How COVID-19 has Changed Advertising and Marketing – and Yours Should Too!
Everything has been impacted by COVID-19, including a shift to virtual work environments, businesses having to close their doors completely for a period of time, a drastic change in consumer needs, and the sudden demand to do as much online as possible. Hello Zoom, Amazon Prime, and Instacart!
Throughout the last few months, we have seen big brands drastically shift their advertising and marketing strategies to ensure their messaging remained relevant and sensitive during a time when the world was experiencing so much uncertainty. As sporting events, conferences, musical and theatrical performances, and award shows were all canceled or postponed, the advertising that would have typically gone to promote such events were immediately pulled down. All the while, political ads for the nation’s primary elections were running as heavy as ever, just with a new focus on messaging.
So what can we learn from all that has taken place in the advertising and marketing world since COVID-19 hit the United States? Quite a lot, actually. Let’s take a look the change in advertising and marketing trends we’ve been following, and how they might be applied to your own business.
A Shift to Focusing on Messages of Unity
Brands promoting messages of unity are not entirely new, but we’ve certainly never seen anything like what we have over the last few months as the world responded to COVID-19. Everyone was in search of the right way to align their brand with unifying those who were sick, scared, hurting, out of work, or stressed out for any number of reasons. “We’re in this together” became the rallying cry for our nation. Furthermore businesses were extending their thanks to frontline and essential workers who had continue to go out and face the risk of being exposed daily in an effort to serve the rest of our needs.
Businesses can and should continue to focus on messages of unity when it comes to their advertising and marketing strategies. Given the added division of our nation caused by horrific racial crimes and resulting protests, we continue to need messages of hope and healing. Consider how your business stands to help, how this aligns with your core values, and how can you be part of the solution.
Health and Safety are Popular Buzzwords
There has never been a more prominent time in society for wanting to help people stay healthy and safe. This has become a part of taglines, hashtags, and so much more. A trend in advertising and marketing lately is to incorporate “health” and “safety” into the products and services you provide. Whether that’s automobiles, gas, groceries, soap, clothing, or something entirely different, there is usually a way to align what you provide with meeting a health or safety need for your customers.
Don’t stretch this concept too far to the point that it feels false, but do get creative. Nearly all businesses believe they provide something “essential” to the public, otherwise why be in business at all? So dial your messaging back to the core basics. What do you provide and why do you provide it? With a little brainstorming, you should be able to identify at least one way you meet a health or safety need for your customers.
Being Mindful of Changing Consumer Needs
We have all been impacted by COVID-19 in some way, shape, or form. Consider the impact on your customers. Have they lost their jobs? Are they without childcare and trying to homeschool kids while also meeting the demands of working from home? Are they scared, sad, or depressed? All of this stands to impact their buying habits and how they engage with you. Be sensitive to this. Also, adjust your advertising and marketing messaging to speak to their challenges and align your business with helping to address these challenges in some way, whether by meeting a need, spreading joy, connecting people, or providing a sense of normalcy among a time of great change. Then, be sure to communicate this in your new advertising and marketing strategy!
Communicating Changes to How You Do Business
And just like your customers have been impacted, so has your business. Maybe you’ve had to change your operations to adhere to CDC guidelines such as working remotely, or closing your doors for a period of time if you are a retail location. Even if you cannot serve your customers in the way you once did, be sure to communicate this and remind them that you are still here for them – and will return. This can be a message of hope as well as information. For example, if you are a restaurant who will now be open for curbside pick-up or dining outside, make this known! Many other restaurants are doing the same, so if you don’t speak up and work to stay top of mind you might get lost in the chaos. Advertising and marketing is the most powerful way to communicate changes and sales opportunities. Most importantly, your consistent messaging is a way to grow your brand to ensure you come out of quarantine stronger than ever.
How has your business changed its marketing and advertising messaging in light of COVID-19 and the changes it is bringing to your target audience? Share your ideas or ask a question in the comments below.