Let’s be honest. We weren’t prepared for this. The disruption this pandemic is causing, we didn’t have a contingency for it, at least not an effective one. Now we’re scrambling to react, grasping for a safe foothold in a place unfamiliar to us. This global health crisis is shaking us to the core, particularly in business and marketing. We didn’t ask for this, yet we are now facing it. This is our new reality.
We’ve entered a time where what we’ve done, and how things always worked don’t apply so well anymore. Nobody has written the book on this remarkable chapter in human history because it’s not over yet, and we can’t be sure how this story is going to play out.
Situation Report: According to the CDC, cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in over 210 countries globally (2,884,649 confirmed cases till now). Like other nations across the world, the US is now in an official state of emergency. The escalating pandemic has brought the nation to a virtual standstill.
Forbes reports that 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the past two weeks. No one can predict how long before things will return to normal. We can, however, exercise control over our reactions to this unprecedented health crisis.
Seeing through the fog: In a way, this profound disruption is giving us a new clarity. It is helping us to see what is truly important and providing a clearer direction forward. We must confront the truth. We must guard ourselves and those we care about this threat. We must rise to the challenge and fight this enemy for the greater good. Our survival depends on it.
Opportunity for revitalization: This coronavirus has spread like wildfire across our nation. A forest fire is a terrible event, yet it is also renewing and transformative. It stimulates new growth. It opens the canopy to sunlight and clears away the undergrowth. Resilient seeds can now flourish in a newly opened space, in soil fertilized by the ashes of destruction.
This is the mindset progressive business leaders will adopt. They will look upon this dramatically altered economic landscape and see through to the opportunities it has created. They will keep what is salvageable and regrow what is not, with an eye toward improving and adapting their products and services to a new and changing environment.
A leveled playing field: In our metaphorical book of business, concerning the section on marketing strategy, pages have been suddenly ripped out and thrown away by the pandemic. In this respect, we and our competitors are now in similar situations. We must rewrite the next chapters, mindful of the new and fearful antagonist that has entered the narrative COVID-19.
How will we begin? While we devise our starting passages, we must think carefully about how we want our story to work out. Will we fulfill our harrowing quest and beat this virus, so that everyone can live happily ever after? If so, the words we choose now must lead to that conclusion.
Communication is key: Good communication is absolutely essential to an effective response. We must create a comprehensive vision of the optimum outcome. The plan of attack must be voiced clearly to all levels of business, internally and externally.
People are justifiably distressed and are looking for guidance. Your message should convey an assuring tone of calm and control. It is important to prove that you are listening and understanding their needs and that you are committed to compassionately addressing those concerns.
This must begin with a strong statement of acknowledgment of the severity of the situation. You should explain how this is affecting the core interests of your business and be transparent about the steps you are taking to stabilize your finances and logistics. Your employees are more likely to bond together to back your efforts when you allow them to fully understand the situation.
Marketing countermeasures: In the quickly changing economy, brands are altering their strategy to address rising levels of uncertainty in every market. Many brands have started to use a mission or cause-related marketing messages. Ad spends on both traditional and digital platforms is predicted to decrease by 25 to 40 percent. More than half of all businesses plan to decrease their ad spending in the second and third fiscal quarters of 2020.
Businesses are looking for actionable insights into how to mitigate the impact of the pandemic while the coronavirus storm passes. This is the perfect time to be amping up online sales and exploring at-home delivery options for your products.
Monitor your social media feed: Social listening is of critical importance to your business during this crisis. The social and economic climate is changing rapidly as people try to cope with the health risks and comply with social distancing. Continuously monitor feedback about your brand online. Investigate keywords related to your industry and analyze SEO metrics.
By paying attention to what people are saying about your brand and following keyword trends, you will gain vital insight into how your business is perceived. You will learn how your customer’s requirements are changing so that you can act swiftly to meet those needs.
Connect to your audience through Influencer Marketing: With isolation measures in place and social distancing keeping most of us close to home, people are understandably restless. We are spending much more time monitoring the news and communicating with our social network through various social media platforms and video communication tools. With people more glued to their screens, you can use the opportunity to get your marketing messages out online. In addition to enhancing your online presence, you can communicate your marketing objectives by partnering with the right kind of influential members of the online community.
Modify marketing messages to indicate your customer concerns: The most important factor of your communication with your relevant audience must be to show empathy. Your message should demonstrate an awareness of the factors affecting the state of the economy. Show respect for your customers and speak sensitively to changes in their financial status due to unemployment. Be careful about how and what you promote during this period. In a time of financial hardships, it is perhaps not appropriate to be pushing expensive luxury products, for example.
Focusing on what you can do: The coronavirus pandemic is indeed a major health and economic crisis, with many obstacles to be overcome and limitations that will need creative solutions, but together we are up to the task. Hard decisions will have to be made. There is nothing easy about this situation. For the businesses that survive this economic blow, there will probably be a significant negative impact on operations and a short-term loss in profit.
Time to think ahead: This is certainly an unforgettable moment in history. We will eventually look back on our experiences during the Coronavirus Crisis of 2020. We will remember what we did, with shame or with pride. We will remember how our fellow citizens, government bodies, and businesses around us behaved when the coronavirus struck, and isolation measures turned our world upside down.
Snatch the moment: This is an opportunity to not only survive but strengthen your business position in terms of communicating your vision, crafting your image, and building your reputation. The steps you take now will have a strong and lasting effect on your success in the wake of this health crisis.
The world will eventually recover from the coronavirus pandemic, as will the economy. If you passionately dedicate your efforts to protecting and supporting the people around you, your business will not merely weather this storm but flourish in the days to come.