As lockdowns begin to ease across the world, businesses are champing at the bit to get trading again. Unfortunately, social distancing and other measures are still going to be in place for some time, meaning that advertising campaigns are going to need to reflect this. Rather than burying your head in the sand and trying to carry on as normal, it makes sense to adapt your campaigns to reflect the current reality we are all experiencing. Here are six tips for effective reopening campaigns after lockdown.
1. Build Excitement
For bars, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, and any other hospitality-based business, building excitement amongst your customer base is a good strategy to encourage engagement. Let your customers know how good it is going to feel for both you and them, once you are finally allowed to open up and trade again. Though there are obviously far more pressing concerns for most people, being able to enjoy a drink with friends, a family meal, or a trip out to see your favourite band are amongst some of life’s greatest pleasures. Emphasise this in your campaigns and acknowledge how difficult this period has been for everybody concerned. The relief and sense of wellbeing that will be experienced when people can finally enjoy all of the “non-essential” parts of life will be significant.
2. Appeal to customer’s hunger for variety
Though staying at home can have its perks, for businesses that rely on footfall, the enforced lockdown caused by Covid 19 has been nothing short of catastrophic. Despite what some sections of the media may be suggesting, this situation is not going to last forever and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy a great morning coffee in a trendy café, followed by a spot of brunch in a good quality restaurant, followed by a leisurely afternoon of shopping and browsing. Emphasise how good it will feel to get back out into the real world and enjoy the vast array of activities that life has to offer, away from the confines of the online world.
3. Be positive about logistical restrictions
This may be easier said than done as social distancing measures will inevitably mean significantly reduced trading for many businesses, but the way in which you frame your reopening campaign is critical. If you are able to offer a takeaway service, socially distanced dining or events that involve your customers wearing PPE, try not to dwell on how disruptive this will be. Instead, make a point of how you and your business have done everything you can to restart trading and make the best of this profoundly unusual situation. We would all prefer to be able to sit close together and to come and go as we please, but the reality of the Covid 19 outbreak has made this impossible for at least a while longer. If customers are required to “pre book” slots for dining, drinking, exercise classes or other activities, make this sound as simple and appealing as possible. Using a professional content writer may be helpful if you are not the best with written language and explanatory videos can also be helpful.
4. Demonstrate resilience and adaptability
Customers respect businesses that can survive against the odds. Rather than leading with campaigns that dwell on the difficulties caused by the current crisis, make a point of talking about how you and your team have adapted to the situation in order to allow you to continue trading. As always, there is a fine line between boasting and celebrating your achievements, so pay close attention to the tone of voice you use in both video and written content. Show your new and existing customers what you have done to make trading a reality and talk about how excited you are for the future. There is no question the current climate is challenging, but with enough grit and determination, we can and will overcome all of the problems it has presented to us.
5. Offer reassurance and present your message with confidence
During uncertain times, when the information we are being given by governments seems to change on a daily basis, it is natural to experience a degree of anxiety, whether you are mentally healthy or not. Customers need to know that it is safe to use your business again and they will naturally have concerns about things like hygiene, cleanliness, and safety. Though you don’t necessarily have to lead with the precautionary measures you are implementing, discussing things like staff PPE measures, how you plan to enforce social distancing and new cleaning regimes will demonstrate that you are taking both your customer’s safety and the severity of the Covid crisis seriously.
6. Make it about more than just your business
It is fact that in order to restart the economy, people will need to begin spending money again. Though online retailers may have enjoyed a spike in sales and subscriptions as a result of lockdown, for offline business, the opposite is true. Discuss how important it is for people to get back out there and start interacting with the real world, not only for their own health and wellbeing, but also for the good of the economy as a whole. For digital marketing professionals, focusing on just the basics will prove ineffective as the world is now a vastly different place to the way it was six months ago. By all means, promote your products, but try and make your messages relevant to the bigger picture, too. If you are a fitness instructor, talk about the health benefits of being around other people, if you work in cinema or theatre, mention the importance of the arts when it comes to maintaining cultural capital. Messages that come across like old fashioned, hard sell 1960s ads will fall flat as this approach is no longer relevant to the way we live today.
The key take away here is to react to the reality of the situation we are living through, no matter how challenging that is. Strike a balance between upbeat, positive messages and realistic, heartfelt appreciation for how significantly the world has changed in such a short space of time.