Be Thoughtful or Be Silent.

It’s been forever since I’ve posted here. Hey there.

Well- a little bit has changed… Oh, 2020… we will always remember you.

As I’ve been watching more TV and, consequently, Coronavirus quarantine-era commercials, I’ve had something marketing-y (real term) on my heart and was compelled to write. We’re about a month into quarantine, and with repurposed footage, revised voiceovers, and sentimental music, TV spots are starting to reflect this moment. And I’m cringing.

The last time I remember seeing such moment-specific spots was during the post-Trump election Super Bowl, when it felt like every single brand- regardless of equity or category, was trying to talk about uniting the country and bringing people together. It felt like a forced, collective blur.

I understand the temptation to jump into the moment and adapt messaging. 

I also understand the obvious limitations of everything typically available to develop new creative at this time- you know, small stuff- like people, places, things, time, and money. 

That said, we still shouldn’t be hearing the same message from everybody. If you’re tempted to settle for boilerplate messages of reassurance (‘We’ll get through this together! Hurrah!’ …shrug) frankly, just don’t say anything at all- it’s not particularly memorable, additive, or, in most cases, authentic. There is no pandemic marketing handbook, but it’s fair to say people will remember how you served or offended them when they were at their most vulnerable. 

Your brand existed before this moment. And it (hopefully) stood for something. I’d like to challenge those few who are compelled and actually in a position to commission, to create, and ultimately to air messaging at this time, to remember their brand’s values, and dig deep on its timeless value to your consumers, and how that might be relevant now. 

What’s more timeless than:

  • The reassurance of maintaining small ritual of a morning cup of coffee when everything around you is unpredictable.
  • Being a fundamental, trusted staple that can be transformed with even a limited pantry. 
  • The magnetic joy of a loved snack or activity – relevant to any parent, especially now. 
  • The empowerment of accomplishing a DIY home repair, whether a new homeowner asserting their independence, or someone quarantined and unable to enlist a professional.

Moreover, category messaging can be an even more practical and relevant approach. Given supply chain disruption, no matter how much it’s desired, your brand may simply not be an available option. But competition is realizing the same challenges; How powerful would it be to collaborate with your competitors to speak to this moment collectively to steady, or even rise your collective tide in the long-term?

If you are in a position to develop or run communication right now, just please be thoughtfully relevant. Use this moment as a torture test that develops messaging that speaks to your core, timeless benefits that remind consumers how you can best serve them right now, and in perpetuity. 

Otherwise, save your money, save your reputation, and don’t say anything at all.

Stay safe.

Alliah

P.S. I’ve started another platform where I’ve been posting more recently, visit grownesque.com. Feel free to check it out online, or via facebook @grownesque and instagram @grownesq.