Advertising During the Pandemic: Dos and Don’ts

As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to reverberate across the country, business owners have been unsure about how best to continue to advertise and market to their customer bases. Being effective and sensitive at the same time tends to be a challenge. If you’re a business owner dealing with it, what follows is a collection of advertising and marketing dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

Do keep it real

Authenticity always matters in advertising. If you plan to attempt conversation with your customers about the pandemic, however, you will need to be especially genuine in order to be able to maintain a strong connection. It’s only advertisers who stay true to their brand and values who will make an impact in the current scenario. According to a study by marketing organization Kantar, two out of three consumers report to wanting to see their favorite brands communicate their values through their advertising. Brands need to be authentic in their tone, positioning and values, in all their messaging.

Do frequently reappraise the thrust of your advertising

Executives in your marketing and advertising departments need to keep a constant eye on the creative ideas that your messaging includes, to make sure that they meet the needs of a rapidly changing market landscape. Even major brands are being nimble in keeping their messaging attuned to the market. For instance, the automaker Ford canceled its regular advertising early in the coronavirus pandemic, and put out new advertising aimed at telling its customers that there was a car payment relief program that buyers could take advantage of in these difficult times. It’s important to directly address your customers’ concerns with your advertising during the pandemic, to talk about what you’re doing about them, and to provide relevant health or safety information.

Do look closely to assess what media channels your customers are on

With consumers staying at home more than ever before, a great deal is changing about the ways in which they consume content. Weekday consumption of streamed entertainment is much higher, for example; advertising volumes are up 7% in the early afternoon, advertising for desktop content consumption is up 7% through the entire day, and mobile video and gaming is seeing a 2% rise in advertising volume. It’s important for advertisers to make sure that they don’t stick to old assumptions about when and where to advertise.

Do advertise on premium channels that have greater consumer credibility

Second-tier advertising channels, such as ones that depend on user-generated content, are considered less credible by consumers during the pandemic. One survey found that consumers saw advertising on premium channels as 50% more credible than advertising on sub-premium ones. It’s an essential idea to keep in mind when you decide on the marketing and advertising mix to use for your company.

Don’t reject ad placement opportunities without due thought

Many brands have decided to ensure that their ads do not appear next to content to do with the coronavirus pandemic. They do not wish to see their brands associated with negative news. However, it’s important to not reject the possibility out of hand. There is a great deal of consumer mind space that coronavirus coverage commands. It’s important to make sure that your advertising reaches out to consumers who look at such content. Surveys have found that for three out of four consumers, seeing advertising appear alongside of negative news coverage to do with the pandemic doesn’t change the way they view the companies advertising.

Don’t put anything potentially insensitive out there

Most consumers believe that brands shouldn’t make use of the pandemic to promote their brand, according to a study by Kantar. What exactly works for your business, depends on the products that you sell, but, in general, you should make sure that it doesn’t seem to take advantage of the times. If you’re not sure about whether your advertising is seen as insensitive, you could invest in a poll to gauge customer sentiment.

These dos and don’ts may help put some actionable ideas in your mind about how to approach your advertising strategy through the pandemic.

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