How to Talk About COVID-19 as a Brand

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are everywhere you look. Every building you enter has signs on the door. It’s all over the news and social media. And many businesses have had to close or make significant changes to continue operating.

So if you haven’t already sent emails or posted about it on your blog or social media, you’re probably wondering: how should your brand talk to its customers about COVID-19?

Before we answer that, there’s another question you should ask first.

Should you even do it?

When everyone is talking about the same thing, it’s easy for brands to assume they should be talking about it too–but that’s not always the case. If what you have to say about coronavirus isn’t relevant to your customers, you shouldn’t be saying it. 

In an effort to stay ahead of changes related to the spread of the virus, some brands have sent emails that were more appropriate for an internal audience. (If you’ve received coronavirus emails from software companies you use, you know what we’re talking about.)

Unless you have something that directly affects your customers or your ability to serve them, or you have something unique to add to the conversation, you probably don’t need to say anything to your customers about COVID-19.

But if you have something to say, here’s how to talk about it.

Focus on how it impacts your customers

Coronavirus has had a huge impact on ecommerce. And many companies are practicing social distancing through remote work and making other major changes. But when you talk about COVID-19 to your customers, you should keep the focus on how it actually affects them. 

Are your products out of stock everywhere–online and in-store? 

Has your supply chain been disrupted? 

Do you have brick-and-mortar stores that have to close?

Is COVID-19 impacting your ability to serve your customers?

Are you doing something out-of-the-ordinary to address coronavirus, like releasing a new product, giving something away, supporting those who have been affected, or introducing a new service? Many brands are helping the cause by creating new products out of things they may normally be a waste byproduct of their production process. A distillery in Portland is making hand sanitizer for its brand fans.

These are the kinds of things your customers care about. Unless you’re in the healthcare industry, your customers probably aren’t interested in “your take” on the pandemic. But there may be other relevant ways for you to talk about it, too.

Share new insights about how coronavirus impacts your industry

The other big way for brands to talk about coronavirus is to share unique insights about how it’s affecting their industry. If you have data you’re at liberty to share that speaks to larger trends in a product category or niche, that’s probably worth writing about. Media outlets and thought leaders in every industry are looking for angles to talk about how COVID-19 has changed daily life, the economy, and various industries. So sharing your data could generate a lot of publicity around your brand, create valuable links to your website, and expose you to more consumers.

Depending on the insights you want to share, you’ll have to decide if it’s more appropriate to publish them in a blog post, press release, or another medium.

Help consumers find where your products are in stock

A lot of product categories are sold out everywhere right now. Good luck finding household goods like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and wipes. As your supply fluctuates over the coming weeks and months, it’s going to become crucial that brands help customers find their products.

The first step is obviously setting up a Where to Buy solution to let customers see a range of stores that carry your products. This gives your customers greater access to your distribution chain. It also decreases the likelihood that they’ll turn to a competitor because they couldn’t find your products in stock somewhere.

But when everything is sold out, simply having a Where to Buy tool isn’t enough. You need a way to notify customers when your products are back in stock. PriceSpider’s Where to Buy tool can be configured to let customers sign up for product alerts, so they’ll automatically be notified when more stock is available.

In a pinch, you can always create a signup form yourself, but that will involve a lot more work and upkeep on your end. You can also email your customers to tell them they can sign up for these alerts.

Be relevant, not repetitive

Coronavirus information is everywhere. And many brands are flooding their customers’ inboxes with the same messaging: “we’re taking this seriously and doing our best to continue serving you.” 

As the crisis worsens, things are changing rapidly. You might have something relevant to share about coronavirus in the weeks and months to come. But unless COVID-19 is changing something about how your customers interact with your brand, disrupting your ability to serve them, or you have something unique to add to the conversation, you shouldn’t feel obligated to follow suit.

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