The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing During a Crisis

A card reading "Do's and Don'ts" clothe-pinned to a string.

It’s challenging to find ways to market yourself in times of crisis. A look-at-me approach can leave a bad taste in the mouths of consumers during a global pandemic or times of unrest. But you need to make your company heard and get your services to your customers, who are finding solace in hearing from their favorite brands. Before reaching out, it’s important to become aware of the do’s and don’ts of marketing during a crisis, as coming off as egocentric and oblivious can have a lasting impact on a brand.

Don’t Capitalize on a Crisis

It’s appropriate to address a crisis, but you don’t want to come across as tone-deaf in a climate dominated by uncertainty and tension. When marketing your service or product, ensure you’re not promoting it as a form of relief from the crisis or using scarcity to increase prices. Instead of pursuing the “hard sell,” exhibit empathy. Don’t use fear as a tool to promote your brand. Use this time to convey personable messages, show support, and demonstrate value by providing helpful resources.

Transition into Transparency

Beyond your shift in schedule or policy changes, don’t be afraid to inform your consumers if you’re struggling. People recognize that it’s not business as usual and will show support to brands expressing need. Also, you want to keep your lines of communication open and constantly be engaging with your supporters. Offer a look behind the scenes of your company and show how you’re dealing with the crisis; it will convey that you and your supporters are all in this together. We’re in tumultuous times and showing vulnerability is a good reminder that behind your brand are people.

Reexamine Your Language and Imagery

It’s vital your business continues to communicate through a combination of words and visuals, but you should be wary of the message you’re portraying. Before posting content across your channels, consider the following:

  • Taking a Stance: If you wish to side with a particular cause, you must be okay with people walking away from your brand. There are people on both sides of any aisle, no matter how clear cut the cause.
  • Use Appropriate Images: Use visuals that promote safe practices or celebrate diversity. Read the room to avoid images that clash with current events or come across as oblivious.
  • Promote Optimism: People are desperate for sources of hope and inspiration. Depict community outreach or use your voice to express appreciation for humanitarians.

While following these precautions, it’s also important you maintain the qualities of your brand, as discussed in our blog, Industry Facing vs. Client Facing: Picking the Right Voice.

Don’t React to the New Normal – Prepare for It

One of the worst things a business can do is hold off on action and hope things will go back to normal in a few more weeks. With the ongoing pandemic and the nation’s injustices reaching their boiling point, there will be a lasting impact on society, and it will forever change the consumer landscape. You will have to redesign your marketing playbook and come up with a plan to mold your messaging, brand identity, and product strategy to coincide with the reality that’s to come. Start working on it now.

You need to market your business for your livelihood and those of your employees and customers, but marketing during a crisis without empathy and emotion is worse than not marketing at all. Vision Advertising is adapting to this changing world and reevaluating the ways we convey our message, and we’re working with our clients to do the same. If you need help finding the right way to market during these or any other crises, we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you’re in need of guidance.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.

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