top of page

Careful marketing: Think long-term and build brand awareness in a difficult time

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

We're all considering how to get through this unprecedented time, both in terms of keeping healthy, and how to survive financially and keep our businesses afloat.

Quite rightly, we should be thinking about how to remain safe ourselves and keep others safe before anything else. But how do we keep our businesses alive and in people's minds at this time? What is appropriate and what should we expect from customers? What should they expect from us?

1. Communicate with your customers

Above all, it's important to keep in touch with your customers and your online audiences. Communication is key to retaining customers so that they are still there and remember you when this has all passed.

They will still want to hear from you, but think carefully about what to say. Communications that offer support, ideas or advice, rather than sales-focused messages, will inevitably be more well received at this time. Try to keep your communications - whether through social media, newsletters, email, or direct mail - focused on the customer's perspective and show empathy and care.

It doesn't hurt to thank your loyal or long-term customers for their continued support. While sales may take an inevitable hit during a crisis, the long-term benefits of good and careful communications are loyal customers and a stronger brand.

2. Think long-term: build your brand

Let's be honest here: we are not closing many deals or announcing new business ventures during a time like this. You are still actively marketing your business, but do so with a view to building relationships and loyal customers over time.

Focus on the future and use this time to build your brand equity - strengthen your brand and make it memorable. If customers think well of you throughout a time like this, they are going to feel more inclined to trust you and stick by you when it has passed.

How to do this? Even though sales may be down, you can work on positioning yourself as a business that cares about its customers and its staff. Now more than ever, people are watching to see how businesses and brands present themselves in the face of difficult times. Evaluate your messaging on a regular basis to ensure you have the right tone of voice. Be responsible, be empathic, and think of the bigger picture - longer-term, you could see real benefits if you handle things well.

If you have a set of brand guidelines in place already, think about your brand values; those things your company really stands for, such as having integrity, always offering quality, being innovative or offering excellent customer service. Are you following through on these, are you expressing them in your actions and your words? Now is a good time to revisit these and check that you're putting them across in everything you do at the moment.

3. Adapt your marketing strategy

The Coronavirus is having an impact on consumer mobility, altering our media consumption habits, affecting supply chains, and creating economic volatility. So it is not surprising that your marketing plan may need some adjustments. Here are some things you may want to think about over the coming weeks:

Long-term over short-term

Switch your current focus to brand-building awareness campaigns, rather than short-term sales-focused campaigns. This means communicating your brand to keep it in people's minds, so they buy from you when the time is right. You don't want people to forget about you while times are hard.

At its simplest, brand awareness can be achieved by maintaining friendly, useful social media posts, but consider others way to boost awareness of your business such as complementary partnerships with other companies, start a podcast, create and share videos, or give a guest blog on another site. By making people more aware of your business, you can become memorable and distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Diversify, if you can

Data suggests online sales are rising as people look to stay indoors more, so if you sell a product or service that can be sold or delivered online, look at investing more budget and time into online sales or services. Small businesses and sole-traders may want to consider online advice, tutorials, or webinars as a way of maintaining a connection with customers. Now is the time to do things differently and think outside the box - and create content online.

Look at consumer behaviour

Stay on top of trends in people's behaviour and use what you find out to continue tweaking and altering your plans as needed. How are people shopping right now, what services or products are they wanting? Does any of this present an opportunity for you or a danger for your business? Awareness can help you keep on top of this rapidly changing environment. Use social media, news and analytics to see how your audience is changing its habits and monitor your communications throughout.

Check messaging and channels

If you have paid advertising scheduled or live, re-visit this and check both the messaging in your ads, and the channels you are using. Consider if it is the right time to be running the ads at all. Sales-driven ads may seem insensitive at this time. If you have adverts placed at events, or in locations that now have little to no footfall or readership, you may want to change your plans.

4. Show that you care

Lastly, and probably most importantly, show people that you care. While this is a very difficult time for businesses, try to offer assurances and support to your audience. Be in tune with the mood. Organisations that can, are taking an altruistic stance during the crisis, offering services or products for free and standing out on social media for their socially-responsible actions.

So we have to think long-term. Think of this as a time to build your brand, raise brand awareness and show a human side in your marketing activity. Don't carry on exactly as you did before this happened, but keep communicating and be purposeful in your marketing.

36 views0 comments


bottom of page