“Outbreaks have sparked riots and propelled public-health innovations, prefigured revolutions and redrawn maps.” – The New Yorker, April 2020
“Nothing will be the same.”
That’s the overwhelming takeaway I’ve heard from dozens of conversations I’ve had with C-suite leaders, physicians, policy experts and media professionals these past few weeks.
When it comes to the business practices of large corporations, there’s no time to debate whether or when things might return to normal. If corporations truly stand for something – and nearly all of them claim to nowadays – the time to prove it is right now, as the crisis deepens and consumers look to corporations to step up and lead. Companies that wait this crisis out will learn – quickly – that once loyal customers will readily turn to competitors who made it a priority to be in service during this extraordinary moment.
Communicating that message of service means marketing. With that in mind, here’s a list of fundamental truths given today’s media landscape:
- Context matters more than ever. Every customer is consumed with understanding the threat and implications of the pandemic. High quality, trusted information is critical.
- Given this new context, marketing messaging can and must shift toward communicating how a company is adding value to society and its customers. Companies must recognize the severity of our times – brand messaging becomes serious and information dense.
- The majority of global marketers have frozen or cancelled their marketing plans, and all are struggling to identify and roll out relevant new messaging.
- When those messages are ready, marketers will find that traditional vehicles for messaging have shrunk or disappeared, or seem frivolous and out of context. No NBA or MLB, no Olympics, no live entertainment, and most advertising-driven television production has been suspended.
- Stuck inside and online, consumers are…