Of course, for some the first reaction is to shut down marketing comms, not because this is in the best interest of customers but because it is in the best interest of shareholders and the business needs to be seen to be cutting costs and conserving cash – despite making claims on their website about being customer-centric and having a higher purpose than just being driven by profit.
This is not only disappointing, but evidence shows from past crises that this is a flawed strategy. Brands that maintain a presence during a crisis recover faster.
Forbes.com recently published an article on the subject that you can read here.
The Forbes article is more than an interesting read, it shows there is real data that supports the case that when you stop communicating with your customers, even in extreme circumstances, brands will lose position and will be replaced by others who have maintained communications.
Some brands are continuing with communications, but these are sales orientated BAU programmes. They are either being too slow to react to the change in circumstances, or are mistakenly adopting the attitude that they can just keep calm and carry on, in the hope of maintaining market share and positive brand sentiment.
What is not recognised is the brand damage this can cause as they are seen by audiences as being out of touch or insensitive to the realities faced by some of their customers and communities.
We have all recently seen our mailboxes over-fill with the subject heading ‘Covid-19’ promising it’s business as usual, when we all really know this is far from reality when the world is in crisis.
And all this sincerity being expressed is somewhat empty unless these communications are offering some real value to the reader, even if it’s simply information that may be of use to them.
Listed below are the key principles brands should adopt in a crisis: