Regardless of what you want to call the current national climate—difficult, uncertain, unprecedented, totally nuts, etc.—it’s undeniable that 2020 has been one wild ride. If you’re a brand trying to figure out how to navigate it, you’re not alone! There is certainly no rule book for dealing with a year like this one, but as you manage your marketing and communications, there are some important things to keep in mind.
The Importance of Keeping in Touch
Many businesses feel concerned over what the right thing to say is and the right way to say it, but don’t let this hold you back from saying anything at all. Consumers want to hear from the brands they love, especially when times get tough, so keeping in contact is key, even if it’s in a way that isn’t as lighthearted as your typical approach. If something good has come from this, it has been the abundance of love and support for small businesses, so remind your loyal fans that you’re still around and engaging with the community.
Considerations for Crisis Communications
Examine Your Tone
Many businesses go with a lighthearted tone in general communications, but it’s important to examine whether or not that is appropriate right now. While a bit of lightness can be good (and a welcomed break), the last thing you want to do is come off as insensitive or callous. This decision will likely have to be made for every piece of communication you send out right now, too, as there is no playbook approach to go off of.
Right now, there is a general distrust of brands that are seen as “virtue signalers”—i.e. brands that make generic statements that skirt around the actual issues. To avoid this, if your brand wants to discuss something, be upfront and specific in your messaging. Whether you would like to address the COVID-19 crisis, the current protests throughout the country, or something else entirely, address the issue head on to show you truly believe in your message.
Don’t Forget to Be Human
While you may have to put a lot more analytical thinking into every communication you send out right now, don’t forget to keep a humanistic, personal touch. Check in with your audience to see how they’re doing—ask about their WFH setups, their quarantine routine, or how they’ve been able to get involved locally. Human connection is so important, especially during troubling times.