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It’s safe to say that we’re living in unprecedented times.  We’re living a once in a lifetime moment in time.  Thankfully, there is no existing playbook for marketing during a pandemic.

That being said the current state of affairs is a moment, a pause, a chance to re-assess and to start anew.  It’s an opportunity for us as marketers to take a long hard look at the brands we serve and really ask ourselves, what do we stand for?

It feels like a tall order.  It feels like there is a lot on the line.  You want to do the right thing, to say the right thing and to communicate all in alignment with your existing brand.

Take a deep breath.

Start by thinking about what your customers want to hear from you.  If your shop, restaurant or office was still open – what would you want to say to the loyal customer walking through your door?  Odds are you would commiserate about the current circumstances, offer advice, inspire and above all, keep it positive.

Taking note of how local and national advertising campaigns have adapted due to COVID-19, there are several common themes.

  • How are you making an impact on your community?

Brands around the country are stepping up by donating time, money and resources to COVID-19 aid organizations and healthcare providers.  Others are sponsoring community initiatives and spreading positive word of mouth through social channels.  Whether big or small, let your contribution be seen and heard.  Use this nugget as the pivot point for your COVID-19 related messaging.  Here are two different examples of how brands have used this approach:

  • Respect those on the Frontlines
    • Even if you’re not in the healthcare, grocery or first responder business, these workers are to be commended.  Brands across the country are paying tribute to these heroes, producing heartfelt and inspiring campaigns shining a light on those holding our country together.
  • Everything is going to be okay.
    • In this time of uncertainty everyone wants to be re-assured.  We want to know that other people are having the same struggles.  We just want someone to tell us that everything is going to be ok.

When all is said and done, as a local business, your primary goal is to be a positive force in our community during this trying time.  That means leading in a positive way, re-assuring customers whenever possible and continue providing a service in whatever way you can.  All of this creates new news and a positive brand halo that sets your brand up for success in this strange new world.

Be safe.  Stay sane.  Hang in there.  Everything is going to be okay.