March - the month the world changed. Here in the UK anyway. Our friends in Italy, Spain and China started lock-down ahead of us. As we adjust to the new normality, what does the Covid-19 pandemic mean for marketing?
Many companies have shied away from the c-word in their campaigns (as The Drum noted) but the retailer Lush chose to invite the public to wash their hands in the store for free before non-essential shops and businesses were forced to close in a bid to drive more footfall into their shops.
On Google, brands can’t buy keywords such as disease so that no promoted search results appear before vital news services reporting the latest virus updates.
Avoid looking crass
But there is a fine line. Whatever any business offers in these straightened times can’t go against government advice. And attempts to capitalise can make a business look crass and opportunistic. Mike Ashley’s attempt to justify Sports Direct stores remaining open, for example, because we need fitness gear seeing as no-one can go the gym ignited the wrath of Twitter.
Whereas MedFet UK, a tiny business that supports the medical fetish community, donated it's entire stock of disposable scrubs to the NHS and then used Twitter to make a political point about NHS funding. (This might actually be my favourite of all the coronavirus good news stories).
But overall, we are all muddling through unprecedented times. Digital campaigning and marketing must be sensitive and relevant at all times - difficult in such a fast-changing world.
Demand for digital content
No question, the shutdown of businesses and the banning of any public gathering has led to huge surge in demand for digital content. Whether that’s businesses explaining what they are doing and how they are working on websites and through social media platforms, or an increase in the number of people seeking online courses, games, books and other content to educate or entertain themselves.
All well and good for the digital products sector but what about everyone else?
There are proactive ways businesses can use digital marketing to keep themselves noticed and relevant during the extreme shut down, and here's just a few:
Ensure your website content explains how/if you are working
Optimising website content for search
Exploring new advertising opportunities, such as social media ads
Share relevant, accurate and useful information
Entertain!! - people seek good news during dark days
Stay safe everyone!