Yellow post-it note saying stay positive

It seems like everywhere you turn nowadays it’s COVID-19 this and COVID-19 that. Whether it’s conversations with friends, TV ads or social media posts, people can’t seem to escape the negative grasp COVID-19 now has on their collective psyche. Quite honestly, most of your customers are probably getting tired of hearing about the topic.

On the other hand, sending more positive brand messages to your audience during the pandemic will give your business a marketing advantage over its competitors. But first you’ll need to reassess your content strategy so that it’s sensitive to, and focused on, the needs of your stakeholders.

Find Your Audience’s New “Hot Buttons” 

First, you’ll need to take an honest inventory of your brand’s content versus the types of content your target audience is now interested in. Although you may have understood their purchasing “hot buttons” before the pandemic, for many consumers expectations have now changed with respect to how they perceive and react to certain types of content.

Determining how customers respond to specific brand messages can be done through surveys, social listening and data analytics. Here’s what to look for:

  • Content types or topics that now turn them off
  • Customer expectations towards your brand
  • Branding messages they want more of
  • Topics they are interested in right now, and why

Changing your content strategy in response to audience feedback, and distinguishing yourself in an ever-changing market, are crucial for success moving forward.

Don’t Use the “Virus Word” in Your Content  

Let’s face it, consumers have been overwhelmed by all the negative news coverage and social media rhetoric about the pandemic. Rather than talking incessantly about COVID-19, something all brands can do right now is avoid using the “virus word” in content while instead focusing their messages on more uplifting, positive topics.

Sharing uplifting stories or funny memes will help distract consumers from all the negativity in the world. Try content approaches that keep your brand’s voice inspirational, upbeat and encouraging without using language that could be misinterpreted as being insensitive or inappropriate.

If COVID-19 influences your brand’s success you can’t avoid the topic altogether, but you don’t have-to fuel consumer fears in the process. When referring to the crisis share inspiring messages about helping fellow human beings while highlighting how your brand can also help. Lighten up the mood in the marketplace with your content while continuing to send a message that’s consistent with your brand’s objectives and voice.

Send Brand Messages that Are Sensitive & Helpful 

Whatever you do, don’t try to capitalize on the pandemic by launching a major sales promotion that takes advantage of consumer anxiety. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still promote your brand in a sensitive, helpful way. In fact, doing so may be the difference-maker between weathering the COVID-19 storm as a business, or not.

If you’re a small, local company, send a message that encourages others to support fellow businesses in the community- not just yours. Carefully choose the words you use in your social media posts, ads and other marketing content, and ignore the temptation to promote a sense of urgency.

Because nothing is more important than the pandemic right now, rework your product or service’s messages so they offer customers who might be going through hardships even more value for their continued loyalty.

Think Outside Your Content Comfort Zone  

Since the pandemic has been a game-changer for almost every brand’s content strategy, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to try content approaches that fall outside your comfort zone. Although it’s important to address the needs and expectations of customers within your industry, try tweaking your message ever so slightly.

While doing so, look for ways to provide additional value by testing a new- yet still relevant- content approach. Monitor how your audience is responding to these new content ideas by reading their online reviews and measure progress by looking at metrics like customer engagement and conversion rates.

Are customers interested in reading more blog articles about your product or service? Do they find value in watching educational YouTube videos about your brand? There are myriad content platforms out there that allow you to expand your marketing strategy’s reach and project a more positive message that will ultimately empower your brand.

Show Consumers How Your Brand Helps Others 

Now more than ever before consumers want to know how the brands that they place their trust in are making the world a better place. Audience expectations during the pandemic require that profit motives get moved to the backburner as community support and charitable acts rise to the forefront.

Fuel this positive mindset by showing customers all the good things that you’re doing in the community and encourage others to do likewise. However, avoid sending messages that could come across as being “showboating” or boastful. Seize the moment and lead by example as you support a worthwhile movement that your customers can also rally behind.

Focus on acts of kindness that members of your team have participated in, like buying groceries for shut-ins, volunteering at food banks or sewing masks for frontline healthcare workers. If your organization has donated resources to a nonprofit, let others know about it.

Host a fundraiser and enlist members of your audience to join in as you show stakeholders that your brand is passionate about doing good on a large and impactful scale.

Positive Branding Builds Customer Loyalty & Trust  

Now more than ever before consumers are paying close attention to your brand messages. Staying positive during challenging times personalizes your product or service in the minds of customers and reinforces that it’s more about them as opposed to your bottom line.

Consistently sending the right brand messages will build upon the trust you’ve already earned with customers, strengthen brand loyalty and position your product or service as one that offers maximum value even during something like a pandemic.

Is Your Brand Sending the Right Message? 

Sending the wrong content message during an event like the COVID-19 crisis can permanently damage your brand’s reputation and business’ bottom line. At SafeHouse Web we are online branding specialists who can help you brainstorm an effective brand messaging strategy so that you can cultivate more positive relationships with audience members.

SafeHouse Web is a Silicon Valley digital marketing company in Hollister, California, that provides full-service digital marketing solutions. To learn more about our client-trusted digital marketing, website design and social media advertising services, contact us today or visit us at:

This article was originally published on LinkedIn, June 18, 2020.