Humane Communications for Small Businesses in a Crisis

Early April, nearly two decades ago, the first coronavirus cases were followed by an advertising wave. These early ads taught us how to act and how not to act . As a result, there is plenty of information to help you market your business in the face of the pandemic.

There are many ways to remain in the conversation and be compassionate and mindful.

Helpful but not promotional

Early surveys showed how the public felt about advertisements during the pandemic. Kantar found that 75% customers did not want the crisis to be exploited and 8% wanted ads to be stopped altogether. The message is clear: customers don’t like businesses using the pandemic to promote their brand. A business with something to say that is useful will be heard.

Telling your audience about how your business is supporting the community will be more effective than using empty slogans and logos.

Communicate From the Top

Not only the message, but also the messenger has changed. A study by RBB Communications of pandemic ads revealed that nearly 43% of messages came from senior executives rather than marketing directors or copywriters who were slaving over new slogans.

It confirms what we already knew: Senior leaders can build the highest levels trust during times of uncertainty and confusion. The CEO, COO or board members should be the ones to deliver important messages about your business.

Don’t use logos to reassure people.

Stress the Change

In the middle of an epidemic, a customer receiving a marketing message is not going to read it very much. If they open it at all, which is likely to be the case (and many won’t), recipients will scan to find out what’s important: What’s new? How and why? How does it affect them and why?

Four out of five clients want to know what businesses are doing to protect their customers and employees against the financial and physical risks of a pandemic. It’s not good enough to tell the public that you are working on changes. You need to keep them informed as the situation changes.

You need to explain what you are doing and how it will impact the user experience. You may choose to go deep into a topic, depending on your industry or your operation. For example, you could cover topics such as financial aid, legal reporting, or advice for disaster preparedness.

Make the internal external

Several businesses guard their information with a jealous eye. Some businesses require their employees to sign nondisclosure contracts and hire a small army to go after journalists who reveal even the most minute details.

It may have worked in the past, but now that customers want to be assured “we’re in this together”, more transparency is needed. Now, businesses should be as transparent as possible. They should show their entire operation to demonstrate that it is safe, functional and clean.

Even small details like making PPE accessible for employees and customers can help you boost your reputation with customers who are tired of glossy photos and news releases that contain nothing but jargon.

Reference Health Authorities

People want to know that you are competent and have the right information during a pandemic. RBB Communications found that nearly two thirds of brand messages surveyed included information on CDC guidelines. About one fifth referenced WHO guidelines.

It shows that despite the general mistrust of authorities, not all customers distrust leading doctors and scientists. Don’t assume that they are.

Include health authorities’ guidelines into your message, especially if it shows how you are complying with them to make your community safer and your country safer. The trust that people have in politicians is much lower than their confidence in health authorities. Therefore, sticking with the CDC’s message is more effective than quoting politicians.

Don’t be afraid to talk money

The economic anxiety we are experiencing is unprecedented in recent generations. In just three months, has destroyed more jobs than the Great Recession in two years. Even those who did not lose their jobs worry about their retirement, savings, spending and the amount they will need to support their family.

Many companies are now offering financial advice to customers, such as guides to boosting credit or emergency savings plans to help people who have lost their jobs or are draining their savings. Many companies offer financial advice, such as guides for boosting credit and emergency savings plans. This is to help people who are out of work or have exhausted their savings.

You may be surprised to find that more people are willing to listen if you talk about the financial aspects of your business.

These are some of the ways that you can adapt your marketing to our new strange world when it is your responsibility to represent your company. While some strategies may feel familiar, others will need further adjustment. As you experiment with new ideas, you will find that the customer and community still come first.