Finding your voice in the Coronavirus crisis

Chris Esh


COVID-19 and marketing after the fallout.

In the midst of the coronavirus explosion and the market collapse, it seems out of touch to talk about anything else. So how the heck are you supposed to keep your organization’s marketing from sliding into irrelevance?

And this is a really tough question for any business right now. Obviously there are worries about the American consumers tightening their collective wallets. Not to mention the panic we all may be facing internally, and all the unanswered questions we have about what is going to happen next. Lockdown? Food shortages? We. Just. Don’t. Know.

One thing’s for sure, we can’t just ignore the coronavirus in the room.

I was planning on posting a few different unrelated videos this week, but in light of recent events I had to table them. Posting about topics completely unrelated feels out of touch. And they likely wouldn’t get much traction.

For any sort of messaging to stick, it has to enter the person’s mind through the conversation they are already having in their head. And right now the topic in 99% of the world’s head right now is a deadly virus infecting what feels like half the population.

So how do you enter that COVID-19 conversation in a productive way?

You want to show empathy. And no, I’m not just saying that because the quote on my tea bag today said “empathy makes you beautiful,” although that’s something to keep in mind.

Empathy is a great way to show that you understand what’s going on. And that you’re not just going to ignore the immense pain and desperation many are experiencing currently. Plus it seems like the right thing to do.

It’s a great way to enter the mind of your potential prospect, donor, recipient, etc, without banging on the door with your doomsday prediction. Because after all, we’ve heard enough negative news by now, and at this point if they don’t hear about it from you they’ll hear about it from someone else.

Instead of stating the negative facts, focus on the positive and the productive

If I just posted another bland summary of all the issues we’re all facing right now it wouldn’t be very productive or meaningful.

So let’s try to bring some light to people’s eyes in the form of positivity, and productive solutions.

Check out this viral graphic that’s been passed around social media a few million times this week:

Picture of clear water in Venice canals

It’s an unexpected positive that’s come out of a sea of negatives. And it’s extremely gratifying to anyone who’s social media has been hit with negative headline after negative comment.

What are the unexpected positives that have come out of this whole ordeal for you and your organization or business? And if there are no positives, what positive news from around the world or your community can you share to get people’s heart’s up? Chances are your followers will share the heck out of it.

And finally, what are some solutions that your organization or business are working on to deal with this crisis? What are some self care routines you’ve been having employee’s implement around the office or while working from home? Don’t be afraid to share those with your audience, maybe they will implement them too.

Talk to your specific niche

There is an overwhelming amount of content out there around COVID-19. So don’t just add to the heap of generic content. Instead take an angle that is hyper-targeted to your specific audience. You don’t need to tell people to wash their hands or tell small businesses to prepare for uncertainty. We heard that already.

Instead bring YOUR unique voice, values and perspective to the conversation in a way that speaks directly to the people you’re serving. Your voice of clarity will be refreshing and calming. Making them feel understood and providing a list of recommended steps or resources is a hugely valuable service.

At the end of the day, the biggest constraints can inspire amazing creativity

Now that you find yourself and your company stuck inside the box of quarantines and lockdowns, there has never been a better time to brainstorm.

Take some time out of your day to plan out the next steps for marketing your business. You know the conversation that everyone is having in their head, how can you enter that conversation without following the mainstream narrative everyone else is following? How can you meaningfully add to the conversation?

Cheers and stay safe out there.


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