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May 26, 2020

Media in a COVID world

Camille Coltrain

As more states open and life shifts to a new normal, consumer behavior has drastically changed. Businesses are reopening and we are left wondering both how to make our customers feel safe, and how to begin advertising again.

The State of Things

This is a fascinating time in media consumption behaviors. The world is in an uncertain and tumultuous state, and we are seeing unprecedented swings in consumption across almost every medium.

Here are our most important takeaways:

  • TV viewership is up, way up. News viewership saw a 40% increase from 2019 and ratings are skyrocketing.
  • Digital inventory is exploding
    • A lot of brands don’t want to be associated with COVID-19 content, (which let’s be honest, is overwhelming us all right now) but if your brand doesn’t have an aversion to being around this content you can get great rates!
    • People are spending more time online which just means more availability as far as placement goes
    • Streaming TV is on the rise, as it has been for a while, but this is an Old Faithful level eruption.
  • Social media is invaluable for people to connect in a time of social distancing. Instagram saw a 22% increase in ad impressions.

Now that we have a better understanding of where people are spending their time during quarantine, let’s approach the “what do we say” part of the question. Messaging is more important than ever, and how your company chooses to ‘re-enter’ the market after a period of quiet will define how your customers view you in the post COVID world.

How to Adjust

Here are some tips we are utilizing with our clients and that have been widely practiced by brands like Verizon, DoorDash, Zillow and many others.

  • Be sensitive and don’t capitalize.
    This pandemic is a tragedy, no way around it, so your company must show empathy to the reality of the situation.
  • Communicate how you are keeping your consumers safe.
    If you are a retail establishment or a place where interaction is necessary to receive your service/goods, talk about what you are doing to keep customers safe at your location.
  • Don’t be afraid to push a promotion.
    It’s important to be sensitive and use a ‘soft sell’ but promotions are still important if it is driving revenue. The key is to mix some of the other more empathetic messaging points with the promotion.

The final note on your new media strategy is to be flexible. Very flexible. Our world is changing every day, and consumers are in different phases of quarantine or reopening. Keep your ear to the ground and judge what is best based on the climate and regulations in your community. We have seen success in putting together media strategies that have phases, creating a solid high-level plan while allowing for flexibility throughout with messaging and placement.

If you feel overwhelmed or a little intimidated by media and activation during this unusual time, don’t be afraid to throw us a line!


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