Marketing with Uncertainty

Covid-19. It’s turning toilet paper into gold, threatening the livelihood of businesses and causing a lot of confusion along with heated debates. Brands feel stuck. Shoots are paused. Budgets will be questioned. But, here’s the good news: this isn’t new. You’ve lived this anxiety just like I have. There was the time I was trying to get a job in early 2000 (sorry, Mom and Dad). Then, the great recession of 2008 where I saw my salary decreased at my annual review. And now, we have a virus that is kicking our economy in the gut.

As a Marketing Vice President, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, or even the next hour. Today’s threat is something different than the turbulent times of the past. We have millions of Americans who are adjusting to a new life. They are at home and looking for something. Some want hope. Some want answers. Some simply want to be entertained. As marketers, this is what we have been taught to do every day of our careers.

So, what can you do as a brand? Create something. But give it purpose and make it matter. Create something that resonates and helps shine a spotlight on positivity. Make people feel included, not isolated. Encourage activity, not apathy. Inspire people to do what they love even if that means doing it from their newly set up office in their toddler’s bedroom.

I’ve been impressed by how organizations are doing this already. A local fitness brand was days ahead of a national chain transforming daily in-person workouts into live Instagram events. Soccer clubs are offering online programming to keep aspiring Lionel Messis practicing their skills. Distilleries are creating hand sanitizers to help combat the shortage. This is a time to try something new and innovative. Some brands are stepping up to that challenge.

While some industries will face far greater obstacles than others, there’s still an opportunity to stay active and not go dark. While I can’t imagine the payroll challenges or operational endeavors we will have to navigate, I can say this with certainty: Being the brand that adapts, informs, entertains and inspires during these challenging times will make you the brand people want to engage with when they emerge from their homes and get back to their daily lives. Here’s to every brand staying healthy, energized and active.

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