March 25, 2020
By Selorm Dogoe
In the last few weeks, Ghanaian brands have joined the conversation about the Coronavirus. I’ve seen the same WHO guidelines quoted in different colours, layouts and logos. It’s been a few weeks and brands need to find new ways to stay relevant. So, what do you do next? What do you say next? Here’s a clue: probably nothing.
I’ve seen brands turn into social commentators. I’ve also seen a few shady offers from some opportunistic ones. If actions speak louder than words, then actions are the only words that matter today. Brands will reap the rewards of their actions during this period when this is all over.
At this point, it’s safe to say that the Coronavirus is one of the biggest disruptors in recent history. The world is experiencing uncertainty at a level that we’ve never seen before.
It’s a tragedy for some, but a huge opportunity for others. While it’s smart to seize opportunities, it’s more important to preserve your brand’s image. The secret lies in a basic principle of messaging and communication – start with the people.
Today, people are locked away in their homes with their bored (and troublesome) children. At the same time, others have to brave the odds and go out to make ends meet or risk going hungry. It doesn’t make them any less scared than those self-isolating. People are being extra cautious, some people are paranoid and afraid. Some people have closed their businesses, while others are searching for ways to keep their businesses running. Some people are afraid of getting laid off by their companies if this continues too long. People still want to go out on a Friday night or a weekend but cannot. These are only a few of the many insights you can find in a situation like this.
Your audience is not only facing a health crisis, they’re also adapting to a strange situation. One that is affecting almost every aspect of their lives – this is where you can be a hero. Think about your audience, what challenges are they facing? What are their fears and insecurities? How is the situation inconveniencing them? What can you do about it? If you can’t do anything that’s okay. Don’t go looking for something to say where there’s nothing to say. Instead, consider the context when promoting your services in this period.
This will make you sound more sensitive, human and in-touch with your audience. However, if you do have something to say, be genuine about it and stay positive.