Never before has online marketing been so crucial. With audiences being asked to remain indoors to prevent the spreading of the virus, internet exposure has risen exponentially in all demographics, and with it, online brand recognition. However, this is by no means a “business as usual” paradigm; your marketing audiences are expecting you to react to (and in many cases, be proactive with) the crisis situation. How is your brand acting in the face of COVID-19? That’s what people want to know.

This applies to your employee marketing as well. They want to know that your brand is taking this situation seriously and doing its part in this war against coronavirus. How your response is received will greatly affect your brand perception not just now, but afterward as well. As such, it is critical to understand how we must change our marketing playstyle. Position yourself poorly and you could potentially put yourself at risk of “war profiteering” from the crisis – a quick means of becoming a public enemy. But, establishing a human connection and showing that your brand supports the causes against COVID-19 is an effective way to be remembered as a brand that did its part.

Here are the 4 principles to always keep in mind, whether it’s in your COVID-19 marketing or communications.

Show Up and Make a Difference

It’s understandable that there’s a lot going on. You may suddenly have to figure out how to coordinate remote workers and consistent video meetings. However, just because we’re physically becoming more sheltered does not mean we don’t have a large role to play still publicly. Don’t just “disappear” to weather the storm, but find creative ways to appear and do your part. For example, here are just some of the ways other companies are looking to impact their communities.

  • Logitech introduced a program for Kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers to receive free webcams and headsets so that they can more seamlessly transition to virtual teaching.
  • Audible has started an initiative to offer hundreds of free titles for children and students.
  • Babbel is offering three months of free language learning.


Support and Collaborate

The companies at the frontlines of this crisis – the essential businesses, healthcare organizations, and government, are all in need of support and aid. It might be in the form of supplies, equipment. We’re seeing liquor breweries transition to producing hand sanitizer, and clothing brands support in producing cloth hygiene masks. Now is the time to find ways to support such organizations, in whichever ways possible.

BlueDot, for example, is a start-up grown from the labs of the University of Toronto. Their AI solution combines natural language processing with machine learning in order to understand and predict the spread of infectious diseases around the globe. BlueDot was one of the earliest notifiers of the risk of the dangerous new illness, having even predicted its path of infection internationally. 

BlueDot is now working with the Canadian government to continue utilizing AI to gain a greater comprehension of how COVID-19 is mobilizing and where we can implement solutions to reduce its proliferation.

Don’t Aim to Sell, Aim to Solve

Audiences aren’t looking for what you’re selling as much as they’re looking for how you’re addressing current challenges. This principle has applied even before COVID-19 hit the world, but it’s especially the case now. As such, brands should be allocating their utmost attention to devising an impactful (and appropriate) answer to the issues people are facing today.

Take AlayaCare as an example. To address the difficulty of professional caretakers providing aid to people such as seniors given current distancing requirements, they released a COVID-19 screener as part of its home care mobile app software. The application gives care workers the ability to electronically assess risk before they make their visit to provide home and community-based services. This not only protects the worker but those nearby in the community as well. The tool is meant to be used before each visit and is available to personal care workers and clinicians.

Promoting that your brand is helping solve current challenges shows that you are reacting appropriately to the needs of the community, which elevates brand perceptions as one that shows support and compassion during times of crisis.

Communicate with Emotions, Compassion and Facts

During these times it is imperative to display positivity against fear, commitment to cause, and gratitude to all the people that are coming together in these times. It is also an important time to ensure the community. Many factors have come together to create fear and negativity in the community – it is with empathy that you can communicate properly to help alleviate these fears. This is the time to clam and inform – for both your client, customers, and employees.

Subaru, for example, has foregone typical advertising in favour of a direct message thanking those in the frontlines. We produced a similar video in our previous post thanking the nurses battling the virus.

Let’s make a difference. Our communities require us to not just Stay In, but also Stay Innovating. If your business is taking creative ways to support the causes against COVID-19, or our communities in light of COVID-19, you might be a good fit to be featured by us in our upcoming video series “STAY IN-novating”! Please share with us your insights and business plans with us here.

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