Marketing Empathy During Crisis
Updated: Mar 22
Change and adaptation is for sure one of the most trendy topics in the last couple of weeks since the outbreak and now pandemic of COVID-19.
A lot of business owners have been panicking and shutting down their businesses due to the pandemic and the lack of commerce around them. Truth is, there is so much more you can do as a business owner to market your business. From a personal standpoint, many of us are practicing physical distancing by staying inside and canceling plans.
During this time, there are many questions and answers may not be clear for many business owners, so do you continue marketing as normal? Should you address the situation with a release? Do you communicate the measures you’re taking as a company/brand or maybe you are not sure if that is the right move? Should you push off updates and releases? How much communication is enough, and when is the right time to STOP. It is frustrating, overwhelming and a slump in daily cashflow. It's okay not to do anything.It's also okay to acknowledge all that is going on. But what is the solution to all of this!? How can your business overcome this? What do you do? First off, you must understand that if your business is not essential to the crisis, your best move is to stay "socially responsible" by educating your staff and perhaps, closing for maybe a week or further notice. Our best answer to this is, marketing empathy! Market your business with Empathy Why is this important? Well, as marketers and experts in the field, we know how important it is for you to make a connection with your audience. However, your priority should not be to sell, but rather help your clientele stay safe. They are more willing to listen if you are helping them and your staff stay informed and safe. Whenever you make a post or share a message, you are sharing critical information. You have to be aware of what messages you are portraying and the manner in which you are spreading it. Stay Socially Responsible What does this mean? Follow guidelines and communicate everything that your business is doing to prevent the spread of the crisis. Let your audience and staff know what are the proper steps of your business and what will happen next due to the circumstances. You can opt to be more active on social media to help the communication travel faster. Another option is to help the community with the necessary supplies. Contribute back to the community that showed you the same love and loyalty they have given to you. Adapt and Keep Planning Although COVID-19 has shown dominance over our society and the way we live, we should not let the information and paranoia get to us. Before the coronavirus started its outbreak, you were likely strategizing and planning marketing budgets, campaigns, content to create, events to attend and so many goals ahead for 2020. You don't have to put all of these on a pause. Be creative and start adapting to the situation. Are you hosting an event or workshop? Have you thought of conducting it online or streaming it live via Zoom, Facebook, or other platforms? Have you changed your business model from on-site to remote? What about selling your products to go? All business are different, so you have to find what option is best for you. If you also did not have a plan before, do not panic. See what your competitors are doing, and create a plan for what is going on now and for the future in case something happens again. Engage Maybe this is old news, but have you engaged and resonated with your community? Ask how are they adapting to the situation, and what things they would they like to hear from your brand or business. Maybe a guitar lesson if you are a music instructor , or perhaps an online yoga freebie class if you are within the wellness industry. Take the time to learn more about your best supporters. Have them get to know you better. A face to go behind the brand is way better than just a name and logo. Be Positive Spread positivity and joy as much as you can during these days. There is so much information that are leading us into a panic that we have forgotten to relax and reset on our daily lives. As a business, start spreading positive content on all your brand or services. If you do not handle any marketing or social press releases, tell your staff to switch the content quite a bit, this not only will help your business but also your awareness and how well your brand responds to critical situations. There is no guide on what is right or wrong on how to react to situations like these, but one thing you should never do is spread panic. Focus on educating yourself and your community, and making sure everyone knows how things are going for you and your business. Every business has a different model and way to respond, but lack of responding is the worst thing you can do. Many more changes are likely to unfold in the coming weeks, which means that business owners will need to adapt to the current situation and adjust marketing strategies as needed. While it can be a difficult time to adapt and navigate your business, but listening to your community and customers is the most effective way to get through things.
Gabriel E. Perez
Executive Director, Accounts