This is no time to stay silent or inactive as a brand. According to a survey by the World Federation of Advertisers, 80 percent of multinationals are deferring campaigns but the same number are creating new content in response to the crisis. Not only do people want your help, but the marketing ecosystem needs you—and I need a moment of normality: a crisis KitKat! You might be struggling to find the right comforting words or the right action, as if a friend revealed the loss of a loved one. We must ask ourselves: What is the marketing equivalent during these challenging coronavirus times of “condolences,” giving a hand or sending flowers?
For over a decade, I’ve studied the different approaches to do-good messaging and their profitability, authenticity and impact. These are more relevant now than ever and I’ll share four common communication strategies: staying silent, saying something, doing something and enabling people.
Staying silent: The proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand
When not knowing what to say (or do), it can be easiest to stay silent. Like awkwardly silent. Brands, we know who you are and ignoring us might mean us ignoring you at the cash register. According to an Edelman Trust Barometer Special Coronavirus Report of 12,000 people across the world, 65 percent say how brands respond to the pandemic will have a “huge impact” on their likelihood to buy their products. This is massive.
Shouting from the rooftops
This is a crisis, a war against coronavirus, do we really need to listen to your brand’s emotional, violin-filled message of hope and optimism featuring beautiful product shots? Volvo Trucks felt it was important to tell us how their trucks are still on the road and celebrated drivers in the commercial, “On the Road for Everyone”, but it felt more like the trucks were starring.