The worst thing you can do in a crisis is to stop communicating. It’s a natural reaction to pull back, but going dark is a huge mistake. Instead, it’s time to rethink your communication, and start planning for what comes next.
It starts with your own employees. Your brand is determined by the experience your clients have with your company – and that is driven by your employees. If they don’t feel safe, if they don’t have a clear understanding of how your company is addressing this crisis, then they can’t continue to serve your clients.
Disruptions caused by switching to remote work, concerns about job security, kids home from school – your employees have a whole new set of issues to deal with. Don’t make guessing what’s happening with their company one of them.
Don’t wait until you have all the answers. We all know it’s going to change, share what you know now, and then keep updating. You really can’t over-communicate with your own team in times of crisis.
All great marketing has the same approach: focusing on what’s important to your clients. What that is, however, changes in times of crisis. I frankly don’t need to know that Intuit, great company that it is, is doing the same thing everyone else is doing: implementing remote work, suspending business travel, washing their hands, etc.
What I do care about is how your company is helping me to address the new problems I have right now, demonstrating your value today and in the future.
Don’t be tone deaf
Toyota just suspended their long-time tagline, “Let’s Go Places,” which just doesn’t have the same ring to it all of a sudden. Their new message, “We’re Here For You” has caused an outpouring of questions on Facebook: “How exactly are you here for me? I just lost my job, and can’t make my car payment.”
No marketing is without risk – or at least, no marketing worth doing. But, messaging that made total sense two weeks ago can seem completely out of whack today.
Not that it happens a lot right now, but if we’ve met in person, there’s a good chance you know that I love Tommy Bahama. However, I’ve been receiving the same emails from Tommy that were obviously pre-programmed months ago. I’m all for that kind of planning ahead in your marketing, but it all needs to be viewed in a new light. With a little bit of adjustment, taking current circumstances into account, it would be much more effective.
What marketing do you need to reevaluate?
Time for innovation
With no NASCAR, FoxSports is broadcasting Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch – among others – in virtual iRacing in a 100 lap race with real play-by-play announcers.
It’s challenging in a time of crisis, but as leaders, our job is to look for innovation. What can you be doing differently in your business, right now?
Travel will be reduced, even long term
Once companies figure out that you can still conduct business with fewer face-to-face meetings – and we’re all figuring that out right now! – there will be less travel expense in the long term.
If your business is dependent on face-to-face to create new sales opportunities, how will you adjust in the future?
With LinkedIn, you can build a network of exactly the right prospects, and you get to keep talking to them forever. It’s like the ideal trade show or conference that never ends.
Online will explode
Seventeen years ago, China underwent a similar experience with SARS – one that fortunately didn’t reach the U.S. It propelled Alibaba, the e-commerce company, into the giant it is today, accelerating the move to online overnight. That trend, now well underway worldwide, will get an additional boost because of the current crisis.
What is going to change in your business for the long-term? How can you adjust to delivering services remotely or supporting your products remotely? How does that change your marketing strategy?
For more, we discuss Marketing in times of crisis on our podcast.
All the best,