Brands in almost every industry have used a strategy of jumping in on relevant life events to bring a conversation to their brand or connect with their audience in a new way. But what is the right strategy when it comes to a global crisis like Covid-19 pandemic?
There is no doubt that there are some difficult times ahead for brand marketers – in this new environment, connecting with consumers digitally can be especially challenging. Successful brands will be those who are adapting quickly to their customers’ lifestyle change and priorities.
Recent research proves that the majority of consumers do not think brands need to stop advertising during the Covid-19 outbreak. In fact, many millennials believe that marketers can play an important role during the current crisis and want to see communications that address the situation in appropriate tone, messaging and timing.
When it comes to brands contributing to the conversations online, it’s good to keep in mind that recently there has been a shift in tone and perspective – people are not only focusing on the doom-and-gloom of the situation but also looking to connect, support and uplift each other. This means that also brands can start sharing more entertaining and educational content on their social platforms.
So why not take the recent toilet paper buying hype and turn it into lighthearted content that will uplift your audience’s mood and make them know your brand is with them during this difficult time.
Here are some tips and inspiration from brands that have done it.
1. Put a twist on your logo
From McDonald’s to The Coca Cola Company, many brands are altering their logos to raise awareness, promote social distancing and encourage staying at home during the pandemic.
If your brand identity allows that, why not put a fun twist on your logo to stay in line with the recent events and tell your audience you understand their situation. Here’s how Ikea is incorporating toilet paper in their visuals to spread the important message:
2. Create personalized Zoom backgrounds
Zoom is a video conferencing app that has gained massive attention due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the past few months it rose from having 10 million active users to over 200 million users. People use it to hold office meetings, attend fitness classes, organize webinars or catch up with family and friends. However, Zoom has also become popular because of its virtual background feature. The tool allows its users to add a virtual background during a call which has created a win-win situation for brands and users. More and more brands are using Zoom as a free advertising opportunity, so why not try it yourself.
3. Start a TikTok challenge
There is no doubt, the video-based social app TikTok is full of brand opportunities. This relatively new platform allows users to make short, looping videos with special effects and musical overlays.
While Gen-Z has been using the platform to showcase their creativity, some brands are also beginning to experiment. Recently, brands have done a great job of using TikTok challenges to spread safety information during the pandemic and to offer their younger audience a distraction from the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
4. Use Memes
Memes grow out of shared experiences, and Covid-19 has given us just that. Memes multiply and adapt to situations fast with the most successful ones having the ability to become something that people keep on spreading. With real-world impacts of Covid-19 evolving, plenty of #QuaranMemes have emerged too, so what does it mean for brands?
Memes can add humour and relatability to brands in the midst of a pandemic. It’s all about knowing your audience and relating your brand to the real experience and the new behaviours of your followers.
5. Try out custom emoji short links
Using emojis to express yourself has become an integral part of the internet culture. Also in these challenging times brands can use emojis to speak louder than words. For instance, in response to the global Covid-19 crisis, Facebook is introducing new “care” reaction emojis.
Using emojis doesn’t stop with social media, you can also use custom link shortening tools that allow you to turn any link into a link with an emoji. It’s a creative way to personalize your links and spread your message across all communications channels.
6. Serve the needs of your audience
If you want to create online brand content that receives a high level of engagement, you have to serve your audience’s needs in a unique and outstanding way, especially in these challenging times.
The team at Los Angeles restaurant Guerrilla Tacos did just that. When the crisis hit, they wanted to do something for their customers that felt fun and homey. That’s how they got the idea for Emergency Taco Kits. To help alleviate customers’ shopping needs during coronavirus, the restaurant decided each kit should include not only tasty taco ingredients but also emergency essentials: Four rolls of toilet paper and 30 eggs. The customer response to this gesture has been positive both online and offline.
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Kitchen is rolling and we are offering these taco packages 🌮 📦 link in bio or swipe up from the link in story! • 🌮 • • #guerrillatacos #LADontPlay #michelinbibgourmand #LA #besttacosintheartsdistrict #latenight #Tacos #eeeeeats #eaterLA #Netflixfood #TheChefShow #JGold #GT
7. Launch a hashtag campaign
From Instagram to Twitter, hashtags are a truly important part of brand social media marketing. Good and meaningful hashtag campaigns can help build a buzz around your brand and drive engagement among your audience. However, they can also be a chance to take a stance and engage your audience to achieve a good cause.
Toilet paper brand Cottonelle, for example, launched a social media campaign to urge people to avoid hoarding its products during the pandemic. Every time someone uses their hashtag #ShareASquare, the brand donates $1 to the United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.
While the coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of people around the globe and is setting new challenges for every industry, brands shouldn’t stay quiet. Instead, it’s important to plan your marketing activities carefully, use your reach to raise awareness about the safety measures and streamline your efforts to achieve good causes. The brands that will stay relevant and close to their audience in the times of crisis, will be the ones sustaining stronger emotional connections with their consumers also in the future.