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Empathetic marketing during the quarantine

Empathetic marketing during the quarantine

When a cultural moment pivots as dramatically as it has in the last few months of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s imperative that your company reacts with tact and empathy – as you position your brand to help.

Needless to say, that’s going to require a lot of poise and nuanced communication. So how to begin? What should you do?

Here’s what we recommend to our clients at FocalPoint:

  • Whatever you do, don’t freeze. Doing nothing while your audience is out there with time to listen, absorb and consider is wasting an opportunity to connect positively and be heard.
  • Since every brand is different, context matters. Right now is an ideal time to get your message out in a way that shows you care, and are here to help in a way that makes sense to your customer.
  • Audit the marketing materials that you presently have on hand. Visual imaging is powerful. Make sure yours is appropriate, swapping out visuals of crowds and showing appropriate social distancing instead. Watch for images showing people touching – even in offices. Right now, this makes people cringe.
  • What about language and headlines? Hard sells are a turn-off right now. Revise copy and headlines to reflect more understanding of present circumstances. Tone is important. People are already concerned for their health and many are not working. Make sure you filter everything through that mindset.
  • Now is a good time to let folks know you are taking proactive steps to help your employees, your community, and those on the frontlines. Communicate about the proactive measures you’re taking, such as store closures or new hours for seniors, for instance.
  • Look for ways to tie thoughtfulness to your brand. Take Windstar Cruises for example. No one is taking cruises these days, so this smaller sailing line has launched #ONEWEEKOFSOFTFOOTPRINTS, an Earth Day campaign showing how their entire cruise line staff is picking up litter on beaches, and helping the environment while they are between cruises. If you continue reading, you’ll see soothing images of off-the-beaten-path places to visit later in the year. Perfect eye-candy for the quarantined, striking just the right tone.
  • Decide what should be paused and held for later. It’s likely that many things will be fine once the outbreak subsides. Take them out of rotation for now, especially “push” content – what you are actively putting in front of people across channels during this time (such as email subject lines, social posts, current campaign taglines, content, and blogs).
  • More permanent brand elements (such as your logo and homepage) can remain intact— but again, look for inappropriate tag lines, imaging and wording.


The good news

That good news is that what you do now is going to give you an advantage once things begin to get back to our new normal. It’s absolutely time and money well spent.

We can help you consider how you can prepare for the “next” post-quarantine cultural moment – and determine what content will be most relevant and impactful then.


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