There have been countless articles published in the media on how your brand should cope, change, adjust, shift, modify, alter, (get my point?) the way you communicate with your fans and audience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we notice that the attention has shifted to what your brand should do post pandemic. 

For starters, although the general guidelines for brand communication are the same, such as: connect with your audience on the human level, cater to their needs, make them feel good every time they come in touch with your brand, address their pain points and offer solutions, etc., your individual message as a brand should still represent YOU and should take into account the specific expectations your audience has of you. That is why, in order for your brand’s post-pandemic communication strategy to be spot-on effective, it is important to assess how your brand is behaving now during the pandemic and then build on that.

For all of us who are in this industry, it’s been quite an interesting journey paying close attention to brands’ actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d say we’ve witnessed three main behaviors across the board; the adjusted strategy to be more socially sensitive and responsible, the business as usual approach, and the total disappearance.

The Adjusted Strategy

You’re doing it right.

You’ve stopped the insensitive selling – except for the relevant – and you’ve started addressing the concerns of your audience. You did away with your usual CTA approach and converted it to “stay home” and “stay safe.” You’ve tamed the humor in your brand voice to become a smile-inducing and heart-warming touch. Great job! You have a good feel of your audience’s state. Keep doing it.

The Business-As-Usual

Not sure what planet you’re on.

This is like walking into an ICU floor of a hospital and starting to sell tennis shoes! To say that this approach is insensitive is an understatement.

Considering that a recent Kantar study shows that 77% of respondents said they wanted advertising to “talk about how the brand is helpful in the new everyday life,” I’d say you’re in trouble! Act quickly and make the necessary changes before it’s too late because consumers will surely have a long memory about where your brand stood during this pandemic. Start connecting with your audience on the human level, listen to them and ease their concerns. If you can do that while keeping relevant to your products and services that’s great, but even if not, don’t worry about stepping out of your brand uniform and reaching out as a human being…your audience will never forget this.

The Total Disappearance

Let’s talk.

Now what in the world gave you the impression that your brand should vanish from the scene? It can’t be that you think no one is tuned in. Check out what the same Kantar study found: “At-home media consumption as well as online consumption have grown significantly in lockdown, particularly among younger viewing audiences. Online video has seen the greatest increase, with 72% of GenZ and 69% of Millennials saying they use it more.” Not only has there been more media consumption during the lockdown, but advertising is less costly, as the recent blog titled “How the coronavirus is affecting the digital advertising ecosystem” stated: “With many affected companies decreasing their marketing budgets, we are seeing a drop of up to 47% in CPM and CPC prices (due to a decline in competition).”

And get this, only 6% of Millennials and GenZs believe that brands should stop advertising during the pandemic, according to the Kantar study.

It boils down to this, If you felt you needed to stop communicating with your audience during the COVID-19 crisis, then you’ve been doing it wrong all along, and by disappearing, you’re actually saying to your audience: “I’ve only been here to get your money.” Can you imagine the long term implications of such a message on your brand?

During this global pandemic, consider your audience is like a friend of yours who’s been going through tough times, and the only way you’d have the courage to look them in the eye after their trouble subsides is by having had been by their side all along.

Going forward, consider the same analogy and be there for your audience. And as this pandemic passes us, gradually get back to normal when you see your “friend” is ready for it.