By Christopher Crawford
How many times have you caught yourself saying or doing something uncustomary during recent weeks and days? You may have prefaced conversations with the words, “before the pandemic” or planned social gatherings using Zoom or FaceTime to stay connected.
Our pre-pandemic norms have been dismantled and replaced by our new normal including social distancing and a reconfiguration of workplaces, classrooms, and social spaces. We are living in uncharted territory and it’s hard to know what to expect with each new week.
During a recent family movie night, my daughters mentioned how uncomfortable it was making them that the actors were in each other’s space. They were not social distancing in the way that we have all come accustom to doing. The characters were also engaging in activities that are not permitted during the pandemic.
The types of content that were once normalized in our cultural are now making people uncomfortable and creating anxiety for many viewers and consumers. The fact is things are evolving on a daily – sometimes hourly – basis. Our entire culture has changed, with new sensitivities, new concerns, and entirely new approaches to the way we live, work, and play.
While most of us hope that things will return to the familiar backyard barbecues, tailgate parties and close family gatherings, it is our job as communicators and marketers to stay connected with our stakeholders in this new normal.
It may appear that all the rules are changing but the customary guidelines for content strategy are still the same:
- Review Frequently
- Stay Relevant
- Connect with Stakeholders
What’s different now is adjusting our tactics and strategies to the “new normal” we’re living in. The discomfort and anxiety my children felt at the lack of social distancing by the actors during our movie night can very well translate to potential leads and clients. ‘Pre-’ and ‘post-’ pandemic is the lens we’re all seeing the world through, so now the question becomes how do we adapt the customary guidelines for content strategy for optimum clarity through this new lens?
Most businesses review their content strategies frequently. However, the content that was planned in January for this very abnormal April and spring season might not be relevant any longer. Furthermore, some the content that you were posting or airing during the early part of Q1 may not only be irrelevant now, but in some cases offensive or misguiding concerning important health matters.
Nike used its influence in the health and fitness sphere by encouraging athletes around the world to “play inside,” the company’s take on “stay inside” to help reinforce national recommendation for staying at home.
Spring holidays and family gatherings are banned and, in some cases, a great risk to the health of loved ones. The ad campaign that was planned depicting joyous celebrations and gatherings will not resonate anymore. Ford recently aired a commercial that aligns with their brand while identifying with criticality of the global crisis. It is relevant and it resonates.
Connect with Your Stakeholders
It is easy to see that our priorities have changed. A month ago, we may have been planning spring break trips and activities. Now, we are trying to score a package of toilet paper or some Lysol spray. Things that consumers once found exciting or enticing may be repulsive and offensive. Consider what your brand has to offer in the unprecedented time or what message your stakeholders need to hear from you, then convey that message in the most sincere and empathetic way possible. It makes a difference, and the connection with continue beyond this crisis.
In many cases, connection with stakeholders is more critical than ever due to health and safety reasons or for the survival of businesses and organizations. Consider how your content strategy could contribute to the battle against COVID-19 while remaining connected with your stakeholders in a meaningful way.
With COVID-19 hammering the world, digital conversation is at an all-time high. Everyone is discussing the best way to operate in this new landscape. An entirely new world-view has emerged, and a post-pandemic lens is something we're all getting used to looking through. That said, we believe the customary content guidelines are still relevant: by reviewing your content regularly, re-evaluating the relevancy of your message amidst this outbreak, and communicating your plans with stakeholders, your content will continue to resonate with audiences and establish connections during these tumultuous times.