Marketing in the Time of COVID-19
There’s a really great (meaning old) joke about two football teams, one hopelessly outmatched by their opponent. The superior team, after spending the first half utterly wiping the floor with their unworthy opponent, finally decides they’ve had enough and walks off the field at halftime. A couple of plays later, the other team scores.
No, I’m not trying to make you nostalgic for live sporting events. Rather, like the hapless losing team in the joke above, I’m just trying to make a point.
And that point is that (drumroll please)…
…BUSINESS IS COMPETITIVE.
Yes, I know it’s a stunningly obvious revelation. But it needs to be re-stated right now. Because right now, winning teams are walking off the field, leaving room for small businesses to score big.
QUITTERS NEVER WIN
It’s not surprising that many businesses just lapse into hibernation mode when something like the GLOBAL HEALTH PANDEMIC strikes. After all, there’s a whole lot of uncertainty about what will happen.
Well, guess what? That makes for an even playing field. If everyone is facing the same challenge, then the only thing separating us is our response to it. And for businesses that have struggled to differentiate themselves from their competitors, that’s a significant opportunity.
In fact, with SO MANY BUSINESSES shutting doors and turning off their lights to keep their electric bills down, it may be the best time ever to win new customers.
OPPORTUNITY VS. OPPORTUNISM
Of course, many may find the concept of leveraging advantage out of a crisis to be repugnant. And this article in NO WAY seeks to play down or make light of the very real and grave threat caused by the current health crisis. But if this crisis is to teach us anything, it’s that short-term strategies are not going to lead to long-term success.
At the end of the COVID-19 crisis, America’s business landscape will be something very new and very different. There will be loss. There will be recovery. There will be winners and losers. Just like every other business day.
It is up to us to harness the fate of our businesses, and press ahead.
HOW HEROES ARE MADE
I mentioned above how the COVID-19 health crisis may be the best time ever for small businesses to gain new customers, and you probably thought that was insane. But it’s true for a number of reasons.
First, it is through adversity that legends are born. Nobody becomes legendary just doing the usual thing. Nope. It takes a crisis to give people the opportunity to transcend expectations. People will always admire the ability to overcome adversity and triumph regardless.
The same is true for brands.
People will cheer for brands like they will cheer for people. Because it’s possible to admire a brand’s character just as you would that of a person. Don’t believe me? Check out this study from 2017
Now is an excellent time for brands to dig down deep and put their customers first. To be there for them as they weather one of the most terrifying and world-changing events of the modern age. If you want your customers to need you, you need to show them how much you care. Right now.
WHERE THE CROWDS ARE
You may think it’s hard to find a crowd right now because everyone is staying home and maintaining social distance during the COVID-19 outbreak. But think again. If everyone is staying home, what are they doing?
Some may be knitting or reading paperbacks that they’ve been putting off for years. But the VAST majority of Americans – your prospective customers – are consuming media online right now. And they will be for a while.
This presents an unprecedented opportunity to strategically get your brand in front of them. Perhaps it will not spike sales (unless you’re selling testing kits online) right now, but if you recognize it as a chance to win their hearts and minds, you stand to position your brand for great success on the other side of the curve.
For many businesses, this is the time to make great gains in brand awareness and customer loyalty. The value of those things should not be underestimated.
CALL IN THE PROS
Make no mistake, actively marketing during a major crisis is likely a daunting prospect for many small and medium-sized businesses. But you definitely owe it to your brand, your employees, and your customers to look into it and give it careful consideration.
Talk to the pros at DAMN GOOD about what you can and can’t do. Let us help you build a long-term strategy that will work for your brand. We can do this.
In the meantime, please remains safe, wash your hands regularly, and exercise plenty of social caution. We can do this, too.