Recent events have challenged brands in unprecedented ways. We’ve seen and experienced firsthand how difficult it can be for brands to form effective strategies to continue with content creation and marketing efforts while also taking the current social climate into consideration.
The truth is, a crisis can happen at any given time. Whether it’s pandemics, natural disasters, or economic recession, there are bound to be events which negatively impact the world in enormous ways, so it is important for brands to prepare for these moments ahead of time where possible.
If you’re a small business, it is particularly important to make sure you are continuing your efforts, because you are going to be most impacted by these crises. On the bright side, you are also more agile, and more quickly able to pivot your branding and messaging to adjust to what’s happening in the world right now!
If you’re at a loss for what to do when it comes to marketing your brand in a crisis, we’ve got some tips for you to ensure your business continues being present and relevant even in the most difficult times.
Keep your finger on the pulse
It’s important that you stay up-to-date with what’s going on with the world. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for not knowing all the latest news regarding whatever crisis the world’s currently facing.
Make checking the news a part of your morning routine, and be sure to always look at reliable sources so you can avoid misinformation! Where possible, watch press conferences and read official press releases so you are getting the facts straight from the source, without the messages being paraphrased and potentially skewed.
It’s important that you and your team assess several possible developments ahead of time, and build strategies around those possibilities. While we can’t predict exactly how a worldwide crisis will develop, most of the time we can make an educated guess on what will happen next. It’s important to stay a few steps ahead so you can develop content ahead of time that deals with the new developments.
A good example of this, is the staggered government lockdowns and business closures in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak. Most businesses had an inkling of the oncoming business challenges, and we had a few clients wanting to prepare ahead with statements and other content that address those challenges as soon as it came up.
A key content to produce ahead of time are statements from trusted gatekeepers at your company, like the CEO, founders, or even Public Relations professionals. It’s important to reassure your community and give them correct, concise information on how your brand will be dealing with a given challenge.
Be sure that all your prepared content contains empathetic, action-oriented, reassuring messages. Steer away from speculative content and unverified updates! You need to maintain your community’s trust in your brand, and jumping on the speculation bandwagon can really jeopardise that.
Prepare To Change
While we do encourage you to plan ahead, sometimes you may only have very short notice about a change in circumstances. There are events that we simply cannot plan ahead for, such as the ever-changing details of the governmental regulations with regard to business shutdowns and social gatherings.
In this case, you need to make sure to stay in constant touch with your team of marketing staff and content creators, so that they can be on standby to produce materials ASAP for important announcements and changes.
Circumstances may also require you to change or re-schedule content that may seem inappropriate to share at this time. For example, it would be tactless to share content about social gatherings, and even figurative language like “work hand in hand” or “get together”. So be prepared to share more appropriate and timely content instead.
Not all is lost, though! You can always choose to share those types of content later on in the year, as some of our own clients have decided to do. That way, you don’t completely waste the great content you’ve already produced.
It’s important to be sensitive and empathetic at this time. Ensure your messaging remains positive and optimistic, as it’s the kind of message your community needs in dark times. But also keep in mind that there is a very fine line between genuine optimism and being overbearingly patronising. Crossing that line can be off-putting to a lot of people, so tread carefully.
Something else to keep in mind is this: Please be tactful and transparent when you speak for your brand. There is never a time for hard-selling, but definitely do not start now.
Another approach you must take is to reach out to your community. Make extra effort to check in with your people – your team, your customers, your industry at large. At the end of the day, we’re all dealing with this together, and it’s important that we can be there for each other!
In the same vein, now is the time for you to really consider how your brand can contribute to your community in a tangible, positive way. Whether it’s donating a portion of your profits to those who need it, or providing financial support to members of your community who are struggling, there are many ways you can provide much-needed support to others right now.
Create Helpful Content
A key role for any brand on a social media platform is to be a source of information. While this usually refers to information that is relevant to your brand, it can also refer to information that is relevant to your consumers and community.
During a time of crisis, you can play a vital part in keeping your community informed and empowered through your social media platforms. Creating helpful, informative content can go a long way in building your brand’s credibility and develop trusting relationships with your community.
Infographics, advice, simple instructions are just a few types of content you can create to provide important information to your audience. For example, during the COVID-19 crisis, a lot of brands prepared infographics on how to properly wash your hands. A number of brands have also pushed the #StayAtHome hashtag on their Instagram, and sharing the logo sticker on their Instagram Stories.
Another possible approach is to list the things your audience members can do while in social isolation. Depending on your brand, this can be immediately relevant to you and your community! For example, if you are in the wellness industry, this is a good time to offer a quick intro to meditation to help people deal with anxiety during these uncertain times. Another idea is to encourage people to practice self-care, and empower them with knowledge by sharing tutorials for DIY facials or manicures while salons remain closed.
Community Is Key!
This is something we have said time and again, and it is more relevant now than ever! During this time, make sure you are in constant contact with your community. You need to be engaging with your followers in an honest, meaningful way. Continue to interact with your community and create content that really matters. Now, more than ever, you should step up and be there for your community.
This includes, of course, your team. You may be working remotely, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected! Focus on rallying your team and giving them a reason to be working. Even in the midst of a crisis, inspiring a positive vibe and high morale within your team is entirely possible, and may be the key to overcoming the crisis together!
We Are Here For You
When it comes to supporting our community, rest assured that we will always do our best. We understand that businesses are struggling right now, and want to help in a tangible way. That is why we have launched our special Supporting Local Brands Initiative, which offers our services at a discounted rate to make it easier for local brands to continue sharing content during this difficult period.
If you are interested in engaging our services, but what you’re after is not listed, feel free to shoot us a message! We want to help in any way, so if it’s within our power to do so, we will strive to make it happen.