Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

Last week, Twitter warned brands that the outbreak is not a marketing opportunity. But, brands still need to navigate these waters carefully in order to protect their brand while potentially strengthening relationships with customers.

connection 4884862 640smallIn its blog post, Twitter urged brands to proceed carefully and suggested a thoughtful message as opposed to a more typical marketing message. “Let’s be clear, this is not a ‘marketing opportunity’ to capitalize on, and we do not recommend brands opportunistically linking themselves to a health scare,” Alex Josephson, global head of Twitter Next, and Eimear Lambe, director of Twitter Next, wrote in the blog post.

Many firms are sticking to simply the facts of what steps they’re taking, if any, due to coronavirus while also conveying a commitment to putting safety first for its customers, workers and partners. For example, AMC sent a letter from its CEO discussing new cleaning measures at its theatres and a new policy aimed at helping customers with social distancing through April 30.

“To give you more empty space around you within our theatres, we are capping ticket availability to 50% of the normal seating capacity for every showtime in every auditorium at all AMC theatres nationwide,” the letter states. “Once we hit 50% of an auditorium’s capacity, movie screenings will show as being Sold Out, even though by definition there will be a large number of unfilled seats.”

Firms are communicating new hours, changes to employee behavior, new cleaning procedures, how they’re taking care of their own workers, cancellations and refunds (if applicable), expressing an understanding of the needs and anxieties of customers… and most of all that they’re monitoring the situation.

While customers are getting deluged with emails from dozens of brands, with many of the communications sounding the same, it’s still important to level-set with customers and to clearly communicate any changes they may encounter.

One other major things marketing professionals should be doing at this time: reevaluating existing and soon-to-launch campaigns to make sure they still are appropriate and, if they are appropriate, whether they can be effective in the current environment.

KFC, for its part, pulled a campaign that promoted finger licking, which is one of the ways the coronavirus can spread. Others are simply placing new campaign on hold.

Still, other firms are looking for ways to build goodwill with customers. Disney, which is temporarily shutting several of its main attractions, including Disney World, Disneyland, and suspending several of its cruises, is also taking a small step to bring some measure of joy to customers.

For subscribers of its Disney+ platform, Frozen 2 was made available three months ahead of schedule (this past weekend), a welcome addition for many parents who have their children home this week due to school closings. 

Last modified on Sunday, 15 March 2020
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