Companies of all sizes are working to navigate uncharted territory. Organizations have been heads down, hyper-focused on handling the immediate crisis communication surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the human impact on both employees and consumers in this unprecedented time.
As the dust begins to settle, organizations – and more specifically marketers – are now challenged with crafting new messaging and communication that will be relevant once the shutdowns begin to lift. Simultaneously, they need to prepare their franchise locations, teams, and businesses for reopening, while launching national and localized campaigns that engage with consumers in a meaningful way, with messaging that both reflects their brand’s core values, and the new world in which we all will live.
1. Communication Will (Still) Be Key
Arm your teams for success by leveraging a centralized brand command center, allowing you a way to communicate effectively and efficiently across your locations, update internal team members and franchise owners with critical information, and share new assets and messaging - all while protecting your brand integrity.
• Make assets and communications easily accessible, 24/7 with web-based access
• Post updates on your home page to share critical communications. Where possible, adjust your home page content based on the user, so that the information is directly relevant to them.
• Build a “COVID-19” folder and store all of your assets here – from how to respond to the media, to downloadable in-store signage, to new operational procedures ¬– for easy access, download, print-on-demand and/or ordering
• Create branded templates that allow your franchisees, locations and/or dealer networks to capitalize on updated messaging and marketing materials, without bogging down the corporate marketing team
2. Pivot Your Messaging
As organizations begin to pull themselves out of crisis mode, it will be mission-critical for marketing teams to review and adjust their messaging and tactics.
- Review messaging. Review all aspects of your marketing – from the tone of the messaging, to the content to you are creating, to sales incentives. Consumers are now facing a recession and (potentially) high unemployment, so your strategy to attract and retain consumers will (likely) need to change from two months ago. A great example is a shift in the fitness industry. As an industry with high-touch equipment, it is going to be critical to convey the importance of member safety in your messaging. What measures and precautions are you taking? Have you conducted additional training with staff? Are you implementing new rules and procedures, such as limiting class sizes?
- Start planning now. Marketing campaigns take time to create. We’re all unsure of when we’ll all be back open for business, but by targeting a date you can begin to plan timing around store reopening dates, marketing plans, and ad buys. You can always adjust your marketing if the date shifts, and hopefully, it’s earlier than planned.
- Create a New Multi-Channel Mix. Many organizations leveraged social channels to continue to engage targeted consumers while brick & mortar locations were closed. As you return to “business as normal” these channels should not be abruptly stopped without fully understanding and analyzing the potential impact. Consumer behavior will forever be changed – and these new channels may need to become part of a new multi-channel marketing approach.
- Leverage Multi-location Marketing. In all likelihood, the nation will not ‘re-open’ at once, but in phases, similar to how the country shut down. During this transition, localized marketing efforts will be more important than ever. Here are some quick tips:
- Plan for local campaigns to start 2-3 weeks before opening
- Leverage localized social media ads (and posts)
- Build local retention and referral marketing campaigns
- Leverage digital marketing
- If you provide a broad service (restaurant, fitness, health care, etc) consider EDDM mailings based on targeted regions/zip codes
3. Get Comfortable With Distance
Social distancing is quickly becoming part of our “new normal.” Once the shutdowns begin to lift, consumers will begin to return to businesses in our new world and social distancing will likely remain. To ensure continued consumer safety in an effort to flatten the curve, it is predicted that there will be imposed state and federal regulations for the foreseeable future. Some organizations may even choose to maintain, or exceed, safety guidelines to ensure that consumers feel safe enough to return.
As you update and create new branded signage, you may want to consider a partner who can help you centralize these assets, as well as print, warehouse and distribute them. This helps ensure that you are in control of your brand identity, while removing the heavy lifting of managing these individual orders (and the subsequent distribution).
Expected Social Awareness Signage:
- Social Distancing Awareness Signage: Create or update signage based on new regulations and/or organizational policies intended to keep customers and employees safe.
- Social Distancing Floor Decals: Social distancing is quickly becoming part of our everyday life. Keep customers and employees aware of social distancing regulations with anti-skid floor decals. Easy access to new or updated signs will ensure that franchises and/or locations across the nation are in compliance.
- Sneeze Guards: Produce and install plexiglass sneeze guards as your locations reopen to help protect employees from the spread of coronavirus.
To learn more about our end-to-end marketing supply chain solutions – from digital and traditional marketing services, social media management, centralized brand command center, and commercial print capabilities – contact us today!