How Brands Can Help During the COVID-19 Crisis: Tips from Google

The United States is already several weeks into the Coronavirus pandemic, and life as we know it has been significantly affected—personally and professionally. Businesses of all industries have been majorly impacted by COVID-19, both positively and negatively, in all parts of the country. According to Tara Walpert Levy from Google, consumer behavior is changing day to day amidst the pandemic—which can make it difficult for brands to know exactly if and how they should be modifying their marketing strategies during this time.

In this article from Google, Levy dives into current search-trend behaviors from consumers and provides insight on how brands can help consumers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Read on for our synopsis.

5 trending search behaviors, according to Google:

Assembling critical information

With the day-to-day being anything but “normal” these days, it's especially important right now for brands to deliver the most important information to consumers as quickly as possible—and only the critical information. As we discussed in Episode 2 of our webinar seriesBranding & Marketing Best Practices Amidst COVID-19, it's essential to keep your website and business listings (e.g. Google My Business, Yelp, Trip Advisor, social media) with the most current information—such as your hours, current offerings, phone number, etc. This is also a good time to hide pages that aren't currently relevant, like your company's history or certain products/services. 

Additionally, as we discussed in our webinar series, it's also important to adjust your tone in all of your content, and to be sensitive to exactly what kind of content you're posting. Take Fashion Nova for example, who recently texted their subscribers encouraging them to spend their stimulus checks on their products… yikes. A more appropriate promotion could have been offering essential workers a discount.

In sum: Be useful as people’s needs evolve

  • Acknowledge the new reality.
  • Give people credible, detailed and current information about your operations. Reinforce that you’re there to help.
  • Regularly update communications across your website, blogs, social handles and business listings to ensure people are in the know.
  • Be flexible. Help customers with cancellations, refunds and customer service.

Discovering new connections

To combat the sense of loneliness and isolation during quarantine, consumers are finding new and inventive ways to stay connected with friends, family and even strangers, from Instagram challenges to a rise in “with me” videos (e.g. “Cook with me”) on YouTube. In fact, as reported by Levy, there's been a 54% increase in uploads of videos with titles like these compared to the same time last year. Brands can meet consumers halfway by facilitating new connection points from afar—whether it be brand-to-consumer connections or consumer-to-consumer.

In sum: Forge new communities and connections

  • Look for ways to connect your customers, locally and globally.
  • Consider if your brand has a role to play in creating or enhancing shared experiences, virtually or otherwise.

Adjusting to changes in their routines

Daily routines have changed quite a bit over the last few months, from at-home workouts to more home-cooking and online shopping at odd hours of the day and night. With more of a demand this kind of content at home, Levy also notes that production value isn't at the top of the priority list. It's more important for brands to put out relevant and useful content for their audiences quickly and efficiently right now than it is for it to be 100% perfect.

In sum: Adjust to people's non-routine routines

  • Let people know that solutions are available whenever, wherever.
  • Assess when people need you most, whether through your own first-party data (like site analytics or email opens) or Google Trends, and adjust your communications strategy accordingly.
  • Update or publish often. There’s a need for content that informs, entertains, connects and promotes wellness.

Praising everyday heroes

Circling back to adjusting your brand's tone and content for relevancy, praising essential workers—aka “everyday heroes,” such as healthcare professionals, grocery-store workers, restaurants offering carryout, sanitation workers, etc.—is something all brands can and should be doing in an authentic way. The search phrase “thank essential workers” has been rising in popularity worldwide during this pandemic.

In sum: Support heroes

  • Look for people who are helping, and find ways to support or celebrate them.
  • Consider who the heroes are among your employees, your customers or even your local community.
  • Consider whether you have nonhuman heroes that can contribute, like your technology, your operational rigor or your equipment.

Taking care of themselves and others

How can your brand help ease the anxiety and stress of your customers? As Social Media Manager Amanda Morton discussed in the third episode of our webinar series, providing your customers with resources that fit their needs, such as coloring pages or brain teasers to occupy their kids so they can work in peace, or free/discounted virtual services, you're able to stay top-of-mind for your audience and continue to provide them with valuable content.

In sum: Find ways to enrich your audience's lives

  • Facilitate virtual collaborations with outdoor spaces and the cultural institutions people yearn to visit.
  • Join the conversation about home-based health and well-being.
  • Pivot to platforms and formats that make sense for people staying home.

Team TIS can help you pivot your marketing strategy

Unsure of the best ways for your brand to provide value for your audience? The Image Shoppe is happy to assist you develop an meaningful marketing strategy for your audience. Contact us today with your ideas.