Content marketing in times of disruption

Which brands should consider offering content at the right time and staying relevant during the market turmoil.

The coronavirus pandemic and the response to racial injustices have had a major impact on public priorities and their view of brands. While these and other disruptions may act as a barrier between companies and their customers in the future, brands can also differentiate themselves through empathetic content marketing that supports audiences and business objectives.

In SMX Next, I focused on ways brands can take advantage of these opportunities and avoid the potential tragic pitfalls of marketing in such turbulent times. I’ve outlined some of the most important tips below, but you can see the full lesson and access all other sessions for free by logging into SMX Next.

Create a fast response workflow to resolve marketing interruptions

In 2020, we saw customers interact with brands that respond empathically and creatively to what their audience is experiencing and criticize organizations that hesitate or misbehave. Building a responsive team or workflow is one way to determine the success of your brand when current events are unpredictable.

Marketers need to review existing processes to clearly define what each member of their team is responsible for, which automated messages to send, how to communicate with stakeholders, and which channels will be used to respond.

In addition, each team member must know your organization’s position on current events and issues affecting customers. Having these discussions at an early stage can speed up the reaction process rather than slow it down with internal debates.

 CrossFit solved this problem after George Floyd’s murder, which eventually led to the CEO announcing his retirement and as a result, more than 1,000 academics left the road and took minor action.

Across the spectrum, Ben & Jerry’s tweeted their initial response less than two days after the incident, citing the 2016 blog post, Why Black Lives Matter, to followers. More than half a dozen. more reports on racism. Rather than ruining your reputation and community, CrossFit can bring your audience together in preparation, discuss these issues well in advance, and express your views more quickly.

Immerse yourself in the tone and messages

In addition to promoting your business priorities, your brand must also lead the way, taking into account your audience and the circumstances in which we operate. Some see it as something in between, but the tone is an important part of the messages that bring brands closer to their goals – these goals are the same. The difference is that audiences today are more sensitive to the tone because of the global pandemic, economic ramifications, and movements for racial equality.

Have a two-way conversation. By communicating directly with customers, they can communicate their concerns and priorities to your organization so that you can better support them. Companies can use their social channels, SMS, live chat on the website, or other methods to communicate with their audience and find out how this is affected by COVID-19 or other interruptions in their daily life. In addition to helping your customers in this way, you can also take the opportunity to present more content marketing ideas.

Increase your insights.

 A more subtle way to adjust tone and messages is to measure your creativity to determine where the assumptions were made. Many marketing initiatives use people based on data and assumptions as a basis, but it is not always beneficial to include those assumptions in messages. If you convey a wrong guess about your audience, you are more likely to get your brand back if people are very sensitive to current events.

After protests erupted after George Floyd’s death, Suitsupply apparently thought the public would be open to models dressed in suits and as a backdrop to protesters. The caption also doesn’t reflect what the brand itself would do to promote the Black Lives Matter movement. The above photos were removed from Suitsupply’s Instagram a few hours after they were posted and we apologize the next day.

But don’t use generic messages. Using generic and safer messages can ignore sensitive topics, but it is unlikely that anyone, in particular, will like it. In addition, the public is increasingly skeptical as companies are voicing vague reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brands can be better remembered and make the right comments for their audience, demonstrating how they work to help their customers or the wider community. Ford did this by making respiratory masks with, for example, 3M and the United Auto Workers Union.

Combine research and creativity data to determine your content strategy

COVID-19 had a major impact on search behavior and as a result, search results have also changed based on what users are looking for. As parts of the country are reopening and people are confronted with various seismic problems, the behavioral patterns in the study may be very different than in previous years. This does not mean that research data is no longer usable, but that more creativity and research are needed before deciding on content strategies.

Right after things hit the fan. Right after the mainstream media, the public is likely to prioritize their livelihood, family, or community. It’s also when search behavior changes as people search for sources and solutions to how current events affect them personally, adding more variables to the mix and making search behavior difficult to interpret.

In this delicate moment, all brands can go a long way to answer urgent questions or concerns from the public, and any message that deviates from the target is generally strong.

Research carefully whether your posts are helping your audience or the wider community with what they are currently seeing. If you can’t serve them right now, it might be best not to distract them and instead post your organization’s response to your website so people can access it when they’re ready. One of the worst and inevitable things a brand can do is scare customers and take the opportunity to focus.

After the first shock. 

As the audience adapts to the new status quo, research behavior also creates more predictable patterns (at least until the status quo changes again). At that point, customers may want to return to some of their previous habits or new interests to help them overcome that moment and create opportunities to combine creative marketing with trends and research data. 

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