10 Steps To Develop A Winning COVID-19 Comms Strategy

While most are just focused on keeping their heads above water, it’s equally important to program success to consider how your marketing strategies can really win during this delicate time. Here are a few things to consider to ensure you’re set up for success:

  1. Don’t worry. Work. Spending too much time pondering the what if’s to the point of inertia is the opposite of what your business needs right now. Establish a dedicated task force of key stakeholders who are poised to make informed, quick decisions and have junior staff at the ready to execute programs based on those decisions. 

  1. Take inventory of live campaigns and brief agencies, influencers, creative partners, etct to ensure they halt programming until you have a clear path forward on the best communication guidelines you’d like them to use. 

  1. Update communication guidelines to be relevant and sensitive to the current consumer experience. Take into account the full consumer journey and speaking to the consumer consistently during each stage. 

  1. Re-evaluate all future scheduled campaigns, messaging and content to determine if they are time and context-sensitive. Redesign programs to ensure they are agile - this may include preparing for potential delayed launch timing, program shifts to accommodate the current consumer landscape, etc. 

  1. Gather data sets that support the larger trends in society at the moment to ensure communications strategies are meeting consumers’ current needs and potential needs in the wake of COVID-19. 

  1. Seek a third opinion. Do your business decisions look and feel opportunistic to an outsider? Do you have a trusted pair of unbiased eyes to confirm that? 

  1. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon. Pay attention to what your competition is doing, but don’t be led entirely by it. Consider unique ways your business can have a meaningful impact during this time. 

  1. Be prepared for increased customer service needs. With consumers no longer able to speak to in-store employees, your digital and tele customer service will likely be stretched to the max. Put measures in place to accommodate this. Also, consumers are emotionally on edge -- remember that honesty and context will take you a long way and help avoid any misunderstanding or a potential scandal.

  1. Conduct regular social listening. Behavior and perception of your brand may have changed drastically in the last four weeks. What are consumers are saying about your brand today? Are you addressing these comments on social media channels? If there are concerns, then be real about why there are issues and what you are doing to address them. People will be understanding only if they have clarity and context. 

  1. Agility. Agility. Agility. Be prepared that you may launch a program and need to change it entirely very quickly to respond to changing economic or medical conditions. Ensure you have a dedicated staff who can help troubleshoot these bumps in the road with precision and agility. 

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