Meaningful Marketing: How can we help consumers during a global pandemic?

“I feel like everything I’ve done this year means nothing”

My fifteen-year old daughter said this to me yesterday as we tried to figure out how the rest of her freshman year was going to play out in light of the current pandemic affecting our country.

A LOT of people are feeling this way (x 100!), especially the marketers and media planners who finally got their media budgets and strategies approved for the upcoming year. Further, the fear of doing or saying something wrong is extremely high as critics wait to pounce on brand messaging, and key media events face rescheduling at best and cancellation at worst.

 

Brands should definitely evaluate (and reevaluate) their messages

First off, what exactly can we say that may help or comfort consumers during this unprecedented crisis? Messages which encourage behaviors we’re trying to avoid should absolutely be changed. Yet at the same time our craving for normalcy and connection is higher than ever and brands that have a strong heritage of community, shared purpose and connection can use that to help us feel better during our confinement:

A family sitting on the porch, enjoying Country Time lemonade watching for the first sign of spring

Camping out in the backyard and making s’mores with Hershey bars

Sending a care package of Reese’s Easter candy to an isolated loved one

 

But is there anything brands can do to actually HELP consumers?

Clothing manufacturers are making protective masks, beer and soda bottlers are making hand sanitizer and many stores are accelerating home delivery and removing delivery and shipping fees.

Finally, there are a wide variety of brands helping those who have lost their jobs or aren’t able to earn income. By shifting marketing dollars toward directly and immediately helping consumers buy the things they need. On marketing platforms like Dabbl an even greater percentage of brand budget dollars are going directly and immediately to help consumers  – the same consumers whose trust and loyalty brands need – not just now, but over the long-term.

This kind the kind of help that means something, right now, to the people who matter most. This is where the journey to authentic loyalty begins.