Adapting to our socially distanced world is not simple. We are shifting from “being together” to “being in this together”. Fortunately, today’s world is connected more than ever digitally, and that helps to bridge our feeling of being apart. In the marketing world, we’re always trying to connect to our audience with messages tailored to our brand and its products or services. At this moment, we’re facing a complex situation. We’re competing with the voice of a pandemic.

As marketers, we are stressed to make marketing shifts to stay relevant and be the right amount of vocal. It’s vital, as a brand, to stay connected to your audience but right now choosing the right messaging for your audience is delicate. For brands with non-essential products or services, how do you stay relevant when the motivation for sales is low-or non-existent. Even brands with essential products have been forced to make changes. It’s time to shift your marketing strategy; change how your product or service is offered or change your messaging.

If you offer products or services that are accessed in-person, consider how you can still reach your audience. For example, big food chains like Chipotle and local restaurants are offering takeout and free delivery. Gyms and yoga studios are offering video work-ins, where audienc­es can sign up for classes and keep active at home. Doctors are turning to telemedicine, using video appointments to care for clients. Colleges are hosting virtual open houses to po­tential students, and retailers are sending more emails with incentives and discounts for online shopping. Consider unique ways to continue offering your product, and then focus strictly on digital and social channels to loop in your audience to this change.

If you can’t shift how your audience accesses your products, shift your messaging. Sales-driv­en marketing strategies will fall on deaf ears-or worse, give your brand a negative connota­tion. People-not your audiences alone-want to hear about hope and safety. They want to know that businesses care about their customers and their employees. Many businesses have decided to close their stores as a sacrifice for the greater good but continue online sales. Toyota can’t stop selling cars; their current television commercial thanks its customers for their loyalty by assuring them the company will be there in the future. Hyundai launched a campaign called “We’ve got your back.” that promises to cover payment up to 6 months if you lose your job.

Don’t forget the importance of good internal company communications either. Taking care of your employees shows your audience that you care. Create an email series for employees with tips on staying energized and happy at home. Break this into digestible content posts that you can share on social media-most of us are working from our home offices and your audience can appreciate the advice while acknowledging you’re a company that cares.

This is a period in time where people do have more time to engage and interact. Support the “staying home” directive and use it as an opportunity to share video content with your audi­ence. Highlight your company’s thought leaders with live presentations-and market the date and time to create an event for audiences to virtually attend. Take it another step and set up a virtual meeting so you can include a O+A series and connect with your audience. If Al Roker can present the weather from his kitchen in business casual, your thought leaders can too!

Take this opportunity to educate your audience. Create a content series about best practic­es-if you’re a restaurant, tips on how to keep produce fresh, or best dry goods to keep on hand; a college can offer study tips and stress management tips tailored for students; a utility can provide basic tips to conserve energy at home. The place where your product and knowl­edge overlap our current greater situation is where you’ll find the relevant space to reach audiences.

Empathizing with your audience and understanding the long-lasting effects of this pandemic is an opportunity to create a positive brand interaction that in turn, will have a long-lasting positive effect with your audience.

Need help strategizing or creating content? Connect with GMLV to discuss how we can help your brand shift its messaging: