“The future is uncertain, but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.”
– Ilya Prigogine (Physical Chemist and a Nobel Laureate)
We, the Humankind, are facing a crisis at a global scale due to the onset of Coronavirus ( COVID-19 ). Perhaps, this is the biggest crisis of our generation. As we grapple together to understand what this means for us, there are often more questions than answers in devising a responsible marketing strategy specifically tailored around your marketing content.
There is no defined playbook for times like these. But, we can be positive, creative and above all, responsible as humans, as professionals and as marketers.
While it’s still early in the phase of WFH (Work From Home) or being in quarantine, businesses are continuing to explore new solutions wanting to keep themselves updated. They may not cut the cheque in the same pace that you’d have gotten used to, but they exist. They are keen to know what they should be doing when they get back.
So, how should your marketing strategy change?
Be mindful that your prospect is going to be in the awareness and consideration stage longer than usual(in this case, it could be weeks or months). This means you need a solid content marketing strategy to keep them continuously engaged with you and your brand without pushing them to the conversion stage before they are ready.
At Paperflite, we are exploring ways to do responsible content marketing at the same time rework on our existing marketing strategy in this period of Coronavirus (COVID-19) (or any intense change in the market for that matter).
Here are 6 ways to draw-up responsible content marketing strategies that we hope are helpful to other brands undoubtedly navigating the same uncharted territory.
1. Pause. Assess. Restart.
As the market is changing rapidly, it is time to put a pause on some of your ongoing marketing campaigns. What you decided a couple of weeks back isn’t necessarily appropriate today.
Adage is doing a tremendous job by tracking marketing activities worldwide and how businesses are changing their marketing campaigns and marketing strategy. You can view the master list here.
The only constant assumption we have during these times is that things will change.
It is time to reassess the potential touchpoints for our brand across different channels; be it the webinar you were planning to the automated marketing campaign mailers via customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
Ask yourselves, “Is this campaign, webinar or blog responsible enough for this moment and in this context?” And when or if the answer is no, time to pivot.
For instance, we had an on-demand webinar planned for this month on customer success marketing. Was that good to go a few weeks back? Certainly. How about today? Probably not.
The good news is that this short break (hopefully) might give you a good set of content to play around once things resume as usual. You can then revisit your content marketing strategy to integrate these additional pieces of content.
Global brands have to be aware of the local context as every region is on a different timeline and scale so that you can be proactive in your communications.
2. Compassion on your Creativity (Images and Videos)
In the spirit of the timeline and the reassessment of your content marketing strategy, perhaps the imagery and language need some scrutiny as well. From tone and visual, from colours to keywords, the context and sensitivity requires a wee bit of changes. It is time to question yourself on these parts with every marketing campaign, no matter size or spend behind it.
For instance, sarcasm or humour is inappropriate for our brands right now. Time to lock down on some of the campaigns you had planned that were funnier. Time to rethink on the creativity on the imagery to be more responsible:
Avoid hand-shakes, hugs, crowded people and high-fives, since social distancing is an essential tactic for slowing the spread of illness.
Rework on the language of your marketing content that describes physical interaction. For example, figurative language like “be in touch,” “work hand-in-hand,” or “get closer to your client” can be avoided as it directly goes against the best practices we follow to prevent Coronavirus (COVID-19)..
Review all your content on phrases that’s now awkward such as virus attack or warfare which might take a whole meaning in-light of this moment.
3. Passive. But, Informed.
Keep your customers informed on the situation at hand. Brands do need to communicate to their customers in response to the crisis. You should let them know about the proactive measures you’re taking be responsible, it could be the store closures, or policy updates. Although these messages might be redundant, they do add value to customer relationships because they are informed.
Put off the alarms. Although, It is quite essential to keep them informed; it is also important not to add to the panic. Be mindful and responsible on the language of the marketing content you are sharing within.
It is better not to brag in this climate, be it the award that you won recently, your promotion or an announcement of being shortlisted on a prestigious analyst-quadrant. Remember, many people are not able to work during this pandemic and are worried about the future.
4. Serious. But, Positive (With a Smile)
You don’t have to carry a grim brand tone to reflect the current situation. Lean into your positive side, let your instincts set the mood.
It is vital to be personable. Don’t make your brand emotionless. Using images of people smiling need not be offensive - it can be refreshing to recall a normal life, and be hopeful for the future. But, take care of the tone.
Keep your teams motivated and generate content out of that. For instance, take tips to maintain office pets and office plants while people are working from home and share it on social media or Download some professional and positive Virtual Background Images for your Zoom conferences and set a positive tone to your video calls.
This quarantine is an opportunity to highlight your people and your culture.
5. Tailor it for the need.
There may be some of the deals that nearing closure and some that will be decided a few weeks down the line - keep the prospects engaged about your brand and the product or service but don’t overwhelm them with unrelated marketing content.
Personalize your content and stitch it together, so it does nothing but help in solving their problem.
Don’t harp on the additional features that your product or service might offer which can be reserved for a later occasion while you try to solve only their business need for now.
Few types of content that you may use at this stage:
- Blog posts – How to solve problem X
- Blog post – What does XYZ cost?
- Blog post – X responsible content marketing strategies to help you
- Blog posts – Responding to questions from your customers
- Video – How to do ABC
- E-book – A simple marketing strategy to achieve XYZ
- Infographic – 10 tips to do responsible marketing during ABC
- Guides – The ultimate guide to topic Y
Remember: The more we show our human side, the more we can all feel connected - even if we are physically apart. It might sound cliché, but it’s true: We’re all in this together.
6. Reach out and Announce (that you can help)
If there has ever been a time for us to help one another, this is it. Every brand exists to provide value, and the product or service that help during this stressful time deserve the attention of those who can benefit from them. If what you do supports or enhances people’s lives while being quarantined or while they work from home, communicate that to them.
Try and take care of your prospects or customers during these troubled times. If they will benefit from your product or service but can’t afford it, take care of them. Help them grow, and they will take care of you in your rainy days.
Never let a prospect or customer go because they can’t afford you.
As long as your content has the focus on helping people, your marketing doesn’t have to stop.
Yes, this too shall pass, the storm will subside, the chaos will end, humankind will move on, and all of us will be back to normal — but, we will be living in a different world.
Stay home and let your content speak for you wherever possible.