“The New Normal”
This is what media continues to bring during the coronavirus update ─ and with good reason. The COVID-19 pandemic has made a huge impact on the economy and everyone’s lifestyle. It has left casualties, made people lose their jobs, and even opened our eyes to the lapses on aspects in our healthcare system. Although some countries have opened up their borders and slowly improved in terms of recovery and limiting the spread of the virus, the circumstances have changed and the situation isn’t the same as it was before the pandemic.
Now, with the pandemic, consumer behavior has changed. Many consumers have shifted their priorities, and marketers, especially content marketers, have changed the way they communicate to their audience. They take into consideration the kinds of people who are experiencing the pandemic. Not everyone’s experiences are the same. But it’s always great to keep in mind what your consumer is experiencing and what could be their behavior from their experience, so you can craft a message that they can relate to.
So What Do You Think Your Consumer Is Experiencing During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
- They could be working from home and coming up with ways to be more productive, trying to fight away distractions.
- They could be people having a hard time financially or in keeping their business afloat because of the economic changes that come with the pandemic.
- They could be craving for more content since they are at home and have nothing to do.
- They could be more health-conscious and thinking of ways to keep their body healthy and preventing the virus.
- They could be working in the healthcare field or essentials industry.
- They could be wanting to connect more with their loved ones as they are away from them and cannot connect with them because of the virus.
- They could be directly affected by the virus as a family member or a person close to them is affected by it.
With all these in mind, marketers are thinking of a way to consider these without sounding tone-deaf or too depressing. When the message you try to put out into the media is tone-deaf, not only will it get backlash, but of course, consumers will see your brand as insensitive and uncaring for those who actually suffer from the situation. At the same time, when the message is too depressing, it won’t motivate the consumer to take any action. That’s why you need to think about your message before presenting it to the people you are targeting, regardless of what niche you are in.
How to Avoid Tone-Deaf Messages: Scrap It If They Sound Like This
What you need to do is run a content audit to determine if what you’ve produced for your marketing campaign is relevant to the brand and appropriate in today’s circumstances.
When creating a message for your marketing campaign, you might be wondering, what could be a tone-deaf message to the current situation we have today? We’ve created a list on what tone or messaging you should avoid, given our current climate:
Us vs Them Positioning
As a marketer, you don’t know the circumstances of your consumer, regardless of what your niche is. With the pandemic bringing people in unexpected circumstances, comparing groups of people in your messaging can be perceived by the public in bad taste.
When constructing your message, you should make sure to avoid implying that every consumer is of equal standing (for example, talking about race and gender during the COVID-19 crisis), talking about privilege (for example, making a message about how your consumer could be comfy in their homes right now and simply having their long rest as they wait for the pandemic to end), or compelling your audience to jump into reckless bandwagons that they don’t need during the given climate.
Making Light of the Issue
There are thousands of people who have been affected by the virus. And this is not just health-wise but economically, too. That’s why making a snarky comment or anything comedic about the pandemic would rub your consumers off the wrong way.
Even if you are trying to make your message a little less depressing and want to lighten up your consumer’s mood with your witty messaging, you should know how to present it in a way that’s relatable and conscious.
Brands that are consistent in what they stand for are the ones that stand the test of time. If you don’t act out what you’ve been preaching about, then you’re going to get called out on it. When you put out a strong message, it can create a movement, change the way people perceive the world, or positively polarize their beliefs. Make sure to always check the consistency of your content, from its visuals to the texts that you use.
Failing to Add the Human Touch
Even before the pandemic started, marketers have stated the impact of content that always portrays humanity ─ or give a human element to the message. However, with many individuals feeling overwhelmed by the change, now more than ever, brands are called to create content that evokes an emotional response from their audience.
There have been studies that show people rely on emotions rather than information to make brand decisions. Emotional responses to ads influence a person to take action in making a purchase rather than the actual content of an ad.
With that, you need to create content that allows the consumer to feel something when they are exposed to your message. How can your service help motivate an individual to be productive? How can you allow a person to be in touch with their loved one while they continue to do social distancing? Messages that elicit emotion within a consumer can make a change. Know that you should also express this with authenticity.
Relating to Controversies
Although taking a stand on controversial topics can be bold, unique, and brave in normal circumstances, there is too much risk in taking a side when talking about loosening lockdowns and going back to normal. Other than the fact that consumers will think your brand is opportunistic, consumers are sensitive to these kinds of debates.
At the same time, if you’re thinking of making your messaging take a witty turn into using it to relate the virus’s origins or how it came to be, that could also come off as very insensitive and could be perceived by your audience as blatantly racist.
