The Dos and Don’ts of B2B Advertising During COVID-19

BY Laura Bakopolus Goldstone
Compassion is the universal language in our current environment, and leading people and brands with compassion will make a positive impact beyond this temporary crisis. For marketers, this is the time to pivot strategy to address the situation at hand. What made sense for Q2 previously no longer applies. Help your clients in their time of need, solve problems, and be compassionate. Instead of ignoring the situation, take this chance to innovate, embrace new business challenges for yourself and your clients, and do all you can not just to survive but to emerge stronger together as a result. Below are a few tips to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak and find opportunities in this digitally focused world.

Don’t: Neglect Your Customers and Your Communities

Brands have a place in the minds of their consumers. Instead of disappearing, provide a welcomed message providing a solution, not a promotion. Don’t sell — solve. It is important now more than ever that people hear from you. You may position your communication differently now, but a message of support will remind them that they can rely on you.

Do: Communicate Effectively and Compassionately

Shift your short-term strategy to address the current environment. Each aspect can be effectively nuanced to achieve your new goals. Review messaging, channels, and even execution. Brands who craft messages to their target audiences that provide problem-solving aid will build trust. This will also help secure them as a partner and continue the relationship long after the virus passes.

Don’t: Remove Yourself from the Conversation

Removing yourself from the conversation is a brand’s downfall. It is not insensitive to advertise in a crisis; it is insensitive to ignore the crisis in your messaging. You have always fulfilled a need for your consumer, and that doesn’t have to stop. Since their needs have changed, your messaging should adjust to address how you can help them during this time.

Do: Be Financially Strategic

New short-term goals that pivot messaging also impact which channels will best deliver results with heightened financial responsibility. Historically, digital channels are relied upon in economic turmoil because they are the main places people continue to consume information. The media mix may need reevaluation; having the ability to pivot your messaging and creative quickly when needed will allow your brand to be relevant and informative.

Don’t: Ignore Your Own Struggles

We all share a certain degree of concern at this time. Allow that common ground to unite you and your customer base while maintaining a solutions-based approach in your brand voice. Relationship marketing builds strong connections, brand loyalty, and strategic partners; choosing a more sensitive angle will enable your brand to continue delivering relevant messages.

Do: Provide Thought Leadership

Now is a good time to focus on educational opportunities and provide informative content that positions your brand as a thought leader. Troubling times can be viewed as opportunities for companies to distinguish themselves from the pack, providing innovative solutions in a timely manner.

An exercise in creativity could reveal new ideas on how to pivot to provide solutions to your client base. If you were to continue advertising but wanted to acknowledge the situation and strengthen your brand, what could you say? What message would you want to deliver to your target audience that might help them see that you are a trusted partner and that the relationship will continue long after the virus passes? Posing these questions internally may produce an innovative solution that will address the situation, build brand awareness, and continue delivering ads to your audience members, reminding them that your offering holds value during – and beyond – this uncertain time.

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