Marketing during a crisis. What’s the right approach?
If you turned your television on right now, odds are you’d likely see some sort of news coverage related to COVID-19 and the rising number of cases in the United States and worldwide. While those statistics are obviously important to know, like most of you, I’m eager for some uplifting news stories about communities pulling through and coming together during this crisis. I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but Tiger King just doesn’t do it for me (although I still find the memes amusing).
The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the daily lives of everyone, especially those involved in education. Most people are working remotely from home, which means many parents are now having to juggle homeschooling their young children along with the day-to-day aspects of their job. Older students are now taking their classes virtually through video conferencing platforms, but this hasn’t been without its hurdles. Many families don’t have the necessary resources at home to effectively implement online learning.
School districts and individual schools have had to adapt by the second to the challenges COVID-19 has presented. The list of issues many schools are dealing with would make this blog much longer than it needs to, but watching everything unfold from my vantage point has been both inspiring and enlightening. Long story short: schools provide much more than just an education to our youth and we should support the teachers, administrators and parents navigating this new reality as much as we can right now. Their ability to adapt and make the best of this situation has been inspiring, to say the least.
For marketing communications practitioners, we’re all navigating uncharted waters right now during this global pandemic. We’ve never seen anything like this in the age of social media and it isn’t surprising that many are walking on eggshells right now.
On September 11, 2001, Facebook was still a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye, as they say. At the time, like me, Zuckerberg was watching the events of 9/11 unfold at his high school. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and YouTube all didn’t exist in 2001. Even during the financial crisis in 2007-08, I would argue social media and the velocity and speed in which people consume content wasn’t anywhere near where it is now. For the platforms that did exist in 2007-08, most offer completely different features in 2020.
For most school marketing communications practitioners, the simplest approach right now is likely to lay low, minimize bold/risky content and inform your community when something changes in regards to schedule adjustments or when the next meal delivery will take place. Both of those examples are vital pieces of information and shouldn’t be diminished, but if you think you can’t use this circumstance to build your brand with bold and creative ideas, you could be missing a great opportunity.
Bold ideas right now could have a lasting impact and create equity down the road when this crisis ends and we’re back to our normal, everyday lives.
Much like the days, weeks and months following 9/11, there’s a thirst and hunger for positive and uplifting content right now. All of the drastic changes that have taken place in K-12 education over the last several weeks since COVID-19 became our new reality have created an opportunity for marketing communications practitioners to show how their schools are unique and how their community has pulled together. Finding a creative way to show and promote the positive stories happening right now will have both an immediate and long-term impact on your brand.
What are some examples of creative initiatives your school district or school has implemented over the last month during this crisis? Share your examples and we’ll share them on our social media channels.