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What is Your Brand's Responsibility During a Crisis?

Summer 2020 was supposed to be about the Olympics and the presidential election. Instead, we’ve had to deal with a shortage of toilet paper, learn how to sew face masks and figure out exactly what TikTok is all about before it gets banned. If you’re a marketer of any kind, navigating all of this is uncharted territory. What do you do in these uncertain times?

Brand Crisis Response

In a recent survey conducted by Verizon Media, 76% of respondents said that brands have a role to play in society beyond simply selling products. 71% said that they believed that brands should lead during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Clearly, most consumers are expecting your brand to acknowledge the present reality we are all living in, but the crux of the issue becomes how. How do you put your best foot forward instead of in your mouth?

Let’s Talk Tone

In marketing, it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Essentially, this means having a nimble strategy that allows you to pivot when circumstances call for it. Your response to a crisis should feel natural and authentic, but you also don’t want to be scrambling around at the eleventh hour trying to figure out exactly what your marketing plan will look like in the months that follow.

The best advice is to just keep it simple. What do you normally bring your audience? Are you mainly informative, humorous or down-to-earth? In tumultuous times, your audience is likely looking for this normalcy, just with a current message.

Keep Up With Reality

Oftentimes, a crisis is changing by the minute, and it can be tough to stay on top of your messaging. To remain timely and effectively connect with your audience, you need to make it a priority to attempt to understand their shifting needs and behaviors. This requires being a keen listener and preparing yourself to adapt as a crisis develops.

For instance, if you’ve planned a campaign with OOH ads in shopping malls and sports venues, and then a pandemic comes along and disrupts attendance in places such as these, you need to be ready with a plan B. If your audience can’t be found at baseball games this summer, where are they going to be instead? Proactively preparing for changes in behavior will inform your marketing decisions.

Build Trust

When crafting a brand strategy that engenders trust with your audience, the goal is to figure out how your mission and values fit into the current moment while remaining honest and authentic. There is a fine line between storytelling that is truthful and relatable and storytelling that feels canned or misleading. By ensuring you have a good understanding of the relationship you have with your audience and listening closely to their needs, you’ll be able to offer them what they want right when they need to receive it.

Advanced Planning With The Ward Group

Media planning and buying takes a lot of careful preparation and strategizing, and after 35 years in the media industry, we know how to adapt our plans when it’s called for. If you’re looking for someone you can trust to help you plan for whatever the future holds in store, give our media stewards a call.

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