It’s safe to say the pandemic has brought a considerable amount of uncertainty to the communications world, but it’s also forced us marketing professionals to adapt and reshape how we engage with consumers. We explore the shift in strategic communications during the pandemic, and how we can use these learnings to inform our marketing strategies in the new normal.

Fight or flight

Consumers are keeping a close eye on how brands are reacting to the pandemic. Brands have taken two approaches: fight or flight. Those who have chosen to flee have taken a back seat, halted marketing campaigns and observed the negative news from afar. Those that have opted to fight have risen to the challenge, shown empathy towards the current situation and adapted their plans to the volatile market conditions. Many have come off in a positive light and created more resilient business models as a result. Brands that have stepped up to the plate during this critical period are sure going to stand out in a post-pandemic world.

Gaining trust

The amount of news people are consuming right now is enormous. And with floods of information out there, it can be difficult to filter out the fake news from the real narratives, making consumers understandably weary. This is where trust comes into play, with brand loyalty being tested more than ever before.

Being open about safety measures, aligning messages with consumers’ fears and hopes, communicating sensitively and being less self-servant are key ways in which brands have garnered trust during this time. Moving forward, this approach will become even more important as consumers look for reassurance that they are safe when venturing back into the new world.Purpose matters

Corporate behaviour has been turned on its head during the pandemic, with social issues being bumped to the top of the agenda. The Black Lives Matter movement feels like a real turning point with it becoming a global phenomenon and the biggest racial justice movement since the 1960s.

There is an increased appetite for lasting change and consumers are now expecting action from not only the government and their peers, but also the brands they buy from as well. Businesses can no longer sit back and do nothing – those that do will be called out and suffer the consequences. It’s time for companies to commit to making a positive difference and get behind important initiatives – whether that’s boosting inclusivity and diversity or helping to tackle climate change.

Shout out about technology

With so many of us working from home, there’s been a sharp uptake in digital technologies, and the much-used saying ‘technophobe’ is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Now is a great time to shout out about all the different technologies you’ve rolled out within your company and how it’s helping you to conduct business. Pitch stories on how your brand is investing in tech to boost marketing efforts, overcome challenges or enhance the customer experience. It could be artificial intelligence, blockchain technology – the list goes on… Whatever it is, it’s worth showcasing now, at a time where there has been a positive shift in attitudes towards digital technology, and trust in its capabilities.

Social listening

With real-life interactions being dramatically reduced due to restrictive social distancing measures, social media consumption is at its highest – providing businesses with invaluable data. Listening into even the smallest murmurs on social media can help guide your marketing campaigns and strategy. After all, it’s one of the quickest ways to gain fast, raw insights on ever-changing circumstances and real-time trends.

Practically everything in business has had to be reimagined as a result of the challenges that have arisen from the pandemic. Although many of the above shifts in strategic communications have been reactive changes, born out of unforeseen circumstances, they’ve proved only to be a good thing and are likely to stick. Adopting these communications methods and strategies permanently will help you to sustain a robust business model moving forward.

For more communications tips, take a look at our article how communications planning can reduce stress.


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Jen Derrick

Author Jen Derrick

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