Though lockdown is beginning to ease in some places around the world, it remains a grim reality for the majority of people. Covid has changed the marketing landscape forever and professionals will need to do everything they can to ensure they adapt the constantly changing conditions. Social distancing will be here for some time and though bars and restaurants are beginning to plan reopening, they are likely to be operating at a drastically reduced capacity. Similarly, theatres, cinemas and other public spaces are set to change the number of people they allow on the premises at any one time.
Demonstrate Genuine Compassion
The overall tone of marketing will change considerably over the next 12 months. As priorities shift and families begin to adjust to their profoundly changed lifestyles, new patterns of shopper behaviour will begin to emerge. Demonstrating genuine compassion and referring to Covid 19 directly is essential. Though it may feel a little repetitious at times, it is still the number one influencing factor in every facet of life. Talking about queuing times, restricted social interaction, and the multitude of unexpected but devastating consequences just show’s you’re fully of aware of the reality of the situation.
Promote responsible behaviour
Advertising is a powerful tool and though most people do not rely on it for strictly factual information, it is highly influential in terms of how people make decisions. It is every advertiser’s duty to ensure they encourage responsible behaviour at all times. Suggesting or even insinuating that people should bend or potential break the rules is dangerous and could land in legal trouble, too. Whatever the guidelines are in your part of the world, ensure that you make sure any copy, video content or graphic design work takes these into account.
Promote Alternatives and Be Proactive
The reality of the current situation is extremely bleak, and the world faces utterly unique challenges, the likes of which it has never experienced before. That said, constantly lamenting the situation and focusing on the negative is not productive or effective in terms of marketing strategies. Now that social interaction in person is either forbidden or drastically reduced, promoting video chat services and things like instant messenger just makes sense. Though these technologies do not replace genuine human interaction, they do provide a link between people in a more immediate way than something like social media posting. Nobody wants to lose business, but the reality for many people who offer services offline means that offering a reduced service and limiting time spent in physical premises may be necessary to make it viable to operate.
Consider upcoming trends
Social distancing means that garden parties and meeting up in the park will be in, but dinner parties, busy nightclubs and bars will be out. Working from home is now the new normal in every industry where it is physically possible, which opens up a whole new set of potential marketing opportunities. Things like home office equipment, reliable streaming and internet security are now likely to see a dramatic increase in sales and revenue. Travel has been vastly reduced, but some public transport is still operational. Because of the social distancing regulations that are in place, things like PPE are likely to become highly sought after. The current situation is as unpredictable as it is challenging but identifying and acting on potential trends is one of the best ways to safeguard against losing your business completely.
Pay Close Attention to the Regulations as They Continue to Adapt
The majority of the world is still subject to heavy restrictions. Even in China, social distancing and numerous other specific adjustments are in place in towns and cities across the country. Slight relaxation of things like the number of people who may be allowed in a space at one time or the frequency a person is allowed to leave their own home can be profoundly important to businesses. As scientist work relentlessly to try and find out as much as they can about, the way virus spreads and how we can control it, governments continue to make their decisions based on these factors. Though there is also an economic consideration, until the infection rate drops considerably, the health and wellbeing of the population will be the number one priority.
Understand that life is technically on pause
For many businesses in the UK, Europe and the USA, advertising has become too expensive and largely fruitless until life can return to some semblance of normality. Though some businesses such as manufacturers of PPE, digital service providers and medical companies may be experiencing a boom, the majority of sectors are struggling. In situations like these, it is important to understand that firms will not have the same kind of marketing budgets they once had, and the majority of content will need to be created either at home or under strict social distancing conditions. This presents a long list of problems for marketing professionals and clients may be more difficult to come by in the short term.
Adopt the correct terminology
All marketing content should mention social distancing and PPE where appropriate. As we explained earlier, it is not necessarily a marketing professional’s job to inform the public of regulations, but it makes sense to include the right kind of language in any campaigns you are working on. Try to echo the official government guidelines, rather than making any predictions or assumptions as this can be potentially dangerous.
There are very few certainties at the present time, which means a set of difficult challenges for marketing professionals to overcome. Social distancing will be at the core of our society until a vaccine is discovered and taking this into account when creating any content is essential. Adapting the industries, you create for and the audience you target will also be important, but the most key thing is to ensure you are prepared for rapid and potentially unpredictable change.