So as much as possible, even if you’re trying to be bold and new, think of a way that brings hope and solutions rather than playing into negative controversies that could stir up debates and backlash, ultimately harming many people who have lost their main source of income. However, a lot of businesses extend a helping hand to these people who have lost their jobs and allow them to make a different source of living.
You might see other people provide training on how others can do freelance work while they wait for the quarantine to end. Many users are now clicking to recruitment websites, like LinkedIn or Upwork, to find jobs and make ends meet. There are also website development companies, like Proweaver, that are helping businesses continue their operations online.
In this video, you can see how LinkedIn is leveraging their platform during these challenging times, offering opportunities to employees who have been laid off from work. Their message is “We’re In It Together,” which is simple, yet powerful. They use testimonials from real people who are experiencing the crisis themselves, and through their testimonials, they mention how uneasy they feel about working at home while a pandemic is happening and all the uncertainties that come with.
However, with LinkedIn, being the “hero” of this message, you have a platform of people who are looking for employees and are willing to help you get through your financial struggles by giving you work.
How Can the Consumers Stay Safe During the Outbreak?
This has been an ongoing trend amongst brands and perhaps even until today.
Many brands have presented many takes on their message of reminding the consumers about physical distancing.
One example would be Coca Cola’s smart take on the topic by kerning the characters of its iconic logotype.
Other than Coca Cola, a lot of brands are being socially aware of the circumstances we are facing during the health crisis and are showing how much they care for the consumer, rather than showing what they could gain from it.
A lot of brands are maximizing the volume on spreading awareness about physical distancing to its consumers, showing how they’re sticking to their values of making the consumer’s well-being their top priority rather than promoting the product itself. Because as much as possible, marketers are focusing on the idea of “How can we help the consumer?” rather than the idea of “Can you buy from our products?”
On the other hand, below, you can see the controversial logo change of an ad agency in Brazil made to the iconic McDonald’s arches.
Although their message was supposed to be about physical distancing and its importance, a lot of people weren’t so happy about it. Mostly, this was because a lot of people thought it was opportunistic of McDonald’s to do something to its logo in light of recent events. Even though the brand has issued its fast-food chains around the world to only serve takeouts and deliveries, the message did not sit well with its audience.
The logo became controversial as some people have thought that this big fast-food chain was only making face, despite not adhering to its values as a brand.
Hence, this logo was never used in other McDonald’s chains around the world and was removed from their social media account.
Of course, oftentimes as marketers, we won’t know how our good intentions will be perceived by others, especially during this sensitive and challenging time. That’s why one must always plan out their content marketing strategy carefully before running it. At the same time, respond quickly when it takes a different turn.
How Can People Make the Most Out of Their Time While They Are in Self-Quarantine?
With some of us having to halt our usual lifestyle of going out, some individuals have a hard time trying to think of what to do while they are stuck at home. And a lot of brands are taking advantage of that, using messaging that’s uniquely their identity to persuade their audience into using their service.
You might have heard of TikTok, one of the most used social media applications today. Their ad campaign in the UK with a message called “A Little Brighter Inside” shows how people can spend their days making fun content inside their homes. It shows that it’s not only a way for people to connect with others but to make something and present it to the world in a way that makes it fun and entertaining. It’s a person’s little ray of sunshine despite all that is happening around us today. And it’s fun without being tone-deaf.
Another example of marketers showing their consumers what they can do during quarantine through video content is this ad by Apple. In the video, you can see people doing their hobbies, creating things at home while they are practicing physical distancing, and working. Some are taking online classes, others are teaching. Their message for this ad is “Creativity goes on” which implies the Apple products are the “heroes” or solutions to helping people create more content and connecting with others to share insights, services, and new ideas.
There are so many ways you can get more brand awareness online and have people engage in your content while they stay in quarantine. Other creators create video content on Skillshare to share their knowledge online while still gaining income through these online learning platforms. Some universities are even providing online classes for free through video content. Even fitness websites are uploading more content on how people can stay fit while they self-quarantine. Other content creators provide webinars where they offer conferences to a live audience online.
There are so many ways you can go about this, but what you should do is upload unique and relevant content consistently online, so you can continue to have your consumer’s interest.
How Can We Connect with Others While We Self-Quarantine or Observe Social Distancing?
Due to the strict protocols mandated by the government, we can’t go out and meet other people personally. This could pose a problem for a lot of people who live alone or away from their families and friends. However, with technology, it is possible for everyone to communicate with others without having to meet them personally.
