How to Communicate with Customers During Uncertain Times: Important Cautions of COVID-19 Advertising

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Right now, everyone is looking for someone or something that they can look to for insight, answers, or hope. The world is in a very new and uncertain place, and it is affecting so many people in so many different ways. The varied effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are continuing to be seen and felt around the world and impacting every aspect of life as we know it. Many customers are coming to us in search of tips and advice on how to best communicate with their clients. Right now, marketing and advertising are touchy topics, but they can still be effective when used correctly. 

There are a lot of different sources out that are all trying to give people the best advice about advertising during COVID-19, and it’s hard to know what you can and can’t do right now with everything so up in the air. Fortunately, there are some definite communication tips that companies have already started figuring out, which you’ll find listed below for your use.

The Keys to Communication During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Revisit Your Strategies

The uncertainty that came with this pandemic is changing the way that people conduct business almost daily in many cases. That’s why companies need to be agile in their marketing strategies during this time, making sure that customer needs are addressed relevantly. Make sure that ads are professional, well-designed, and that they provide helpful information about what your company is doing to look out for its customers in light of the current pandemic. It should also express how your company is helping or considering the community and world, in light of recent events.

Be Authentic

In a time like the present, people demand authenticity above all else. With all of the misleading news reports and unscrupulous brands that are out to profit from this crisis, customers feel like they don’t know who to trust. Those who remain true to their values and their brand message will be the most likely to survive, and perhaps even thrive, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Every brand should ensure that its values, brand positioning, and tone of voice are giving customers a strong sense of authenticity and trust. 

Pay Attention to Segmentation

Right now, companies need all the help drawing in business that they can get. Just as customer buying needs and media consumption habits change during a crisis, so do their interests or their roles in the customer buying journey. That’s why now is the perfect time to attune your customer segments and make sure that you are putting the right messages in front of the right audience. As people start spending more time at home, segmentation is changing, and your business needs to keep up.

Reassess Media Consumption

Again, people’s habits are changing in response to the COVID-19 quarantine that is taking place (or has taken place) in many countries around the world. Since live sports, theatre shows, and other events are canceled; more people are turning to TV and other media for their entertainment. By taking the time to figure out where your audience is spending their time now, you might be surprised to see just how many new ways you can reach them. There’s even automatic content recognition (ACR), which can use viewing history from sports fans and re-target ads to the non-sports-related channels where they are spending their time.

Choose Premium Content and Options, Always

Consumers are struggling with all the uncertainty of today. People are searching desperately for sources that they can trust. Right now, that means they are more likely to trust video ads on premium channels than they might on user-generated content or other media. You need to find the most reputable places to advertise and use those channels to the best of your ability.

Be Choosy About Ad Placement, but Not Restrictive

Right now is a more sensitive time than many have ever seen. As is the case with many serious events, a lot of brands simply avoid marketing on sensitive content entirely. However, since there is so much press and media coverage, and so much other information out there covering the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be nearly impossible to connect with customers if you aren’t using this type of media to reach them. Reports show that as many as 78% of customers wouldn’t change their sentiment regarding ads, regardless of whether they were near COVID-19 content or not.

AVOID Insensitive or Panic-Inducing Content

Finally, and perhaps the biggest takeaway regarding COVID-19 and marketing, is that you need to avoid anything that is going to be offensive, insensitive, or panic-inducing for readers. As many as 70% of consumers don’t want anything to do with brands that are exploiting the current situation for their self-promotion. People want a voice they can trust, and if you publish this kind of content, you immediately burn that bridge. Before publishing or sharing anything, ask:

  • Does it promote insensitive topics or content, such as exploiting the cleaning supply shortage?
  • Is it panic- or fear-inducing in any way? Right now, fear is the absolute last thing that people need more of in their lives. It’s not just a bad look; it’s bad marketing and bad ethics. 

Wrapping Up

Communication and marketing are very sensitive topics right now. Businesses are all proceeding with caution, which is the best way to go about things. These tips should help you find more ways to put actionable plans into place for your marketing strategies and make sure that you’re not ruining your reputation by taking things the wrong way during this sensitive and uncertain time. 

As the conversation changes and the demands of consumers continue to evolve, having a flexible strategy in place will take your business a lot further. Think about what you would want from a professional business that you work with as a customer, and then go above and beyond to deliver that to your audience. That is where you will find success.