The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented turmoil, affecting families, communities and businesses around the world. Even those of us who can maintain business continuity by working virtually and delivering messages and deploying products digitally are being profoundly affected. After all, we’re human beings in a time of great uncertainty, disruption and fear. But we’re not helpless. As leaders and colleagues, we can step up and do our part — and inspire those around us to make their own contributions.
Marketing teams carry a heavy burden in a business environment where anxiety is the prevailing emotion. Marketers create the message and set the tone, but it can be difficult to know what to communicate or how to work together effectively in a time like this. The key is to bend but not break. That takes resilience, and here are three tips that can help you and your marketing team achieve it.
1. Be patient and forgiving. First things first: acknowledge that we’re all under a lot of stress, even those of us who are fortunate enough to still have jobs, food and supplies, and safe and healthy friends and families. Also understand that you might not know the full story about what team members are going through, even the ones you’re close to on a personal level.
Are they trying to work full time while homeschooling kids? Has a partner been furloughed? Do they stay up at night worrying about parents or grandparents who are especially vulnerable to the virus? It’s a tense time. So, if people aren’t quite themselves, be patient and forgiving. It’s also a good time to check your own state of mind — self-care is important too!
2. Reset priorities. The pandemic has turned the world upside down in many ways, and chances are, it has also upended your Q2 marketing strategy. Many marketing departments have had to reduce or change their budgets and redirect resources as their companies adjust to the abrupt pause of major sections of the economy and stay-at-home orders.
Resetting priorities is critical, and to make the right decisions about allocating marketing spend and managing outreach, you’ll need accurate data on how campaigns are performing in terms of their impact on revenue. The ability to demonstrate marketing’s impact on the company’s bottom line is critical in any economic climate but even more so in uncertain times.
3. Strike the right tone. If you’re watching a lot of TV these days like many of us are, you’re probably looking wistfully at normal crowd scenes on the screen from your locked-down home. Someday — hopefully soon — that sort of scene will be the norm again, but right now, it isn’t. The world has changed, and we’re looking at it with a different perspective.
Chances are the messaging strategy you created when the economy was roaring along at full steam and people were free to meet friends at cafes and go see a movie looks different too. That’s why it’s a good idea to review all of the messaging that you’re using for outreach with an idea as to how it will be received in the present business environment.
Since we’re in a business climate without parallel in modern history, there’s no playbook — we’ll have to find new ways to communicate and identify fresh messages that resonate. It’s going to require a lot of creativity, and it will take metrics to monitor our performance along the way and make course corrections as necessary. To describe conditions as “fluid” is a huge understatement.
The scale of the human tragedy is unprecedented in modern times too, sometimes making it unbearable to watch the news. But the good news is that we’re in this together, even if we’re working in isolation. We can be mindful of each other’s needs and intentional about how we do our jobs. We can bend without breaking. That’s how to build resilience in uncertain times.