How to write for your brand in this depressing new world – Part 2

Hands up who’s run a business or marketing department during a pandemic before? Hmmmm, thought as much. That’s why we’ve got another seven bite-sized tips to help your crisis communications and marketing.

  1. You can’t overuse the Q&A format
    If you’re struggling to keep your crisis communications clear and logical, you can’t go past the trusty Q&A approach.
    This helps you organise your thoughts and construct messages that are easy to read and scan.
    It forces you to think from your audience’s point of view – and shows customers that you’re in tune with their most pertinent concerns
  2. Don’t relay or clarify stuff you’re not an authority on
    If you’re an accounting firm, by all means, help me understand the government’s wage support package. And if you’re a real estate agency, please clarify my legal options as a tenant.
    But if you’re an insurance firm, I’m not interested in your tips on how to sneeze safely. And if you’re a beauty salon, I won’t be turning to you to read about Morrison’s new lockdown rules.
    The takeaway? Don’t relay information about topics your business has no expertise in.
  3. Certain words are no longer okay
    There are certain words – some that were even considered “power words” – that should now be avoided in your copywriting at all costs.
    Consider how the bolded word in each of the headlines below takes on a whole new meaning in today’s COVID-19 world:
    – “How to make your ideas go viral in the workplace”
    – “Free financial health-check on your property portfolio”
    – “This little lifesaver will have your creativity flowing in no time”
  4. Tone down the sales pitch
    Call now! Act quickly!
    Overt sales messages and pushy calls-to-action may have their place. But not at the moment. Remember, the only truly urgent issue we’re all facing right now is the pandemic itself.
    So, if you’re selling a product or service that is especially useful in current times (such as home gym equipment or online training solutions), aim for a tone of helpfulness.
    The worst thing you can do is look like you are cashing in on the crisis.
  5. Actions speak louder than words
    I’m hearing lots of businesses telling their customers that they are their number one priority – with no actions to support the claim.
    Instead of simply telling your customers that you’re here to help, just help!
    Big brands like Disney, eBay and UberEats have led the way with their actions. But don’t assume that you can only afford to be generous if you’re a mega-corporation.
    I am sure you can think of one or two small things you can do to help your customers out.
  6. Get it right with your own people
    More than half of the crisis-related email communications we’ve been editing for clients has been for internal purposes.
    All the same rules apply. Don’t waste your employees’ time communicating stuff they already know. Keep it simple and succinct. And if you want them to know you care, show them.
  7. And finally, don’t go silent!
    Budgets are tighter. Consumers have changed. We all know the realities.
    History has shown time and again that brands that keep marketing during a crisis come out stronger. So even if you are not operating in the same way (or even at all) right now, don’t go silent.
    Assuming you’re able to weather the storm, you will be back in business in no time. And when this happens, your brand needs to still be relevant and top-of-mind.
    Protect your brand. Fuel it. Your comeback will be a lot easier.

Vikki Maver, Founder, Refresh Marketing

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