Lockdown Marketing: How to Adapt Your Brand Voice During a Global Pandemic (Part 2/3)


May 2020 10 minute read

Summary

- Keep Listening and Responding
- Keep Communicating
- Adapt and Highlight Your Offerings

This article is part two of three, all written to help you keep your brand alive and thriving during this challenging coronavirus lockdown. In part one we suggested three ways that you can act immediately to protect your brand.

Most business leaders, especially marketers, take the need to continually adapt as a given, but the coronavirus lockdown has suddenly changed many things for many people. How should we respond?

Hopefully, you’ve already paused any inappropriate campaigns, sent your first messages to your customers and started having conversations with them about their changing needs.

With the above complete, we recommend that you get comfortable with doing the following three things continually.

Keep Listening and Responding

There are several ways to keep your finger on the pulse, including:

  • Monitoring your social media channels
  • Contacting customers directly
  • Asking questions on social media and by email

While we all know how to call a customer and send an email, you might not be so familiar with social listening. But don’t worry, it needn’t be complicated. There are three ways to get the lay of the land using social media.

Listening on Social, and Responding On-Brand

Firstly, pay close attention to any comments made on your channels, and be ready to respond.

Secondly, monitor your competitor’s social output. Are they doing anything that you should or shouldn’t be doing?

Thirdly, you can listen to the general discussions by following hashtags. Here are are a few to get you started:

#Covid19 / #Covid-19 / #Coronavirus
#StayHomeStaySafe / #StayHome
#FlattenTheCurve
#SocialDistancing

Look for hints on how your current communications might not be as well-received as you expected, better ways to express your message and new ideas.

Keep Communicating

It’s vital to communicate regularly during this lockdown to maintain your brand awareness and be responsive to the frequently changing landscape.

Aim to communicate transparently about how you’re brand is responding in a positive and valuable way, and be aware that your audience is likely to be more sensitive, anxious and in need than usual.

Your Voice and Tone

Customers are currently more likely to be judging your brand values, based on what you publish about how you’re adapting, treating your employees and contributing.

Every brand exists within a slightly different context, but here are some thoughts about what you might want to include or avoid in your communications:

You Might Want to Include

  • A focus on community and togetherness.
  • An emphasis on reassurance, calm and inspiration.
  • A lighter tone, to counter the prevailing anxiety, without straying into indifference.
  • Names, pictures and stories that create a human connection. For example, rather than sending an update from ABC Ltd, send one from a specific named individual.

You Might Want to Avoid

  • Anything contrary to government guidelines
  • Anything that could be perceived as insensitive, opportunistic or posturing
  • Direct promotion of your products and services, e.g. a flash sale
  • Jokes

Stay Up-to-date with Government Guidelines

Ensure that you’re getting the same updates that the nation is most likely to be consuming, plus any that apply more specifically to your particular industry or market. You can sign-up for email updates on the UK government’s coronavirus page.

You’ll also need to think about how you can respond to those updates quickly. You may have many mediums to update, so even a simple checklist will help to ensure that you can reliably push out the same changes everywhere, from your website to your social accounts and maybe even signs in shop windows.

Adapt and Highlight Your Offerings

For marketers, the challenge of the lockdown can be summed up by the question ‘how can we remain relevant?’ You’ll need to use your creativity and customer knowledge to identify precisely how you can remain relevant and helpful, but many of the adaptations that we’ve already seen fall into one of the following four areas.

Highlighting Your Existing Relevancy

Some of your existing products and services may already be highly relevant, or some of their specific features and benefits may be.

For example, if you visit Amazon you’re likely to see a homepage full of DVD & Blu-ray, groceries, TVs, garden products, skipping ropes, yoga mats. These are all things they’ve stocked for years but are currently most relevant to the nation’s shifting interests.

Building Upon Your Existing Relevancy

Is there a new problem or increased demand for which you’re ideally positioned to help? Could you offer advice, discounts or changes to your delivery methods that people would appreciate?

For example, people have quickly found a new appreciation and respect for barbers and hairdressers. Lockdown Haircut is attempting to help by connecting you to a barber who will guide you through the process online.

Finding New and Reassuring Ways to Carry On

Are you ideally positioned to help with an emerging problem or increased demand? Could you offer advice, discounts or changes to your delivery methods that people would appreciate?

For example, several fashion brands have posted clothes and photography equipment to models. This resourcefulness maintains a steady stream of content that’s perfectly aligned to the current context.

Community, Generosity and Inspiration

If, due to the nature of your products and services, all you can offer is support, then offer that. Could you use your brand’s existing reach to publicise a relevant charity that needs extra help? Can you celebrate the actions of your team to provide inspiration? Can you volunteer some of your time and resources, while inviting others to do the same in the spaces where you would usually publish marketing content?

Remember that all brands need to be creative right now, so get on your favourite search engine and look for some inspiration. Look out for sites like Stylus that are helpfully collating examples.

If the lockdown means that you now have more time than usual, why not take the opportunity to get strategic about your brand identity with part three of this series?

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