In this advertisement by WhatsApp, you can see a cinematic depiction of a mother and daughter conversing back and forth with each other. Instead of blatantly telling the viewer that they are practicing physical distancing and self-isolating in their respective homes, the audience themselves get the gist of the message. It presents a statement without presenting the circumstance in the audience’s faces.
Another example of using your product or service as a solution to connect your consumers with their loved ones and friends while they stay at home is Facebook’s take on messenger video call rooms. Although there are a lot of video conferencing applications already on the web, what Facebook positions itself as is a video conferencing feature in messenger that’s for personal use rather than for business use, like most video conferencing apps are.
If you’re coming up with content that relates to how you can connect people through your products or services, using a message that speaks to your consumer’s emotions is the way to go. Other than presenting cohesive and beautiful aesthetics, your message should be able to make an impact on the people you are targeting your message to.
How Can We Help Frontliners or People Who Are Affected by the Pandemic?
Some businesses have appealed to the masses by marketing on humanitarian efforts that help frontliners and people affected by the virus. Rather than focusing on the services and products, their generosity and values take front and center as they come up with actions that will help those fighting and serving others during the global pandemic.
Postable is a website wherein you can give real designer greeting cards and invitations. And for their promotionals, they’re allowing users to send thank you cards to frontliners for their hard work. At the same time, users can donate money for masks or purchase a mask in the process, as well.
Another great example of giving back using content marketing is Coca Cola’s strategy of devoting its Twitter feed to promoting non-profit partners and experts who are fighting against the virus and giving back to those in need. You can go through their Twitter feed and see how they uphold their values in promoting togetherness within the community.
Of course, with everything that’s happening, collectively, consumers are more drawn to brands that are empathetic and are willing to take action on making social changes in the society through humanitarian works.
Is Your Content Marketing Strategy Heading Toward Any of This Direction?
Overall, with everyone staying at home, creating content consistently can help boost your brand visibility to your consumers and help you generate more leads and conversions. If you’re having a hard time focusing on your business operations while coming up with marketing strategies that will relate to the times, you can always hire professionals to do it for you.
You can ask professionals from Proweaver to help you create social media content, video marketing content, or even a website, so you can make an impact on your target audience with the message you want to present during these times of difficulty.
What Are the Opportunities Content Marketers Should Take Advantage Of?
Despite the economy suffering due to lockdowns and businesses having to regroup and adjust to the new normal we have today, there is still a silver lining. If you’re struggling to come up with solutions in getting the leads and conversions you want through your content, there are actually doors of opportunities that have opened, which you can take advantage of:
- Right now, paid ads are more affordable. Typically, ad networks, like Google Ads, get money through an auction system. However, with fewer advertisers and less demand, you see that ads are getting cheaper.
- There’s increased online activity. As we’ve said before, there are tons of people trying to get more and more content online to keep them busy during quarantine, so it’s an opportunity for your business to gain exposure from your target audience. Recently, people are relying on e-commerce sites to prevent any exposure to the virus. Hence, if possible, you can move your business online, so more and more people can gain access to your product or services.
- Offer cost-effective payment plans for your product or service. Let’s face it, most of your consumers are on a tight budget right now. If they think your product or service is too pricey, they might switch to your competitor, regardless of how much you provide relevant content. This way, you get more clicks and conversions.
If you compare 2019’s content marketing strategy to 2020’s content marketing strategy, you’d probably say that marketers are amplifying empathy, the human touch, and authenticity. The movement of content marketing is toward being more socially conscious without dabbling controversy and standing by the values the brand wants to portray to its target audience.
Marketers are trying to make their brand the “hero” or solution to the consumers’ day-to-day problems during and after the pandemic. With online activity increasing as people continue to stay indoors, it’s time for businesses to create content consistently to boost their online visibility.
How Can Proweaver Help You with Your Content Marketing
By partnering with Proweaver, you get a team of experts who are knowledgeable in today’s online marketing climate. We can help you boost your business’ online visibility through a custom website (whether basic or e-commerce), social media marketing, search engine optimization, and video marketing.
Our team of designers, web developers, SEO and Social Media specialists, and content writers can work with you in coming up with an effective online marketing strategy for your business. We can work together in coming up with an impactful message that is in line with your brand’s beliefs in response to today’s COVID-19 situation.
If you sell products online, our web developers can also create an e-commerce website with a user-friendly function, so your customer or clients can easily gain access to your products or services.
Allow us to help YOU help YOUR CUSTOMERS.