Like many of you, I’ve felt a responsibility to offer insightful guidance in the midst of this global crisis. I’ve been inspired to think deeply about your brand, and how you should best navigate this uncharted territory. And I’ve felt paralyzed, because the truth is, now is not the time for marketing as usual.
Now more than ever, brands must strike a delicate balance in their marketing and communication strategy:
- Brands must acknowledge the emotional reality of their customers without pandering to fear;
- brands must remain 100% authentic to their unique value proposition while answering to their customers needs right now;
- and brands must continue to stay afloat without being overly promotional and tone deaf in their approach.
After weeks of reading, listening, observing and reflecting on the role of marketing during Coronavirus, I came back to where it all started: Mindful Marketing.
Now is the time for a conscious approach to brand communication. This is the foundation of Oyl + Water, and our creative commitments have never been more relevant than they are today. If you're struggling with what to say and how to say it, below I offer a few ways you can strengthen your marketing during Coronavirus.
BEGIN WITH WHY.
I know you, I know your brand, and I know that your company was born of deep conviction and a desire to change the conversation. You have started a movement. You have galvanized a small group of conscious consumers to be even more aware of how their actions affect the globe. You’ve strived to be as transparent, fair, ethical and charitable as possible while growing your business, and you refuse to compromise the quality of your product in the name of profit.
Now is the time to double down on these values, to share stories of how brand like yours can lift the economy, the environment AND the collective consciousness at once, and to show that the future of our world depends on a deep commitment to conscious, global interdependency.
BE UNAPOLOGETICALLY SPECIFIC.
Allow me to be unapologetically specific: now is not the time for sponsored ads, new product launches (unless they were developed to address our current reality), or 'business as usual' sales promotions. Save these for later. The world will swing back into balance eventually, and while no one knows what the post-Coronavirus environment will look like, clean beauty and conscious consumerism will prevail.
Now is the time to answer one very important question:
What unique talents have you been given to meet the needs of your community right now?
It’s okay if the answer doesn’t immediately surface. It’s not a surface-level question. It takes introspection, which takes time. Luckily, that is one gift we’ve all been given during this quarantine: a little bit more time. So take some time and give thought to this question. When you have the answer, you have your communication strategy for the next few weeks or months.
DO LESS, BETTER.
Good strategy is not just knowing what to say, it’s knowing when to say it. Take a more mindful approach to your marketing by sharing content only when you have something authentic, relevant and original to contribute. Resist the temptation to create content out of FOMO. Yes, you need to stay engaged with your community. But it is far better to send one compelling email that emotionally resonates with your audience than three pre-pandemic email campaigns that fall flat. Now is the time to build brand equity, not your bottom line.
DON’T COMPETE. CREATE NEW.
In normal times, this is an invitation to innovate. It’s okay to know what your competition is doing, but the most successful brands stay in their own lane, go deeper into their WHY, and create new ways to tell their story.
But in our current reality, there’s an opportunity for this to take on a different meaning: Don’t compete. Create new collaborations. If you see a brand doing something smart to support beauty consumers, raise awareness, raise money or aid frontline medical workers, reach out and join forces. There’s never been more evidence that we’re truly in this together.
If collaborating doesn’t feel doable in the midst of social distancing, use your social platforms to create new awareness campaigns that encourage your community to stay safe, sanitized and homebound. Italy’s #IStayHome campaign offers some inspiration. Now is the time for compassion, not competition.
MIND YOUR BODY. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. SPEAK FROM THE HEART.
If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If it sounds false or forced, don’t say it. If in your heart you know that these new times call for new tactics, trust your instinct. It’s not 'business as usual', so it’s okay if you don’t, or can’t, run your business as you usually do. Now is the time for inner reflection that leads to right action.
If ever there was a time to duck dive under the waves of fear in search for the deeper meaning and hidden opportunities buried in this crisis, the time is now.