The way your tech company communicates during the unfolding coronavirus crisis can either make or break your brand. If you ignore the topic entirely, you’ll come off as irrelevant. But if your tech company doesn’t use the right messaging, you could come off as tone deaf or opportunistic. Here are five tips to strike the right balance in your brand messaging during a crisis.
Know Your Brand Voice
By now, your inbox is probably inundated with messages from restaurants, retail stores and other companies detailing how they’re responding to the coronavirus crisis. The problem? They all sound like form letters. Just because this outreach is dealing with a serious topic doesn’t mean it’s time to communicate like a robot. Sure, you should avoid a sarcastic or insensitive tone, but don’t abandon the core qualities of your brand voice. Talk openly and honestly about your unique approach to the situation in a way your prospects and customers are used to hearing.
Yesterday’s news is just that…old news. Now’s the time to examine your pre-scheduled blog posts or social media posts from even a week ago to see if they’re still applicable. If you’ve got an email sequence launching soon about a now-canceled trade show, get that paused ASAP. Are your sales people offering a diagnostic assessment that’s called a “health check”? Maybe it’s time to rename that.
Moral of the story? Keep up-to-date to make sure you’re remaining sensitive and relevant in your brand communications.
Use Humor and Positivity
If you have a normally playful and personable brand, it’s okay to continue with content that’s lighthearted at times. The current landscape is overflowing with news of doom and gloom…providing a bit of (appropriate!) levity for distraction can be a welcome change. That said, please be sure you’re not being too optimistic and downplaying the current reality of the situation…you don’t want to be “that person” who keeps posting about turning lemons into lemonade.
Update Your Buyer Personas
With a largely remote workforce and impending recession, your target customer has experienced a drastic shift in mindset over the last several days. To communicate with these prospects in a way that’s relevant today—and not last month—consider tweaking your buyer personas.
For example, your buyer is probably spending a lot more time on social media getting news updates. They aren’t at a physical office anymore, so direct mail campaigns are out the window. And I guarantee you they’re distracted more than normal during business hours. Adjusting your buyer persona to this new reality will make sure that your brand messaging stays on track even during a crisis.
Be the Leader
This can not be stressed enough: COVID-19 is not a marketing opportunity. It is a brand communication opportunity. If you use the crisis to push your product, you’ll diminish the integrity of your brand over the long haul. By contrast, if you use this time to embrace the well-known content marketing philosophy of being helpful, you’ll emerge as a leader in the space. And in times of uncertainty, that’s really what your audience wants from your tech brand: strong leadership in the face of the unknown.
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Things are changing daily, and tech companies need to be on their toes to ensure that their message remains relevant and appropriate. Even though the intensity of the crisis may lessen in the future, companies should revisit how they addressed the crisis management challenge and improve and update their strategy to remain prepared.