Creative Guidance in Times of Uncertainty

Everything is different now. Let’s act like it.


“Hey Siri, can you look up directions for how to advertise through a pandemic?” Sure, you’ll find enough articles prescribing how to hand-hold your customers through these challenging times to keep you busy for the next few years, but guess what? We’re all going through this for the first time and there is no playbook that we should all adhere by. 

Yes, now is a great time to build a loyal following based on how you handle your messaging.

Yes, your customers are looking for answers to the question of “what’s next?”

Yes, your competitors are shifting their business models to adjust for a new normal.

Yes, this is your chance to do the same thing.

And yes, your consumers are still human beings that have feelings.

OK, now that we’ve covered that and we all have “UNPRECEDENTED” tattooed on our foreheads, let’s talk about how you can still be creative, while also being aware and sensitive to the world we live in. 

Start by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think about what they want to hear from the brands they trust, or what they may want to hear from a brand in their consideration set. That’s going to be different for every company, but one piece remains clear: 77% of consumers claim that brands in their marketing communications should not ignore or turn a deaf ear to the crisis, but rather make sure to recognize it and acknowledge the impact it has had on people’s lives. (Harvard Business Week).

Here are a couple of helpful hints from a recent Facebook webinar on “Creative Strategies” plus one of our own for when you begin your creative process:

  • Outline motivations & barriers a consumer may face that prevents or encourages them to buy your product or service.
  • Map creative & copy so each piece addresses a particular motivation and/or barrier.
  • Be authentic. Be true to your brand’s core values. Be human.

When times get tough, it’s all too easy to revert to what’s familiar or shut down to let it pass. Instead, put a stake in the ground and speak to what your brand stands for and rethink how you can deliver for your customers. You may be an ecommerce company that could provide how-to tutorials for online shopping, accept new online payment forms, or provide the ability to create accounts to save items for a later purchase. Or maybe you aren’t an ecommerce company and should quickly figure out how to become one!

No matter the direction of your company, your creative direction should check these boxes:

  1. Lead with empathy. And regularly revisit your marketing efforts to ensure that your messages are remaining relevant. Three questions to help guide creative:
    • How have current situations changed how the product will be, or could be, used?
    • Are there new use cases/need states for your product to pivot to or acknowledge?
    • Has the availability and affordability of your product changed? If so, for better or for worse?
  2. Be yourself. We mentioned this earlier, but worth stating again—your audience wants you to have a consistent voice. Two questions to help guide creative:
    • What is the unique angle only your brand can take during a pandemic?
    • Think of your product as a person. What would that person’s specific tone or POV be in this situation?
  3. Add value. Ideas should contribute to your audience and the communities you care about. Here are a few thought-starters: 
    • provide support (mental/emotional/financial)
    • provide a fresh way to experience an old favorite product or service
    • be a much-needed cathartic outlet
    • give tools to help your audience thrive in their new reality

“Hey Siri, how do I be myself?” Never mind, we’ll save that for next time. Stay creative and stay safe.

If you’re in need of some creative guidance, drop us a line, we’d be more than happy to help you!

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