As the world grapples with coronavirus and lockdowns, it has been a challenging phase for brands to stay relevant. With markets slowly opening up and lockdown easing, could there be light at the end of the tunnel?

A question on everyone’s lips nowadays is how long will it take to go back to normal or what will be the new normal? Brands should focus on addressing customer concerns such as these and quelling fears. Positive customer reviews during such a time can help in building the image of a brand. Brands that have tied up with NGOs and charities come across as empathetic.

In UK, Cottonelle, one of the world’s largest toilet paper producers, came up with a message ‘Stock up on Generosity’ to send a message to ease consumer concerns and discourage panic buying. It tied up with a US-based charity and pledged $1 million and one million rolls of toilet paper.

To address the consumers’ heightened concerns, McDonald’s Philippines outlined new precautions they are taking such as required temperature checks for employees before and after shifts.

Ford, which has been around for more than a century, has weathered many crises in the past, acknowledged the current pandemic in a different manner. The company demonstrated how they helped during World War II by manufacturing military equipment and now to fight COVID-19, they are manufacturing medical equipment in short supply.

IKEA, a furniture retail company, ran an online campaign #StayHome and showed people playing with kids, dancing, making music or simply relaxing with family to remind people of the security of the home space as the world outside shifts.

Businesses have taken a hit and the economies have been greatly impacted.  With recession looming, consumer behaviour could shift drastically as the pandemic forces people to tighten their purse strings. 

As brands are modifying their communication strategies while some are cutting their advertisement spends, it is very important to adopt a marketing approach which doesn’t seem too aggressive but sends out a subtle message.

Here are some tips that brands can follow while designing their marketing right now.

Communicate wisely and send out a positive message: It is advisable to communicate sensibly and not create fear among the consumers as people are tired of listening to messages and are already in panic mode. Brands should focus on content that gives positive vibes and hope.

Don’t be a seller: Using an aggressive marketing strategy to sell products is a strict no-no at this time. Brands need to project themselves as being responsible and come across as willing to help their customers.

Overusing humour: While humour generally works for brands in normal circumstances but in unprecedented situations such as these, it is advisable not to use too much humour in messaging as it can come across as insincere or flippant.

Don’t reach out to irrelevant audiences: Every brand has a target audience and during such times brands should stick to their dedicated customers and provide assurances rather than trying to reach out to a wider audience or building a new customer base.

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