Global communities around the world are taking the necessary measures to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. During these times of uncertainty, companies of all shapes and sizes are also struggling to keep themselves afloat.

To say that 2020 is a unique time for digital marketers around the world is actually an understatement. There is no playbook for a global health crisis. But the longer we are here, and we are likely to be here at least another six months or more, the more we learn about how to adapt our marketing to the circumstances.

At the pandemic’s onset, Google Marketing shared 5 principles that guided their digital campaign in the wake of COVID-19. These are still relevant.

1. Context is always the key

Organizations need to understand the local impact that a global pandemic has on its stakeholders. In other words, local context is key in helping firms be more empathetic to the needs of their employees, along with the company’s other internal and external stakeholders.

ASK YOURSELF: Is this campaign right, given the current context in your local market? Each market is at a different stage. For example, Europe has gone back into lockdown.

 

2. Constant reassessment

During a global crisis, it is inevitable to experience rapid changes in market dynamics. Constant reassessment of campaigns, creative collateral, and even marketing guidelines are needed to keep up with the change. Decisions made weeks or days ago may not necessarily be appropriate today. Organizations need to be on the lookout to reassess the marketing approach of their brands as the world around them rapidly changes.

ASK YOURSELF: Though we launched this campaign last month, last week, or yesterday, is it still right for the context and moment?

 

3. Creative considerations

In line with the reassessment of marketing campaigns, your brand’s creative campaign elements should also be constantly reviewed and assessed. Organizations need to carefully evaluate their messaging – from the tone, visual imagery, copy, keywords, and media placements.

ASK YOURSELF: Are all of the creative elements — tone, copy, visuals, keywords, placements — appropriate and relevant to today’s reality?

 

4. Change priorities amidst uncertainties

Firms must now spend time evaluating their media budgets and shifting their priorities to accommodate consumer needs. Brands may see a significant value by shifting their digital marketing priorities towards particular advocacy that helps improve the lives of their consumers while they are staying at home and safe.

ASK YOURSELF: What are the most relevant brands, products, or campaigns our media can support right now, and do we need to re-evaluate budgets?

 

5. Contribute and help at every opportunity

Now more than ever, it is essential for leaders to come together and help one another. Organizations must think of creative and innovative ways to help their customers, partners, and other stakeholders. For example, take a look at your brand’s digital assets and think of possible opportunities for how the brand can support advocacies, donate, or even amplify information dissemination.

ASK YOURSELF: In what ways can our brand — and even our owned media channels — be helpful to people and businesses in this moment of need?

 

Based on Google’s principles, MediaMint offers five additional tips on creating a responsible digital marketing campaign in our new normal:

 

1.  Adjust marketing campaigns and reassess scheduled content timelines

Businesses should audit the digital content that is currently in the pipeline for the next few months.

    • Decide what should be immediately put on hold: Major brand launch campaigns may need to be pushed back, given new lockdowns in some areas. This does not mean that the campaign should be canceled entirely just because several campaign elements are not appropriate in times of crisis. The campaign can resume between waves.
    • Consider which campaigns to prioritize or pivot: Look for some ways to pivot messaging that can help in disseminating the health crisis response plan. Act poised and be strategic in mapping out your organization’s digital marketing campaign. Consider adjusting priorities and don’t be afraid to put some on hold.

2. Carefully evaluate your brand’s imagery and language

Visual communication is a powerful tool. Be mindful of the brand’s message by:

    • Avoiding visuals of crowds that do not promote social distancing: This includes images of people working and huddled together in the office or social gathering of families out of their homes.
    • Rephrase marketing messages that advocate close interactions: Even figurative languages such as “get in touch” or “work hand-in-hand” may be deemed insensitive, and it can be deeply scrutinized by consumers.

3. Don’t capitalize on the crisis

In any kind of tragedy or crisis, it’s important to remember that organizations should not profit from the market’s anxieties and fears. Here’s how you can do it right:

    • Keep stakeholders informed: Brands need to actively communicate with their stakeholders in times of crisis. Relay proactive measures and inform consumers about the organization’s COVID-19 response plan as promptly as possible.
    • Don’t be an alarmist: While keeping people informed is necessary, it’s also important that organizations do not add to the panic. Be mindful of the brand’s messaging and avoid overly dramatic language that will only add to the consumer’s anxieties.

4. Be positive, not ignorant

People naturally become uneasy during a crisis. Organizations do not need to feed into that negativity with a grim and harsh tone. Here’s what you can do instead:

    • Look into your brand’s core values for guidance: Remind yourself what your brand stands for. Let your brand’s core principles set the tone on how you will connect and speak to your audience.
    • Be human: Avoid sending perfunctory and robotic messages. Organizations do not need to strip the brand of their personality just because there’s a crisis. Remember that organizations can still offer well wishes without being offensive or insensitive.

5. Highlight how your brand can help

Brands exist to provide value to their consumers. Tell stories about the brand that can enhance the lives of consumers.

    • Communicating your benefits: Tell a story about how your brand’s value is more important than ever. 
    • Creating helpful content: Even if your brand does not directly help people in a period of quarantine and social distancing,  you can still create immersive content that can entertain, educate, and inspire people while they are at home.

And when it is over

Some things will have changed forever. Expect more and more e-commerce, telehealth, individual modes of transport (motorcycle sales have soared), and more effort on customer service. Your brand is a promise you make to your customers, and customers have switched their loyalty to the brands that helped them during the pandemic. To keep them, keep helping. And up your commitment to diversity, inclusion, and other socially responsible activities.

 

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