During a disruptive event like the coronavirus it can be difficult to balance immediate, needs-based marketing to your customers versus the longer-term proposition of growing your brand. When faced with a crisis, it is important to balance timely communications and relevant marketing with your regularly planned brand programs.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from business owners wanting to know what appropriate marketing looks like during this uncertain time. The answer is – it depends on your business. Who you are, what you offer, and who you serve. The key is, you need a holistic view of you business and brand before you can identify the best path forward. I’ve outlined three things you should start, stop, and continue doing to help you navigate this evolving situation with more confidence.

Start:

Tracking the issue via a reliable news source – don’t just focus on your local area, pay attention to global trends and impact

Check-in frequently with employees, clients, vendors you rely on, or anyone else who is important to the success of your business.

Thinking about your behavior as a risk to your brand. The decisions you make in your business and in your communications are not just about the bottom line. People will remember how you behave and what you say even once this crisis has resolved. Think about your business two years from now. You have the opportunity now to build a solid foundation for the future.

Stop:

Review any upcoming communications, campaigns, or events you have planned. Now might not be the best time to promote your spring sale, your fun run in six months, or a conference you were planning. Think about your audience and what they really need from you right now.

Continuing with a business as usual attitude. You don’t need to panic but you can’t pretend that nothing is happening. You need to behave as if your business has been impacted, even if it hasn’t been yet.

Expecting employees, customers, or vendors to show up for you in the same ways they always do. Remember that we’re all human, not business machines, give everyone some extra space and grace. Including yourself.

Continue:

Adding value to your customers however you can. Their lives have been interrupted too. Is there anything you can do out of your usual business practice to make their lives easier right now?

Being yourself. The clients or followers you have right now are there because they’ve connected with your brand. It’s more important now than ever that you stay consistent in how you deliver your brand promise and communicate your brand value.

Innovating. If new and creative ideas are coming to you despite the chaos and uncertainty, run with them! This is a great time to test new ideas or reprioritize your goals. Was there something you hoped to accomplish a few years from now that suddenly seems more relevant? Make it happen. Just be careful to balance innovation with spending. No one knows what the economic impact of this crisis is yet, make sure that you’re future proofing your balance sheet now, even while you’re trying new things.

Looking for more tips? I created a free checklist with 5 simple strategies you can start today to help you build a meaningful brand now and into the future. Download your copy here.

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