But from next week and across the next few months, we’ll see a staggered reopening of the economy, with businesses emerging into a new normal.
This new climate won’t just impact your day-to-day operations, it will impact how you advertise. An advertising strategy that doesn’t take a tactful and sensitive approach may backfire.
To help you respond appropriately to the circumstances, and improve your brand status, we’ve put together some advice on the two aspects of the advertising process: how to structure your messaging and how to get that messaging out to your target audience.
Your messaging should be:
1. Engaged with the situation
It’d be silly to pretend that none of this has happened, particularly if you’ve had to close your doors for a period of time. Your message needs to find a creative, unique and brand-appropriate way to say to customers “We’ve been gone, now we’re back, here’s why you should visit”.
Of course, it’s important to be sensitive when referring back to stricter restrictions and speaking with the right tone will be paramount. Think twice before trying to sprinkle any comedy or levity into your message; the last year has come with a tragic human cost. Equally, overcooked sentimentality will make you sound mawkish and crass.
2. Happy and future-facing
Whatever form it takes, your messaging should let customers know just how happy you are to see them again. After all, they’re what keeps your business going, so a nice “Welcome back! We’ve missed you.” will help you make that connection.
Be positive and optimistic; your reopening ads should give the unmistakable impression of a business that’s open again and planning to stay open for good.
You can even see this alloy of confidence as a way of contributing to the wider economy. After all, seeing small displays of mettle from individual businesses will help give customers faith that brighter days are on their way.
Think ahead to that golden week after lockdown when you can finally, properly pick up where you left off. You’ve been closed (or significantly disrupted) for over a year, and customers are hankering to scratch the long itch to hand over money for products and services they’ve really missed.
You may well have had to adapt your business model to stay afloat during lockdown. But reopening will give you a unique opportunity to play to your strengths, get your brand back in people’s minds and make them excited to buy from you again.
Let’s go with a little working example. Think of a bakery that’s locally renowned for its knock-out cinnamon bun, the kind of snack that people will gladly stand in a snaking, socially distant queue down the street just to get a bite of again. When the bakery reopens for takeaways and deliveries, it doesn’t take a marketing prodigy to guess which product is going to take centre stage on advertising materials.
Whatever business you run, the principle remains the same: remind people why they came to you in the first place.
Even when we get the all-clear, these new standards of sanitation and safety will remain, and people will still be apprehensive about going out in public and stepping into indoor spaces. You need to tell them exactly what you’re doing to protect them.
Operating with strict limits on capacity? That’s something you’ll need to make clear. Maybe you’ve got hand sanitizer stations set up, or glass visors at the checkout. Whatever you’re doing to safeguard customers, let them know beforehand.
So, there’s what you need to consider when structuring your message. But now you’ve got to get it out to your audience. In these fraught circumstances, that takes a lot of discretion and special consideration too.
There are endless ways to make your advertising message public. But after lockdown ends, your media strategy needs, above all, to be multi-channel.
Really, a multi-channel approach is an essential part of any marketing strategy. But at a point in time where people are consuming media with a greater urgency than ever before across a wide variety of formats, it’s essential that you're seen across multiple platforms that are right for you.
During the first lockdown, 57 per cent of the public turned to news sites for information around Covid-19, and our online audience numbers grew by over 40%. That’s one channel you really need to be seen on in 2021, and JPIMedia Local can put you there.
One of the great marketing stories of modern times has been the shift in advertising spend from traditional media to social platforms. We’d certainly advise maintaining a strong social media presence in your marketing mix.
But short attention spans on social platforms, plus well-founded concerns about their role in incubating misinformation, mean ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can struggle to be noticed, while also evoking some level of automatic suspicion.
You can now get around these problems by displaying your social posts on online news webpages, where they’re shown to attract seven times more attention and eight times more engagement. You’ll get the best of both worlds, building your social following while reaping the proven benefits of appearing in a ‘premium’ media environment.
There are few precedents in modern times for what we’re now experiencing, and it can feel very difficult to know how to respond. But by crafting your advertising message with the maximum degree of tact and sensitivity, you can protect yourself from gaffes and unforced errors.
We want to help businesses like yours find their feet again in the post-lockdown world, so get in touch today for expert help and advice.