Assessing Your Marketing Plan Amid a Global Crisis

Mar 18, 2020 | B2B, Public Relations

Five Tips to Consider as You Assess Your Organization’s Marketing Strategy

A global pandemic crisis is not something many of us thought we would experience in our lifetime. However, this is where proactive thinking and crisis communications training will become vital for many organizations.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting millions of people around the world, take the time to evaluate how your marketing and communications should adapt.

Not all communications and marketing messages are going to be appropriate at the onset of this crisis. And if you’re not thinking ahead, your brand may come across as tone-deaf.

Read on for five marketing tips your organization should consider as this crisis evolves.

Update Scheduled Content

Assessing your scheduled content should be the first step you take. This is a vital time to pause and reflect on your pre-scheduled content to evaluate language, visual content and appropriate messaging that may be inappropriate. This includes your email marketing, social media schedule, digital ads and traditional media advertising.

Right now may not be the best time to share that graphic you created 60 days prior, so think strategically about your intended engagement goal with what content you push out. Understand what your target audience is looking for and how they are interpreting brand behavior during this crisis.

Consider removing and avoiding the following:

  • Images of crowds
  • People that look overly happy
  • People not following social-distancing or behaving in a manner that may be viewed as opposite to health expert recommendations
  • Overt sales messages

Increase Responsiveness

People want answers to their questions at a rapid response. This does not mean responding to questions with generic, monotone information; ensure your team has an understanding of the core tone of your brand in a crisis and what approved responses can be used as a guide or general template.

For instance, during a national emergency like COVID-19, educational institutions are receiving an overwhelming number of phone calls and social media messages regarding closures and if there have been any positive cases at the institution.

Your team must be prepared to respond to these questions in order to ensure calm and reduce panic. Creating pre-approved answers to some common questions will increase your response time while allowing your target audience to feel like they are being heard. However, be cautious in seeming too robotic in your responsiveness. Consider a set of content messages that may be utilized by your team and customized to achieve the desired tone in accordance to the questions posed.

Pivoting Services with Safety in Mind

Following the latest government restrictions and healthcare guidelines are essential in the COVID-19 crisis. For some businesses, like restaurants, they can adjust and pivot their current services to assist their customers, to a point. Instead of having individuals dine in, restaurants are transitioning to curb-side takeout and delivery services to continue serving the community.

It is vital for every brand to inform their audience on what they can and cannot do during a crisis situation. Keeping your audience updated from the start will help build your brand reputation and could benefit you long term as the crisis passes.

As you shift your services to navigate COVID-19, be sure to communicate your safety protocols in place and how you are working to put customer safety first.

If your services are completely disrupted, consider how you may add value to your customers through expert content, videos and podcasts.

Placement is Key

During a time of national emergency, make sure your tone is matching the current climate of the crisis and ensure your expertise is relevant to trending issues. Only contribute to news content if there is a direct correlation that does not appear to be opportunistic. Using the right tone and maintaining crucial updates will help increase your presence as a trusted resource in a time of a crisis.

Move Forward with Your News

The main conversations in the media will be surrounded with the latest closures and government restrictions as COVID-19 evolves. However, this does not mean we cannot still talk about other news. There will be periods of time during heightened crises where injecting some topics may seem insensitive, so be mindful with your approach.

Pitching your story and continuing with your regular content is encouraged. But remember to use the correct tone and be aware of the current climate prior to moving forward. Being proactive and not reactive will help you and your business in the long run.

At Gavin, we understand how a crisis can cause unexpected shifts in your marketing strategy. Preparing for these situations with a crisis communications plan will help make the transitions easier. Contact us today to talk more about public relations support for your organization.