Authenticity pops: Resist the urge to jump on the COVID-19 marketing train

‘We’re just reaching out… ‘

‘We hope you’re keeping safe… ‘

‘Positive… ‘

‘Tough times… ‘

‘Let’s get through this together.’

Aaaaarrrghhghghghgh.

Have you been overrun with a million emails that sound exactly like this? Guess what, with one exception, all of those quotes came from the first two sentences in one email I received from a brand two weeks into the coronavirus isolation period. I don’t know about you, but the part of my body getting the biggest iso workout is the finger tasked with pressing ‘delete’ and clicking ‘unsubscribe’.

I get it. Some brands need to do what they can to keep customers buying and revenue coming in to survive these times we’re in. But at what cost?

Consumers are not stupid. They know a sincere brand voice when they see it, read it, or listen to it.

Authenticity pops.

Being just like every other SME brand, fueling up your tactical hamster wheel and screaming COVID-19 comms, isn’t going to inject your brand with the fuel it needs to get through this thing unscathed. So, stop with the un-empathising messages and emails causing eyes to roll across the nation.

Stop. Please.

No more emails and social media messages with the generic ‘we’re in this together’.

The customer situation has changed. Naturally, this will affect sales and revenue. Many brands have jumped onto the COVID-19 comms train to try to keep engagement levels high and revenue stable. And some brands are doing it rather well.

How much is too much information?

Some brands have a duty of care when it comes to educating customers on how they can navigate through these times unscathed, or as unscathed as possible. But, how much is too much information?

We get it from the news, the internet, emails, family, calls, even text. One brand releases updates, the next brand does the same thing. But the first brand doesn’t see what the customer is seeing: a barrage of perpetual COVID-19 messages on a daily basis.

I think there is one key ingredient that a lot of SMEs are forgetting to integrate into their comms during this very difficult time we’re “all in together”.

If you are yet to watch Some Good News or SGN, brought to you by John Krasinski of The Office US, then this is the video content you need right now to bring a smile. For 15 minutes, you may just forget some of the bad things that are happening around us right now.

Don’t you dare tell me you didn’t smile during that and for at least a few seconds forget about your (real or imaginary) troubles.

Whatever happened to some light-hearted entertainment in our comms?

Yes, educating your customers is a good thing during a crisis. Some businesses really do need to send that social media post to tell their audience how a certain government ruling affects their livelihood. But whatever happened to some light-hearted entertainment in our comms? When did some businesses become so boring?

SGN is the good news ‘people’ need right now. And this is what some SME brands need to realise: their audience is still ‘people’. And people love being entertained and smiling.

If a brand can help someone forget about whatever crazy times they’re experiencing now, as well as educate them on “what they need to know for their specific circumstances” in separate instances, then that brand has not only helped someone, they’ve created a strong bond in which that person will most likely never forget.

We, as brands, need to stop being so dull and so common, and start realising there are marketing recipes we can create with a mix of education and a large cup of entertainment. Look at how webinars have now become the norm. I don’t know how many more boring webinars I can sit through. Webinars can be fun and entertaining; find ways to make them so.

As a marketer, in a time like this, I want to help keep brands alive. Brands who can help their customers by educating as well as entertaining them have a greater chance of keeping their brand light shining brighter than others when this is all over and have a head start when we reach some kind of normalcy.

Now is a great time for a brand. So stop being like every other brand. Don’t be basic, be brilliant.

NOW READ: Queensland example shows retailers what to expect when they open their doors again

NOW READ: How to make the most of COVID-19 hibernation and perfect your communication strategy

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