In an effort to do our bit to help our clients and community during the COVID-19 pandemic we have set up a free virtual helpline for marketers, communicators, creatives and business leaders to give you a platform to ask your questions – big or small.  So far we’ve received questions about media and press release strategies, alternatives to event marketing, how to communicate with employees, whether to join the hoards doing email, webinar and other forms of digital marketing, how to approach high-value complex sales engagements that are usually done in person in various countries over several quarters….the list of questions is growing.

We’re making sure each person who submits a question gets an answer tailored to their business or situation.  We’re also making the questions anonymous and posting them into the Q&A list on our website for all to see.  The intent here is to help as many people as possible – no strings attached.

So if you have a question you’d like to submit you can do it via the form on our COVID-19 Virtual Helpline page, or simply email your question to us privately.


The COVID-19 Comms and Marketing Questions and Answers so far

The most important thing is to keep your brand promise.

Focus on the purpose that you’re delivering on and why your customers and users should keep coming back to you.

Personal human experience is emphasised and easily recognised through video – messaging comes across more genuine and authentic from a champion and believer of your brand.

 

Regarding the cut through part of your question: 

It is difficult to cut-through right now, although we are starting to see a shift in the news with more space opening up to non-COVID-19 related stories.  We are also seeing what appears to be a decrease in the intensity of concern about COVID-19 among the general population (cite: The Lab Insights); it is however still top of mind for the majority of people so you need to be mindful of how useful or helpful your message is to people right now.  If your news stories or other content is of use and relevance to your audience right now then sharing your message is worth doing.  If not, then just wait a little longer.  To cut through you’ll need things like: 

  • really compelling headlines and calls to action;  
  • bite-size attention grabbers such as great photos, video clips or written copy 
  • useful information such as research, templates, how-to guides or other items that are relevant to your industry 

Regarding the insights part of your question, here are some key takeaways from two recent Edelman studies (1. Edelman Trust Barometer special report, Trust and the Coronavirus, and 2. Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic, a 12-market study on what is expected of brands during the pandemic. Source: https://www.edelman.com.au/insights/How-brands-can-do-the-right-thing-in-the-age-of-COVID-19 

  • stop selling and start solving, offering tangible and fast-moving solutions that help everyone through this difficult time. Brands that do so will come through the crisis with their integrity intact, while those that do not may face a backlash. 
  • 89 per cent of respondents say brands should shift production to goods that meet the challenges of COVID-19 
  • 54 per cent of respondents to our research say they’re not paying attention to new products right now, unless designed to help with pandemic-related life challenges 
  • We’ve seen 89 per cent of our respondents tell us brands should keep the public fully informed on how they’re supporting and protecting their employees and customers, while 88 per cent want to be kept updated regarding changes to brand operations and how to access products and services. Transparency is always valuable, but it’s particularly key during these moments of crisis. 
  • LinkedIn is working to raise awareness around an offering of free job listings until June 30 for businesses in healthcare, warehousing, supermarket, and freight delivery, as well as the serving of urgent jobs listings, like those in healthcare services, to members with relevant skills. 
  • a clear desire amongst 90 per cent of respondents that brands partner with government to better deal with the crisis 
  • 86 per cent of people hope brands will provide a safety net where government is unable to act or perhaps unable to act quickly enough 
  • Sixty-five per cent of respondents say that how a brand responds will likely have a huge impact on their likelihood of buying that brand in future 
  • 71 per cent of people claim that if they perceived a brand to be putting profit over people, they would lose trust in that brand forever 

Another useful information source for brands at this time is : https://www.covid19brandnavigator.com/ 

It is important to consider your messaging and distribution strategy carefully at this time as the digital and print media is very full of Coronavirus news. Consider how your organisation can be of assistance and if your good news demonstrates how you are well placed to help.  The link between your news and Coronavirus needs to be genuine and compelling to ensure you do not appear opportunistic nor indifferent.  

If you do decide that your news is genuinely appropriate at the moment our suggestions would include: 

  • Write a media release and share it with relevant media in the industries you are targeting  
  • Self publish an article on your own website/blog and also make sure there is a feature on your home page 
  • Self publish an article on LinkedIn 
  • Create a post on social media 
  • Consider setting up a paid digital campaign, advertising on social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram (platform depends on who you are trying to reach) 
  • Use testimonials from existing clients or users 
  • Send an announcement via email to your existing database encouraging them to share the news with their networks 
  • Depending on who you are trying to reach it is important that in any of the communications or advertising activities you have a clear call to action so that you can capture people’s interest quickly. This could be a landing page on your website with a form to convert; it could be a form or other call to action within the digital advertisement itself (i.e. a Facebook form, Facebook callback button) 

This was at first a tricky question, however after discussing with our team and consulting with some trusted journalists our advice is to hold off if it is not truly breaking news and/or it doesn’t have a genuine link to the current situation.

  • Don’t be opportunistic: Avoid making tenuous Coronavirus related announcements that do not have a clear connection as it will look opportunistic
  • Monitor the headlines over the next few weeks and determine if you think there is appetite for your story

Consult with trusted journalists in your sector to gauge their interest.

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Amy Ward

About Amy Ward

Amy Ward is a strategic communications and management consultant. She is the founder and director of OTM, a successful management consultancy, specialising in strategy, commercialisation, communications, change and marketing. Her professional experience spans commercial organisations, government and not for profits. For close to twenty years she has worked with complex B2B and innovative B2C programs and services across diverse industries such as information technology, eHealth, primary health and community care, telecommunications, mining and resources, management consulting, process control, integrated transport, geospatial, sustainability, retail (online) and more. Amy is generous in volunteering her expertise as a mentor and as an advisor. In addition to her day job at OTM she is a board director for Communify, an advisor for the Inclusive Brisbane Board, Professional Advice Alliance and a mentor for the Queensland Government’s Mentoring 4 Growth program.