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Where do you draw the line on a strategy that capitalizes on a crisis? | Slangbusters Blog
May 8, '20

Where do you draw the line on a strategy that capitalizes on a crisis?

Hear ye, hear ye. No, literally. It is time to listen to your audience before you communicate.

The world does not necessarily have to come to a halt when it is facing a crisis. Even when we are talking about a pandemic that has literally become a reason to exercise staying at home to make sure that we maintain social distancing and do not become carriers of a deadly virus.

Economies are going to face the fire of this halt. Companies will have to cut down on expenses to avoid bringing down the shutters. For a lot of companies, this might even mean laying off employees to stay afloat.

If you are a conspiracy theory enthusiast or a closeted Marxist, you might think that corona was invented by Zoom to get more people to start video calling?

But then again, Zoom updated its free use policy from capping video calls at 40 minutes to an unlimited amount of time. And that is exactly what this piece is about.

What is happening?

Everyone is on the internet. Audiences are consuming more and more content and it is the right time to get into the public eye. But then again, because of the same reason, consumers are hypervigilant.

Brands are a personification of ideas. And just like people are allowed to have opinions, brands too can have opinions. The only difference is that brands have to put out their opinions in a more responsible manner because the outcome of any communication can make or break the brand.

This is for the first time most of us are facing something of this scale. No one is an expert on dealing with this in the most ideal manner. The bigger picture is that we are all in this together. We have to collectively fight our way through this.

These tough times will reveal the true character of many brands. There will be a major shift in how and where does the consumer put their trust again. Either new relationships will be built, or the pre-existing ones will be strengthened.

The basics of how to communicate with sensitivity.

Read the room. You cannot go about doing regular business. Obviously your pre-planned strategy needs to adapt to current times. Rethink everything. Comb through everything, because even a hint of insensitivity will have an effect with greater severity.

Do not just ignore. Not acknowledging will also fade your brand.

Comfort is your mood board

Realize that people are not as willing to receive negativity. Even if it is facts and news, people are looking for a distraction from the dystopian times that we are in. Adding to the misery even by just stating facts is a strategy to lose the grip on the market. People miss normalcy and they are eager to consume content that is not talking about Covid-19. Don’t sulk. If your brand communication feels like a warm hug, there is nothing else that you need to do to stay relevant.

Empathy FTW

Instead of communicating from the top, match the audience at their eye level, and communicate like you are talking to a fellow citizen, not a large mass that you need to persuade. Remember the difference between empathy and sympathy. You are not supposed to pity anyone, but only try and feel what they must be going through.

Empathy is the formula for a lifelong friendship.

Creative liberty is not a license to trivialize

Trivial is fun, it’s exciting, it makes people gasp, attracts attention. Trivializing is an unethical easy way to get the audience to notice you. In the longer run, it might not only hurt them but your brand too.

Please, please please, take it into practice that you fact check anything that you are putting out. This must be a habit that you might want to continue applying even after we defeat the virus. No matter how big or small your following is, the significance and your accountability for your influence stay the same.

When in doubt, refer values

Our value systems become those guiding angels when we face any dilemma. It is a reference point when making decisions that you do not want to regret later.

Dig into the roots. Throwbacks are becoming very commonplace since there are no avenues for people to create social media-worthy content while quarantining in their safe places. Reminding yourself where you came from and also making the audience realize how far along you have come will remind them of their loyalty and help them solidify their own trust in your brand. It also assures that we have come a long way and this too shall pass.

You only have what you give

Loyalty is a two-way street. If you want customer loyalty, You have to be loyal to them and not exploit them when the world is at a standstill. Be resourceful, be helpful. It is a perfect time to give back, especially when it comes to brand communication which usually does not demand huge expenses for the company. This will also help people put faith in your brand by establishing you as an expert in whatever your offering is.

Hero the employees

In this capitalistic society, it is your employees who are working from home and keeping your entity from shutting down. It’s the right time to hero the employees, instead of influencers. They are the frontline warriors that are keeping bankruptcy at bay. Prioritize employee safety.

Act, don’t say.

This is the time when action will speak louder than words. Instead of just talking, maybe brands might want to take genuine action and that will automatically become content for marketing. Communicating without applying what you say is a recipe for disaster. Practice before you preach.

A post-pandemic planet

People > Profit
Better late than never, we will realize the importance of the community over cash. We were blinded by one motive in life. The world will not be the same, hopefully, it will be better.

Maybe you want to consider adding a crisis communication clause in your brand books. Prevention is what helped South Korea flatten the curve faster than any other country. Prevention is better than cure. If you have preparedness for unforeseeable circumstances, you will have the first foot advantage.

Lastly, You are not the WHO. Refrain from giving medical and safety advice.

— by Manas, Content Strategist, Slangbusters Studio

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