COVID-19 is well and truly with us. And, beyond the clear risks to people’s health and the impending strain on our health system more broadly, the economic impacts will be far-reaching.

Cutting companies’ marketing and business development budgets might seem an obvious first choice. After all, marketing is too often seen as “fluffy” or a “nice to have”.

But this approach fails to recognise the importance of brand messaging both as brands pivot and in order to retain customers long-term, as well as the potential opportunities that a recession can open up.

This article cites some great examples of brands that bucked the trend during recessions and instead increased their advertising spend.

As John Quelch and Katherine E. Jocz wrote in the Harvard Business Review in 2009, “Companies that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession”.

That same message rings true today.

Marketing is often reactive and short-term, but many companies now have the opportunity to stop, breathe and implement much of the work that we don’t make time for during good economic times.

Here are five ways to develop your marketing in the months ahead.

1. Address COVID-19 Head-on
Chances are your email has been flooded with Covid-19 correspondence. Whether your company or employer is service or product-based, chances are you’ll be affected in some way. Demonstrate your ability to shift your offering, take additional precautionary measures to minimise the risk to your staff and the community, and showcase your social responsibility. A few of the supermarket chains have done just that by introducing a special seniors trading hour following the chaos in our supermarkets in recent days.

2. What’s Your Story?
Do you have a document that clearly articulates your brand’s vision, mission and values? If your brand story is outdated, unclear or yet to be defined, this could be the perfect moment to do this homework. An effective brand story is the starting point for all of your comms and will serve you well for years to come.

3. Set the Tone
So often companies of all sizes are lacking a tone of voice document or their document is incomplete. Defining your brand’s tone of voice is just as important as your brand’s visual presence. It establishes how you’ll talk to everything as a business and is tailored to your ideal customer/s.

4. Rainy Day Blogs
Having well-researched content that not only boosts your SEO but is also a useful value add for your clients is one of those jobs that can easily fall away. Use this time to create a library of blog posts that you can drip-feed out as part of your broader content strategy.

5. Fill the Gaps
How do you market your service offering? Do you require service collateral, FAQs and other resources to improve customer experience? It’s a great time to create all of those documents you’ve been meaning to design forever.

So there you have it! Like everyone else, I’m crossing my fingers and toes this pandemic passes quickly.

Stay well.

Need assistance with any of the above? I’m a brand storyteller and highly experienced copywriter – and I run a small business based in South Australia working with brands around the world. Feel free to get in touch at [email protected] or on 0424 565 996.