your customers to their own devices. Don’t continue to operate the way you did before 2020; new realities demand new ways of operating and providing service to your consumers. Your business’ survival will hinge on how well you communicate with your market in a year when they’re spending more time online than ever before.

Create Goodwill

The world is watching, and you need to be smart about what message you send about your brand. Protect your bottom line by genuinely caring about people. Through marketing, show them that your brand cares about their health and well-being and that we will all get through this together.