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Top 10 Do's & Don'ts Advertising in the COVID-19 World



What a bizarre year. 2020 is sure to go down as one of the most crisis-ridden years in recent memory. Fires, mysterious murderous pests, Nationalism vs Globalism on full display, and of course, COVID-19 has dominated the headlines.


Advertising in this COVID-19 world has many brand managers and business owners confused so I’m back at it with another top 10 list.


DO: Share personal stories online that come from behind the business. At the best of times, marketing is about relationships. At the worst of times, double down on that ideology.


DON’T: Continually pushing a COVID-19 message doesn’t help your brand. Unless you can incorporate it into storytelling or policy announcements, don’t even mention COVID-19. Google Trends indicates consumer fatigue and brand posts that are related to emotion outside of the pandemic see an approximately 28% higher engagement rate (internal study of 55 brands).

DO: Now is the time to blow out old stock and inventory. Be mindful of how much your discount should be. For example, we work with a dentist in Colorado who had 800 electric tooth brushes in their basement for 5 years. At full price, these toothbrushes were $299 but they couldn’t sell. 5 years in a basement means $0 earned. Take the loss and blow them out the door for $30 as an incentive to buy something else from your brand.

DON’T: Let this time go by without planning for the future. Every business owner must be at the ready to re-open when the time is right. Plan your campaigns now so that you can flip a switch and instantaneously you’ll be ahead of your competition.

DO: If you’re a local brand, push that hard! Out of this crisis will come a temporary love for local. We’re already seeing it, but it’ll be even stronger in the next few months. This is a temporary wave though, so you must be ready to pounce.

DON’T: I know you’re frustrated and I know you’re angry at times, but don’t let that emotion creep into your business. If you take out your frustrations on your customers they may just turn your promotions into weapons against you. Be kind in these trying times; everyone’s going through it.

DO: Have fun with your customers! One of our restaurant/lounge clients is sending surprise beers to shotgun with an order and a message that pokes fun at them when they open a box. They do this for customers they know. They also add a message, “Post the shotgun to social media so we know you didn’t wimp out!” Talk about virility.

DON’T: Putting negativity out in the world right now won’t win you customers. Stay positive! Yes, you’ll re-open. Yes, life is good. Yes, you’re working on exciting new promotions.

DO: Join in celebrations of regulars. Do you have a regular customer who’s birthday is coming up with a drive-by parade taking place? Join. Do you have another regular confined to their old folks home? Pop by and hold up a sign thanking them for being awesome. Little things go a long way when the problems of the world are so large.

DON’T: Just because you can open, doesn’t mean you should. Make a checklist and go over it 100 times before announcing you are re-opening your business. If the government in your district says you can open, take all precautions and ensure you are doing everything you can to keep family and customers safe.