As the Coronavirus spreads across America, businesses are feeling the pinch of self-isolation practices, curfews, and mandatory closures. But even though these are tough times, they don't have to spell disaster for your brand.
Here's how to make the most of a bad situation, and come out ahead.
Walk the Line
Marketing in a pandemic situation requires you to walk a fine line. You want to do what you can so that your business can make it through as unscathed as possible, but you don't want to be seen as exploiting or making light of the situation.
Don't be the airline encouraging consumers to quarantine in an exotic location. Do be Estonia's tourism department, telling people to visit...later.
Bring Your Service to Them
This means tapping into your community and reaching them where they are, which for the most part is at home in their living rooms. The Met Opera, for example, is offering free streaming during the coronavirus outbreak. Fitness studios are doing the same with online classes, which is a great way to keep serving current members while also drawing new ones. Even Hollywood is getting in on the action by bringing current releases to streaming services, which will keep audiences happy while also recouping the cost of lost ticket sales.
Make Quarantine Life Easier
Being stuck at home is no picnic, especially if your household contains multiple telecommuting adults and small, school-aged children. Realizing that most of their audience is at home with parents who are trying to work, publishers and children's book authors (and some celebrities) have banded together to release educational content that can keep kids occupied while parents try to work. Other brands are offering recipes, cooking classes, challenges, mental health tips, and "positive vibes" to help keep people in the fright frame of mind during self-isolation.
Tap Into the Community
If you're a smaller, local brand, the community will rally around you to try to help you through. The book community on Twitter has been instrumental in helping small "indies" stay afloat; similar social media threads abound around restaurants, bars, and other small businesses feeling the strain of shutdowns. These include encouraging users to order takeout, buy gift cards, or leave generous tips for workers. Brands can also encourage the community to get involved in fundraising efforts, or through helping raise up other local brands - a mutual effort that can get real results.
Think about what your brand can do to extend its offerings or services to people that are isolated at home. Can you offer free consultations or webinars? How about an online networking session or virtual happy hour? What about activity sheets to keep kids busy while you're consulting with their parents?
People want to help you during this time - and they'll get behind you if you can offer something that makes self-isolation a little less isolating. If your first efforts don't hit the mark, keep trying. Your audience isn't going anywhere for a while!