With Covid-19 dominating headlines and conversations around the world, it is inevitable that brands might want to send messages to their customers and followers on the topic as the situation unfolds.
To help with this, Twitter has set out a blog post with useful advice on how companies and marketers might go about this. The text is obviously geared towards how brands will communicate on Twitter itself, but includes sage advice that is relevant for all communication channels.
Key is the fact that brands should under no circumstances see the outbreak as something to try and hitch a branding message to. “Let’s be clear,” writes Alex Josephson and Eimear Lambe for Twitter. “This is not a ‘marketing opportunity’ to capitalise on, and we do not recommend brands opportunistically linking themselves to a health scare.”
Now you might think such a message is unnecessary, but with past experiences of brands issuing tone done deaf missives around the anniversary of 9/11, for example, it is obvious that you can never be too clear on this point. Plus it’s easy to imagine that certain brands might want to tag a cheap message about their services in relation to the crisis. Just don’t do it.
This is not a ‘marketing opportunity’ to capitalise on, and we do not recommend brands opportunistically linking themselves to a health scare
In fact though, we’ve seen a surprising amount of sensitivity to the situation by brands, several of whom have removed potentially jarring messages since the crisis began. Brands including Coors Light and Hershey have stopped running campaigns in the US recently, and KFC has suspended its recent UK campaign by Mother which centred on finger-licking.
The Twitter post then goes on to suggest positive ways that brands can be helpful to customers in the crisis instead, suggesting that you should only ever allude to Covid-19 if you have valuable information to impart. The brands most in the frame in this regard are of course travel and tourism companies, where the situation for their products is particularly in flux, so having a known, regularly updated communication channel is genuinely useful to customers.
Finally, Twitter encourages brands to also talk about other things, pointing out that a bit of levity and positivity in other areas can go a long way at the moment. “We’ve also seen non Covid-19 related positive stories capture people’s attention, because good things continue to happen, despite the context right now. Brands should continue to connect with and celebrate these moments, as and when appropriate. This could apply to events, trends and occasions from #IWD2020 to sports, TV premieres and culture.”
Read the full post from Twitter here