Disclaimer: The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy that is impacting our global community. This article is intended to provide marketing leaders with a perspective on how to possibly mitigate impact for their companies. We hope to provide insights that can help ameliorate the effects of this crisis. This article reflects our perspective as of this publication date.
As marketers, the decision to take action, speak out, or go dark has weighed heavily on us the last couple of weeks. As the dust settles and the path forward feels more certain we also have to contend with a new normal for how we get work done. The traditional methods of sourcing, creating, and even placing content simply may not be an option as the world stays home. Here are the innovations we believe marketers should adopt to adapt their strategies and operations in the coming months.
Leverage technology to increase flexibility, decrease costs, and enable your employees to move upstream into more strategic work. Adopting technology into your team’s marketing stack provides the foundation for your teams to operate in a way that allows you to be a constant part of the current world’s conversation, and it introduces the ability to scale up or down resources as needed. Brands are leveraging technology to quickly fill the holes left by canceled shoots and reduced budgets. In the last week alone, we’ve seen 3 clients at our company have to shift their content strategies since TV commercial shoots were canceled. Instead, they leveraged technology to connect with creators to source content relevant to their audience during the crisis and to fill TV inventory.
Embrace agile content creation with creators
In a time when messaging is constantly changing, not just weekly but even daily, embracing the best practices and benefits of agile content creation is essential. Content creators play a invaluable role in making this a reality since they are:
- Fast: you can spin up content in as little as a day or two.
- Cost effective: making content radically affordable even in times of reduced resources.
- Flexible: you can spin up and down your work with creators since they don’t have fixed scopes; shifting your cost structure from fixed to variable can help in uncertain times.
- Experienced & Equipped: creators are their own photographers, models, editors, and even media channels when asked to post, so in a time when shoots are being canceled, they’re open for business.
Make Noise with Purpose
The brands who are doing good in the world will be the ones who emerge as brands we look up to when this is over. They represent a promise to people in terms of how they can help make that customer’s life better. In response to coronavirus, brands need to take a step back and think how their purpose applies to the crisis we’re in, and then follow through with courage in communication of that purpose. For some, that’s easy: consumer products and health-focused companies can share content around tips for how to practice proper hygiene or stock up correctly without panicking; travel companies can guide us how to stay safe and what they’re doing to respond with adjustments to their service. Some embrace it literally: Louis Vuitton is directing their factories to make hand sanitizer, not perfume. But even telecom and entertainment companies can embrace helping us stay connected with friends & family or showcase positive news to keep people’s spirits up. Be bold and think about how your brand can play their part, but of course strike the right tone: we’re not here to profiteer, but to help.
Stay Social even While Distant
As people stay home, social media usage is skyrocketing. Facebook reported a 37% increase in usage. People are turning to social media in search of comfort, advice, entertainment, and someone or something to feel connected to. Brands should play a role in setting the tone for their consumers on what is and what’s next. Production doesn’t have to be premium to be good. Content that’s less polished, more human, and real to right now has made the biggest impact. Now more than ever is a time for us to use social media for GOOD. Use your brand voice to participate positively in the conversation to encourage sharing of factual information and communicate relevant changes in your product/service, but also don’t underestimate the value you can provide by encouraging community within your customer base and fostering real human connection.
It’s hard to know what new ways of navigating today will stick with us tomorrow. In these moments of disruption there’s an urgency for evolution and innovation. We’ve seen countless examples already and as we continue to find our footing, I have no doubt that there will be more. I hope that these suggestions provide helpful solutions to your current challenges and offer a perspective on a path forward.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a list of brands doing good.