A Roundtable Discussion From Our Leaders – What To Focus On Right Now
The uncharted waters of the coronavirus pandemic have created a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to navigating the next steps for your business. While marketing may not be your top priority, the last thing you should do is put it on hold. More than ever, you need a strong strategy for both your messaging and your methods of delivering it.
Making the right decisions today can help ensure that you won’t just survive this challenge, but emerge from it with a more powerful brand.
So, what should you be focusing on? Zehnder’s team leaders share some perspective to consider across all areas of your evolving outreach plan.
Keep thinking forward.
It’s easy at times like this to focus on today and the crisis at hand, but when you’re managing the marketing for your company, you have to be looking at today, tomorrow and the months ahead and thinking about what happens next. Sitting still isn’t an option. How does your brand come out of this stronger, not weaker?
Find strength in your message.
A MAGNA analysis of brand performance in previous downturns (2001, 2008-2009) suggests that brands that were able to maintain advertising activity, or increase their share of voice during the crisis, outperformed the ones that “went dark” during the recovery. Brands that keep advertising will come through this stronger than brands that suspended spending.
Stand apart from the competition.
Sometimes a downturn can be an upturn for a business. During this time, it’s important to consider these questions: What new products can we offer? How can we repackage? How can we reposition ourselves? Who seems to be doing it well, right now?
In situations like this, the only thing that's certain is uncertainty. You will need to change your plans so that you can adapt to whatever the current situation will become. Remaining flexible, responsive and innovative to the current situation is the best to survive, and perhaps even thrive after.
Nail the messaging.
Obviously, a lot of decisions over the coming weeks will impact the company's future. One of the most important will be the messaging that's delivered to employees, stockholders and customers. This messaging will be crucial in the reputation that your company will carry after the crisis ends. In such a fluid and unprecedented situation, it is important to address each target with honesty and transparency about what you're up against. Show empathy to all different groups, and show confidence that you can get through this. A crisis affects everyone in different ways, it's important to keep that in mind.
Your website is the cornerstone.
Take the time to do a content inventory and audit and clean up your site to maximize its usefulness and relevance. Bolster your content marketing efforts. Do a cookie inventory and audits for GDPR and CCPA. Use this opportunity to get compliant. Focus on accessibility and ADA level A & AA conformance.
Mind the change in traffic.
Online behavior has changed, including search. While everyone is staying home, there will be less mobile traffic and more desktop traffic. Be sure to update your business hours on Google, Facebook and other channels. And adjust local search to help if you have locations.
Custom, engaging content is king.
It’s essential to remain a part of the conversation during this time. There may be a true need to pause on some media spend depending on your specific industry or business challenge, but you can still make an impact online. This is an opportunity for all brands to amplify their virtual presence by informing, entertaining and communicating in a way that’s truly unique. Everyone is watching and searching. Will they find you?
Stay true to your voice.
While there is a clear-cut need to adjust messaging during a time like this, it’s essential to maintain the voice that makes your brand authentic. Don’t let the gravity of our current situation pull you in a completely different direction when it comes to how you engage customers. Those familiar with your brand will be quick to sniff it out. The reason your brand has been so successful is that it is genuine. Conversational is still fine, but hedge your bets on the side of seriousness when it comes to your tone. Back it with confidence and a lean towards hope. Just speak your heart – a mix of being with-it, concerned, supportive and inclusive.
Perfect the process.
Ensure you have a defined crisis team and that everyone on that team is fully in the loop on critical and relevant information. They, in turn, should know how this info needs to be disseminated to internal and external audiences. Make sure each member of the crisis team has the ability to speak openly. Play out worse case scenarios. Be prepared for next phases and evolution of the crisis.
Even in the worst circumstances, there is opportunity.
There’s no better time than in a crisis to build trust and confidence, or to showcase your core brand values. Rethink the challenges you faced a month ago with fresh eyes – how does the current crisis afford opportunities to connect with customers, staff, vendors, traditional journalists and social media audiences?
Lead with empathy, not fear.
We’re all in this together. People have been bombarded with crisis messaging on social media channels for weeks. Use that shared experience to produce relevant and valuable content for your consumers, not feed off their fear.
Be creative like never before.
Every business is seeing a disruption in their campaigns across industries, but now is a time to think about how you can use social media to your advantage. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have both seen a 40% increase in usage in the past month. Think about how you can use services like Zoom to do virtual consultations, webinars and group “hangouts.” Think about how you can utilize the “live” features on Facebook & Instagram to create personal connections with your followers or collaborate with other brands. People are craving that human interaction and have proven that they are willing to try new virtual platforms to get that interaction.
Adjust to shifting media consumption.
It’s important to continually track the role of Connected TV and Paid Social. To reach audiences where they are consuming media during this time, you should adjust your media strategies rather than pausing or cancelling them altogether. Viewership of News content has been slowing down due to News fatigue. The interest has been moving towards Family Friendly, Lifestyle and Travel. Growth has also been accelerating for CTV ad slots.
If you have any further questions or concerns, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While none of us has ever experienced anything like this, we truly are all in it together. The best way to make our way through is by leaning on and learning from each other. We’d love to talk!