Creative Marketing Strategies Brands Have Adopted During the Coronavirus Pandemic


The exponential spread of coronavirus has led to brands having to change their marketing strategies almost entirely on the go. Here are four creative marketing strategies brands have adopted amidst this pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to implement stricter measures to control its spread and flatten the curve. In such trying times, brands have the responsibility to ensure that the narrative they communicate with their target audience is sensible, which has posed a challenge for marketers. They may have had to postpone their entire editorial calendar or scrap it altogether, change marketing campaigns, and adopt an entirely new approach to marketing. Although brands need to be empathetic, they need to maintain a neutral stance on the global crisis.

Jonathon MorganOpens a new window (CEO and founder of YonderOpens a new window ) opines, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created an ideological and cultural battleground online. Yonder’s data shows that 16% of engagement around the pandemic online is driven by agenda-driven groups, and 68% of these conversations are politically motivated. With the conversation so highly polarized, brands must understand that even factual, straightforward discussions can be hijacked and repurposed by agenda-driven groups. For brands to market themselves effectively in this environment, they should behave like brands – not public sector institutions. While people do look for voices of authority in times of crisis, it is not strategic for brands to play that role. A well-intentioned brand may echo the recommendations of public health or government officials to communicate a change to the way they do business, but it runs the risk of being misinterpreted as taking sides politically. To avoid exposing themselves to agenda-driven co-opting, brands should use a voice that is familiar to consumers and underscores the value they already provide. While the whole world is shifting and uncertain, brands should be the predictable, consistent face for consumers.“

Let’s look at four creative marketing strategies brands have implemented to adapt to the current situation.

1. Use Social Media to Drive Engagement

The event industry has taken a hit due to COVID-19, and events have been either canceled or rescheduled, be it a trade show, conference, or a music festival. To tackle this challenge, many brands have taken an innovative approach by organizing virtual events on social media. For example, NH7 WeekenderOpens a new window , an event property aired concerts featuring artists performing from their homes through Instagram Live.

Shachar Orren (CMO at EX.COOpens a new window ) comments, “The key right now, no matter what, is authenticity. Virtual events or happy hours, for instance, are an effective way of connecting with customers or prospects, but there is no need for them to be so formal. In fact, the public isn’t looking for, or expecting a polished, perfect experience. Brands can look to the sudden interest in Leslie Jordan’s Instagram videos, and the heartwarming response to Jimmy Fallon’s kids interrupting his show as indicators of what the public is responding well to – it’s authentic and relatable.“

Learn More: Marketers, Do You Know What Consumers Expect From Brands On Social?Opens a new window

2. Prioritize Mental Health

Quarantine life isn’t easy. Although companies and universities have implemented work from home policies, the lack of social contact at work may take a toll on your mental health, especially if you live alone. Social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation.

On the occasion of Safer Internet Day (February 11), Snapchat took a proactive step by introducing a feature called Here For YouOpens a new window , a resource to help people manage their mental health. A part of the official statement reads, “Today, in honor of Safer Internet Day, we are announcing several resources to help uphold this responsibility. We’re starting with a new feature, called Here For You, that will provide proactive in-app support to Snapchatters who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis, or who may be curious to learn more about these issues and how they can help friends dealing with them.“

3. Use Influencer Marketing to Spread Your Message

Influencer marketing is effective due to the credibility and clout of influencers. In times like these, it is essential to communicate with your audience through a spokesperson who is perceived trustworthy. Considering this, many brands have integrated influencer marketing in their COVID-19 marketing strategy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a campaign called the #SafeHandsOpens a new window challenge that encourages people across the world to follow safe hygiene practices to fight against #COVID-19. Many celebrities and influencers participated in the challenge by uploading videos of them washing hands.

Learn More: 4 Best Practices for Social Media Managers to Follow During a Global CrisisOpens a new window

4. Support a Cause

It’s a social responsibility of brands to spread the right message considering their influence on their target audience. Many brands have done this through well-thought campaigns that promote social distancing and other safety measures, and others have given back to society by offering donations or by providing PPE equipment, and so on.

For example, the social media management tool, HootsuiteOpens a new window is offering its professional plan for free until July 1, 2020, to coronavirus affected industries such as restaurants, hotels, event venues, performing arts, etc.

Learn More: Gartner’s Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Report Analyzed: 8 Tips for MarketersOpens a new window

Closing Thoughts

While crafting the marketing campaigns and messaging for COVID-19, it’s important not to keep it sales-y. The purpose should be to deliver straightforward, yet helpful content. Orren says, “It’s crucial to provide value to your target audience. What’s working for us is producing a lot of interactive content that speaks to our audience, brings them actionable advice, and doesn’t try to sell them on our products. Interactive content leads to higher engagement rates and recall, according to neuroscience, and especially in today’s saturated market where everyone is trying to communicate digitally, it helps brands stick out to consumers.“

We hope these four ideas will inspire you to tweak your marketing strategies accordingly.

How do you intend to improve your marketing strategy to accommodate the messaging for COVID-19? Tell us on TwitterOpens a new window , LinkedInOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window ; we’re listening!