There is no worse feeling when a friend posts some sad news on Facebook and all you can comment back is the same exact “thoughts and prayers” sentiment that everyone else does. It feels hollow, it feels empty, it almost feels fake. That’s exactly what advertisers are experiencing as they adjust their messaging to be sensitive to the shock of the world’s response to COVID-19. The same “We’re in this together,” “We are here for you,” and “when this is over…” messaging is offered from the local auto mechanic to the largest automotive company. While the intention behind these messages is absolutely in the right place, the overuse of the same sentiments makes them feel less genuine and meaningful.
So should you stop messaging? No. According to a late March Ispos study, 96 percent of the population want brands to continue advertising throughout this crisis.
So what is the right message? Be Authentic.
The answer, whether in tough times or better times, is authenticity. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be real. Real is what resonates. Real is what makes us human. And real is what makes a connection. While it’s important to let your customers know you get what’s going on, they may not find your take on the state of the world all that helpful. Let them know orders may take longer to fulfill, that you want to offer an extra discount to healthcare workers, that you are shifting your hours. They get the world has changed, just be real about what it means to your business and how you are making adjustments like everyone else.
Collaborate with Podcast/Radio Hosts and YouTube Creators
Another way to be authentic is to lean in harder to the talent that you have delivering your message. When you let these influencers put your messaging “in their own words” it rings much truer. They are the ones who have a close trusted relationship to their audience. It may mean stepping out of your marketing comfort zone, but our clients who have had faith enough to give the talent creative freedom to deliver their message have seen the tremendous positive impact it can have on their brands.
Examples of Authentic Host-Read Ads:
Danny Gonzalez does a great job with his Audible integration on 2 Danny 2 Furious. He talks about the new audible.stories.com where they are offering free titles without needing a membership to help families and students who are stuck at home during the quarantine: watch on YouTube.
In this podcast example from That’s Awesome with Steve Burton & Bradford Anderson, the hosts chat about how leaving the house makes eating a little trickier these days, restaurants are closed, leaving the house is discouraged, and then when you do, sometimes the ingredients you need are out of stock at the grocery store. So why not try meal delivery services with EveryPlate.
These are undoubtedly tough times. Maybe the answer is to lean into the talent you trust to help you navigate through them. Maybe it’s taking a deeper look at your core values and reminding customers despite all the change, you are still there for them without disruption. At the very least, you won’t be saying what everyone else is saying.