How Brands Can Make it Matter During a Crisis

As marketers, we frequently boast about our ability to adapt and evolve—whether that be with new technologies, changing audiences, or unexpected business shifts. A global pandemic is putting this ability to the test in a way we’ve never experienced before.

As if the possibility of contracting a deadly disease isn’t anxiety inducing enough, we are also facing an unstable and unpredictable economy. It’s a scary time to be a human, but it’s also a scary time to own a business. While it seems America is still in the early stages of this pandemic, there are opportunities for brands to make a positive impact during this insecure time. We’ve outlined three things to consider for your brand’s advertising during the coronavirus outbreak.

Be mindful with your content alignment.

Brand safety is always important, but ensuring your brand is displayed in a positive, contextually relevant environment is critical right now. Coronavirus news is hard to escape, from social media, to television, to your inbox, it really is everywhere. In fact, 88% of people said coronavirus is changing how they consume content online (Integral Ad Science). Consumers are rightfully worried during this time of uncertainty.

Brands typically want to steer clear of showing ads alongside negative news, but this isn’t a blanket statement. According to the same study recently published by Integral Ad Science, consumers do want to see health- and government-related ads next to coronavirus content. Alternatively, consumers do not want to see food & beverage or travel brands adjacent to coronavirus content.

Many brands are also reluctant to advertise right now due to fears of coming off like they’re trying to profit from this crisis. It’s always important to be sensitive about your ad’s message, timing, and placement of delivery, but even more so during this pandemic. It’s imperative that you communicate with your agency or your digital partner to ensure your ads have the right message and are serving alongside the right types of content during this crisis.

Be creative with your approach.

Some brands rely solely on physical locations and experiences to maintain relationships with their customers. This makes it incredibly difficult to maintain a business when people are encouraged to stay home. With the recent lack of human connection, we’ve seen some brands execute some really unique activations to engage their audiences.

Some of our favorites: local whiskey distillery J. Reiger producing hand sanitizer, Guinness’s hopeful response to St. Patrick’s Day cancellations, and museums hosting virtual tours.

Businesses are getting incredibly creative to help people by providing goods, services, and even just good vibes in this time of need. Some business models provide solutions that are more obvious than others (like restaurants and bars offering curbside delivery or gyms hosting virtual classes), but we urge you to think about your offerings and how they could benefit someone at home. If nothing else, spreading positivity in a genuine way is appreciated by consumers right now.

Be strategic with your targeting.

Since consumers are not leaving their homes much, this presents a unique opportunity for digital media consumption. According to Tremor Video, connected TV has seen a 200% increase since March 1st. Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged Facebook is seeing huge surges in usage. Ultimately, people are spending more time on the internet.

Depending on your brand’s vertical, now may actually be a good time to engage with your audience. People are spending more time consuming digital media, whether that be browsing the internet, scrolling through Instagram, or finally binging the show they’ve been meaning to watch. If you’ve planned to promote your brand with out-of-home or event-based marketing within the next month or so, it may be smart to consider reinvesting those dollars into digital media.

While we do not know what tomorrow will bring, we do plan to stay focused, strategic, and continue to do our best to make it matter for our clients. And in case you haven’t heard it in 37 emails already today, we hope you’re staying well!

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