While we watch the world change before our eyes with COVID-19, these unprecedented times are forcing organizations across the globe to pause, pivot or completely re-strategize. With drastic change happening on a daily basis, it’s hard to know what to do for marketing. Do we ramp up digital advertising budgets? Do we slash our prices or offer discounts? Do we stop everything altogether? If only there was a crystal ball to see how this will all pan out.

As marketers, we’re accustomed to change and disruption. In some ways, it feels like the past 10 years of digital innovation has prepared us for the responsibility to help our organizations and clients adapt to these current challenges. Right now is a crucial time to pay attention to the big picture and observe how the situation is changing the landscape of your business. While you’re not going to have all the answers you need, it’s important to make immediate adjustments to your marketing and communications strategy, rather than sitting back in hopes that everything will go back to the way that it was before the pandemic.

4 Marketing Principles to Follow In Light of COVID-19:

1. Stop any previously planned marketing.

If you haven’t already, pause and review every single brand touchpoint to reassess if it needs to be adjusted. Every social media post, email campaign, paid ad content, blog and website content, and collateral needs to be reviewed. Even if it was created just a few weeks ago, it may not be appropriate or even relevant to your current business model. 

2. Scrutinize your creative.

This might sound overkill, but a campaign can quickly backfire if there is even one insensitive element that falls through the cracks. After reviewing our clients’ campaigns, we’ve discovered even the most basic aspects need scrutiny –– from the tone of an ad, to the images that were used. For instance, pictures of people gathering, exchanging handshakes or hugging, feels inappropriate during this critical window of social distancing to flatten the curve. 

3. Focus on the relationships you have.

Now is the time to nurture and build on the relationship you have with your employees, customers, and community. Be honest and transparent about any changes you’re making to your business operations. Let people know where to go if they have any questions. Be present, engaged and focus on connecting through this time of literal disconnection.

4. Let authenticity take the wheel.

There is nothing more cringe-worthy than an organization trying to capitalize on a global health crisis. Don’t offer off the cuff COVID-19 specials, and don’t make any charitable efforts with the hopes of getting free PR or news mentions. If you have the ability and want to involve any goodwill measures within your organization, focus on it being a genuine act of kindness rather than any exposure or benefit you might get out of it.  

Regardless of what business or industry you are in, it would be wise to use this time to take a break. This doesn’t mean stop everything you’re doing, but you should take a break from pushy sales communications and counting acquisitions. Instead, keep your relationships at the forefront of your efforts with authentic messaging that inspires hope, connection and community. Focusing on where you can make a positive impact will help keep your frustration level down and pay off with stronger brand connections in the long run.